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The History of Standard Oil

Ida M. Tarbell

Book Overview: 

The History of the Standard Oil Company is an expose of the Standard Oil Company, run at that time by oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller, the richest figure in America's history. The book was a seminal example of muckraking, and inspired many other journalists to write about trusts, large businesses that (in the absence of strong antitrust law in the 19th century) attempted to gain monopolies in various industries. The History of the Standard Oil Company was credited with hastening the breakup of Standard Oil. ( Summary by Wikipedia )

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Community Reviews

A deep read that requires quiet and time for concentration. Still, it is more than mere history as there is a modern relevance to the tale.

After reading “TITAN” the continuous mention of Ids M Tarbell’s investigative work piqued my interest. I purchased a re-publish of the 2 volumes which were originally published in 1904.

While the trusts of the late 19th Century were rampant in the US, Tarbell chose the biggest, most dynamic trust to

This was a decent book about the pitfalls of capitalism in the late 1800s. I thought the author wrote too much at times (there are a shitload of typos also), but overall it was an interesting read for anyone interested in the history of monopolies (in oil) in the US.

The question I had before I started reading Ida Tarbell's 1904 The History of Standard Oil was whether John D. Rockefeller was able to transform Standard Oil into the behemoth monopoly it became just because he had the sharpest elbows in the room or because he truly committed illegal activities. The

My reaction to this book was similar to how I felt after I watched "The Wolf of Wall Street": like I needed a long hot shower with lots of soap.

Written in 1904 by Ida Mae Tarbell, a well-known muckraker journalist of the early 20th century (that's a good thing, by the way), this book describes the

Slow reading because you must also make your way through the jumble caused by scanning. Now I understand a bit more why the Standard Oil Company was almost always drawn as an octopus in the political cartoons of the time.
So glad Teddy went in with his big stick.

Warning: I´m originally from Oil Country, so I might be a bit biased in this review. I also love her-story, so there´s that influencing this review as well. All in all though, amazing skillful journalism against all powerful big business.

OK, so I skipped over the annexures. But this book is a must-read for any business student and also for any business journalism student. Beautifully researched and put-together, it more than fulfills what it says on the cover; a History of the Standard Oil Company is what you'll get, from the POV of