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Before Rupert

The unauthorised biography of Australia’s first media magnate

Following the News of the World phone-hacking scandal, Rupert Murdoch said his greatest regret was that he had let his father down. Popular history views Sir Keith Murdoch (1885–1952) as a fearless war correspondent – author of the famous letter that led to the evacuation of the Anzac force from Gallipoli – and a principled journalist and dedicated family man who, on his death, left a single provincial newspaper to Rupert. This benign reputation is unsurprising: the two previously published biographies of Keith were Murdoch family commissions.

But is there another side to the story of Keith’s success and the origins of News Corporation?

Before Rupert is an unflinching prequel to the saga of the Murdoch family’s rise to power. Historian Tom Roberts draws on an unparalleled range of interviews, correspondence and archival sources to trace the genesis of the family’s involvement with the news and entertainment industry and their resulting influence. This book explores how Keith Murdoch ruthlessly exploited his networks to gain ultimate control over Australia’s media and political landscapes.

With controversial revelations, this book shows how, by Rupert’s birth, a pattern for the cut-throat exercise of power through an expanding media chain had been set – a course still followed to this day.

About the Author

Tom D. C. Roberts is a media historian and professional researcher with a passion for uncovering stories in forgotten and overlooked archives. Before Rupert is Tom’s first book and draws on four years of ground-breaking research undertaken around the world into the life and legacy of Sir Keith Murdoch.




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