In a career that began in Brooklyn and spanned Wall Street, Hollywood, and the Mafia, Ross built his father-in-law's funeral business and a parking lot company into Time Warner, the largest media and entertainment company in the world. Hard-hitting and compulsive reading, this book takes you into the heart of what made this arrogant yet irresistible man tick.
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This much ballyhooed book starts out slowly and seems derivative. Much of the information throughout the text is derived from the newspaper and magazine reportage of other journalists; and another author, Richard M. Clurman, beat Bruck to quite a bit of the drama two years ago in To the End of Time (1992). But despite these obstacles, Bruck manages to compose an interesting book, even though her subject is inherently less interesting than Michael Milken, the key player in Bruck's previous book, The Predator's Ball (1988). Milken was involved in high- stakes criminal conduct; Ross (who by the book's publication will have been dead nearly a year and a half) was pretty much just one more in a long line of greedy, unintrospective tycoons. He was a born dealmaker, a one-time traveling salesman who parlayed his in- laws' lucrative funeral-home business into a diversified company, which he took public in 1962. In 1969, Ross made a surprise bid for Warner-Seven Arts and found himself hobnobbing with the likes of Frank Sinatra. Two decades later, in 1990, Ross helped engineer the megadeal of his life--the merger of Warner with Time Inc. to create the largest communications/entertainment company in the world. Bruck's quotation from opera star Beverly Sills, who spoke at Ross's funeral, sums up the life neatly: ``He was like an opera singer. He was larger than life; he knew how to make grand entrances; he knew he didn't have to yell at the top of his lungs to keep an audience's attention; he was always on a diet; and he knew how to share curtain calls.'' In an age of biographers acting as pathographers, Bruck is refreshingly generous in spirit. The book is not a valentine, but Bruck explains Ross's good qualities as well as his bad. By retaining her mental balance about her subject, Bruck allows the reader to enjoy mental balance as well. -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Booklist:
Bruck wrote the best-selling, hard-hitting, and controversial Predators' Ball (1988), which exposed the excesses of Drexel Burnham Lambert and Michael Milken. Now she profiles the charismatic, manipulative Steve Ross, who successfully engineered the last big buy-out of the 1980s in the bitter takeover battle between Time, Inc. and Warner Communications, which Ross headed. While Richard Clurman has already written To the End of Time: Seduction Conquest of the Media Empire (1992), a well-regarded account of the takeover battle from Time's point of view, Bruck offers an engrossing biographical and psychological portrait of Ross himself. Based on extensive interviews with more than 250 sources, including Ross himself before his death, she deftly chronicles Ross' rise to power and fortune. This likely best-seller grew out of two pieces Bruck originally did in 1990 and 1992 for the New Yorker. David Rouse
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Book Description Penguin Books, 1995. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110140244549
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