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Publishers Weekly, 2002-08-12 Veteran Aussie journalist Chenoweth impressively surveys Murdoch's decades-long business career, rendering in great detail the many bidding wars for acquisitions that have resulted in the behemoth News Corp and other Murdoch holdings. Yet this is hardly an "untold story," judging by the lengthy citations in the book's end notes, not to mention the author's previous investigative reporting on the Murdoch empire. However, Chenoweth's business-writing experience (he is a senior writer for the Australian Financial Review) makes him an ideal candidate to explain the tricky deals and slick legal maneuvers that are commonplace for Murdoch's global business. Murdoch has tremendous access to and influence on a variety of people and topics, and many readers are already familiar with Murdoch's deep pockets and insatiable interest in growth that have made him one of the world's great business legends. They will learn more about his business doings, among them the 1996 launch of Fox News and his interest in purchasing the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team, despite having "hated sports as a boy" (alas, he "realized that sports stories sold newspapers"). But sadly, the subject does not come alive here, and the reader begs for details that might have illuminated him and his decisions. Chenoweth purports that an "anti-Murdoch factor" exists, but any animosity seems very distant in this account. And the tycoon's personal life, including his late-life divorce and second marriage, is glossed over, only getting some attention in the second-to-last chapter. The decision to limit discussion of his private life is a weakness, since Murdoch the man might have shed light on Murdoch the businessman. Agent, John F. Thornton. (On sale Nov. 12) Forecast: This is not the first Murdoch biography, but many are now out of print. Crown is playing up the unauthorized angle of Chenoweth's book, and media mavens may go for it. But once word gets out that the author doesn't offer any insight or gossip, sales could fall flat.
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