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The Hour of Fate
The Hour of Fate
by Susan Berfield

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First Edition. Signed.
Price: $30.00

Non-Fiction First Editions Club Pick | June 2020

New York, NY: Bloomsbury (pub: May 5, 2020)

First Edition. Signed on the title page.

As new in dust jacket.

The Hour of Fate is narrative nonfiction at its best. Susan Berfield brings to life the conflict between two of America’s most powerful men, J.P. Morgan and Theodore Roosevelt, and reveals how their battle over democracy and corporate power reshaped America.” —Adam Winkler, author of We the Corporations

A riveting narrative of Wall Street buccaneering, political intrigue, and two of history’s colossal characters, struggling for mastery in an era of social upheaval and rampant inequality.

It seemed like no force in the world could slow J.P. Morgan’s drive to power. In the summer of 1901, the financier was assembling his next mega-deal: Northern Securities, a scheme that would give him mastery of railroads throughout the vast American West—and their vast profits. Then, a bullet from an anarchist’s gun put an end to the business-friendly McKinley presidency. A new chief executive bounded into office: Theodore Roosevelt. He was convinced that as big business got bigger, the government had to check the power and privilege of the rich—or the country would inch ever closer to collapse. By March 1902, battle lines were drawn: the government sued Northern Securities for antitrust violations. But as the case ramped up, the coal miners’ union went on strike and the anthracite pits that fueled Morgan’s trains and heated the homes of Roosevelt’s citizens went silent. With millions of dollars on the line, winter bearing down, and revolution in the air, it was a crisis that neither man alone could solve.

Richly detailed and propulsively told, The Hour of Fate is the gripping story of a banker and a president thrown together in the crucible of national emergency even as they fought in court. The outcome of the strike and the case would change the course of our history. Today, as the country again asks whether saving democracy means taming capital, the lessons of Roosevelt and Morgan’s time are more urgent than ever.

SUSAN BERFIELD is an award-winning investigative reporter for Bloomberg Businessweek and Bloomberg News, where she has covered some of America’s largest corporations. She has been interviewed on PBS NewsHour, NPR’s All Things Considered, Marketplace, On Point, and elsewhere. Her research for The Hour of Fate, her first book, took her to archives in New York, St. Paul, Washington, D.C., and Cambridge, MA, and was supported by a Logan Nonfiction Fellowship. She lives in Brooklyn with her family.

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