The Hour of Fate: Theodore Roosevelt, J.P. Morgan, and the Battle to Transform American Capitalism


Product Details

Bloomsbury Publishing
Publish Date
6.3 X 9.5 X 1.4 inches | 1.5 pounds

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About the Author

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, Massachusetts, and was supported by a Logan Nonfiction Fellowship. She lives in Brooklyn with her family.


"Susan Berfield has written the rare book that makes you look at both the past and present in a new light. Deeply researched and beautifully written, The Hour of Fate tells the gripping tale of how a clash between the most powerful force in the history of Wall Street and a young, popular president set the stage for our current debates over the role and limits of wealth in a democracy." --David K. Randall, New York Times bestselling author of BLACK DEATH AT THE GOLDEN GATE

"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

"Susan Berfield has captured a critical moment in American history with a ripping good yarn. Written with verve and a perceptive eye for detail, The Hour of Fate artfully brings to life two of our nation's most celebrated personalities, caught in an astonishing drama even larger than themselves. It is impossible to read Berfield's fast-paced and entertaining account of events a century ago without gaining deeper insight into the momentous events we wrestle with today." --SCOTT MILLER, author of THE PRESIDENT AND THE ASSASSIN and AGENT 110

"The Gilded Age meets the Progressive Era head-on in Susan Berfield's gripping account of the Northern Securities case and of the 1902 coal famine crisis, when unlikely allies J.P. Morgan and Theodore Roosevelt joined forces against a looming winter without warmth or fuel. Well-researched and expertly told, this story of haves and have-nots-and a country at the precipice-speaks to our own precarious times, and will fascinate readers of financial and labor history." --Philip Dray, author of THERE IS POWER IN A UNION and AT THE HANDS OF PERSONS UNKNOWN

"A tale of greed, power, and accountability, an epic story of a clash of titans, one a political dynamo, the other unparalleled in business savvy. Out of their struggle, a new nation emerged, one that could flex its muscles and cause private enterprise to shudder, instead of the other way around as it had been before. . . Today, as the United States barrels its way into the 21st century, with business behemoths like Amazon and Apple treading in the footsteps of Morgan's Northern Securities, one can only wonder when and where the next trust buster will arise." --The New York Journal of Books

"[The Hour of Fate] ambitiously juggles several historic threads from a turbulent time in America: soaring immigration, labor unrest in the face of low wages and dangerous conditions, the seemingly untrammeled ambitions of big business, and the clamor for public accountability and oversight . . . An engaging historical work involving truly larger-than-life American characters." --Kirkus Reviews

"The Gilded Age created many a millionaire and many an impoverished worker. Between those opposites stood American politicians, some corrupted by wealth, others determined to redress the economic gulfs that American industry might have created . . . Berfield well portrays the major characters of this struggle without excessive detail, and her insights into both Roosevelt and Morgan make them seem quite contemporary." --Booklist

"A vivid account of the early 20th-century battle of wills between President Theodore Roosevelt and financier J.P. Morgan. . . Weaving together the perspectives of labor, capital, and government, Berfield . . . finds drama in complex and potentially dry business transactions, and makes insightful comparisons to today's progressive movement. This entertaining account will resonate with American history buffs and those who agree with Berfield that 'the battle to make American capitalism more fair rages just as furiously' today as it did at the turn of the last century." --Publishers Weekly