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Murdoch’s Pirates

There is absolutely no doubt what-so-ever that anything to do with Rupert Murdoch can almost be considered the thing novels are written about: fascinating but a figment of someone’s imagination. The defining difference is the world of Rupert Murdoch is all too real: he is dealing with real people, world politics and real skulduggery while remaining, to a large degree, at arm’s length.

One has to ask the question how can one man, in the course of one lifetime create so much power and influence, behave in such a ruthless manner, redefine the meaning and intent of world politics and law and still manage to walk away, not always unscathed, but certainly able to live another day.

Chenoweth has presented a masterful expose on the early days of one Rupert Murdoch, Newspaper mogul: a man who would be king all-be -it not just in his ivory tower but that of everyone else’s ivory tower as well, spreading his particular brand of achieve, or should one perhaps say succeed at all or any costs, worldwide.

The opening segments of the book paint a picture of a man out to succeed, ruthless, influential and prepared to go to any lengths to achieve his aims.

The world of hacking, along with much more, can be placed firmly at his doorstep, with his early attempts at launching his Pay TV networks in the United States and then Europe, allowing nothing to stand in his way.

Confronting the probable demise of his empire in the early days of pay TV he promptly went about seeking differing ways to improve his business. In those days, the relatively clean, if somewhat murky, world of hacking was being utilised throughout Europe to allow citizens of several countries access to the Star Trek series, which at that time could only be accessed throughout Europe on pay TV, free.

This entrepreneurial hacking was having a detrimental effect on Murdoch’s fledging entry into Pay TV and so he set out to both utilise and eliminate hackers, to undermine his competitors and stay one step ahead of the competition.

In doing so he placed his network of peoples slightly outside the law and on occasion definitely outside the law, recruiting some of the best, most ruthless, definitely geniuses in their field to work with him.

In more recent times a very small segment of the underbelly relating to the Murdoch Empire was exposed to public scrutiny with the phone hacking scandals in Britain in 2007 and beyond.

Scary, down-right frightening in parts and almost unbelievable, Chenoweth has thankfully added his own quirky sense of the ridiculous to help lighten a truly terrifying look into the world of Rupert Murdoch and company.

Where will the road lead for Murdoch and his men in the future? That is yet to be discovered but wherever it goes you can almost count on the fact there will be hidden depths to the process.

AuthorNeil Chenoweth
PublisherAllen & Unwin