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January 31 , 2010

Before Rupert

Keith Murdoch and the Birth of a Dynasty


‘An impressive study of the Murdoch genius for government by media.’ Chris Masters ‘In this engrossing study Tom Roberts draws on a remarkable range of sources, many for the first time, to show how Keith Murdoch succeeded in his ambition.’ Stuart Macintyre, author of The History Wars Following the News of the World phone-hacking scandal, Rupert Murdoch said his greatest regret was that he had let his father down. Popular history views Sir Keith Murdoch (1885–1952) as a fearless war correspondent – author of the famous letter that led to the evacuation of the Anzac force from Gallipoli – and a principled journalist and dedicated family man who, on his death, left a single provincial newspaper to Rupert. This benign reputation is unsurprising: the two previously published biographies of Keith were Murdoch family commissions. But is there another side to the story of Keith’s success and the origins of News Corporation? Before Rupert is an unflinching prequel to the saga of the Murdoch family’s rise to power. Historian Tom Roberts draws on an unparalleled range of interviews, correspondence and archival sources to trace the genesis of the family’s involvement with the news and entertainment industry and their resulting influence. Before Rupert explores how Keith Murdoch ruthlessly exploited his networks to gain ultimate control over Australia’s media and political landscapes. With controversial revelations, this book shows how, by Rupert’s birth, a pattern for the cut-throat exercise of power through an expanding media chain had been set – a course still followed to this day.
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