The Hour of Fate
A review of

The Hour of Fate

Theodore Roosevelt, J.P. Morgan, and the Battle to Transform American Capitalism

Susan BerfieldBloomsbury • 2020

Railroads, Trusts and Strikes

by David Meyer

Award-winning investigative reporter Susan Berfield brings to life the brutal economic struggles of late 19th- and early 20th-century America.

Susan Berfield’s illuminating history deftly captures turn-of-the-20th-century America’s economic drama. She ably depicts president Theodore Roosevelt and financier JP Morgan locking horns in antitrust and labor disputes. But Berfield’s most striking takeaway is that their struggle defined the United States’ economic future and showed how popular support and a strong president could upend long-held attitudes about capitalism and business.

The Christian Science Monitor called Berfield’s efforts “an extremely skillful blend of wide-canvas exposition and small-scale personal drama.” The Washington Post said, “Berfield’s story is about the past but also very much about the present, as our own Gilded Age raises old questions about inequality, plutocracy and what Roosevelt once called ‘that most dangerous of all classes, the wealthy criminal class’.”

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