The Rise and Fall of Robert Maxwell and His Empire

Examines the life of the British publisher and financier, and looks at his rule over the Mirror and his role in “Mirrorgate”
  • Hardcover: 376 pages
  • Publisher: Birch Lane Pr; 1st edition (October 1, 1992)


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Inverted Pyramid

One of the first things I learned in high school journalism class was the law of the inverted pyramid. When reporting a story, give the broadest part of the story first, and as the story moves on, to the lower paragraphs on the page, the details become revealed.

The story of Robert Maxwell, who cast a long shadow over the newspaper business as owner of one of the largest newspapers in the world, followed the same pattern. His financial holdings balanced on an ever more precarious inverted pyramid.

Mr. Maxwell was an overbearing and obnoxious personality who acquired more and more financial holdings without the wherewithal to support his companies. He was a great bluffer, who was able to convince financial institutions to support him in continual acquisitions.

The author was a former employee of Mr. Maxwell as editor of his newspaper. While he gives the reader some insight into the inside Mr Maxwell, he has not really researched the subject well, and we never really get the background on his influential developmental motivations.

Mr Maxwell’s death is still an unsolved mystery, and this book does little to speculate about the true nature of his demise. There is also speculation that Mr Maxwell was a spy for Israel, and while this was touched upon, it was never really explored.

While I learned about the huge ego and personality of Mr Maxwell, this book was not written in the depth the subject deserves. It is recommended, with reservations.

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