Cochrane, Peter: Keith Murdoch and the birth of a dynasty

Cochrane, Peter

Book review: Before Rupert: Keith Murdoch and the birth of a dynasty‘, The Conversation, 13 November 2015

Cochrane reviews this new book by Tom DC Roberts. The book starts with Murdoch’s ‘Gallipoli letter’ but goes much further.

It is a comprehensive biography, gifting to readers a new understanding of Murdoch and the genesis of his family dynasty. The subject is thoroughly yet fairly interrogated and the life richly contextualised, particularly with reference to journalism, high politics and the technological advances that Murdoch was quick to add to his newsprint business – notably radio, newsreels and air travel.

The book shows how Rupert is a ‘clone’ of his father and it allows parallels in unscrupulous journalism to be drawn across the generations. The book also explores Keith’s interest in eugenics, his kingmaking and unmaking, his relationship with WM Hughes, his attitude to Monash and his understanding of news values.

Another review in Inside Story by Michael Cannon. It is mildly critical of overstretching in inter-generational comparisons. There is also a link to a reprint of a much older (1963) article by Cannon about Murdoch’s private memoranda. Mark Baker’s biography of Phillip Schuler includes material on Murdoch’s Gallipoli letter.

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