Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
The Merchant of Power

The Merchant of Power

Sam Insull, Thomas Edison, and the Creation of the Modern Metropolis

John F. Wasik

St. Martin's Press


A timely rags-to-riches story, The Merchant of Power recounts how Sam Insull--right hand to Thomas Edison--went on to become one of the richest men in the world, pivotal in the birth of General Electric and instrumental in the creation of the modern metropolis with his invention of the power grid, which still fuels major cities today. John Wasik, awarded the National Press Club Award for Consumer Journalism, had unprecedented access to Sam Insull's archives, which include private correspondence with Thomas Edison. The extraordinary fall of a man extraordinary for his time is revealed in this cautionary tale about the excesses of corporate power.


Praise for The Merchant of Power

"Insull is a complex man whose life and times make worthwhile reading."—Publishers Weekly

"Brilliant . . . brings Insull back to complicated life, and should revive interest in a forgotten giant."—Chicago Sun-Times

"[A] focused look at one of the most interesting historical figures you've never heard of . . . a fascinating cautionary tale."—Fortune

"Does a fine job of telling the early story of utilities, moguls and scandal."—Chicago Tribune

"Wasik [has] taken his cue from current corporate scandals such as Enron and WorldCom in deciding to pluck Insull from semiobscurity, as many of Insull's contemporaries (including FDR) believed him to be guilty (he was acquitted) of orchestrating the first large-scale corporate deception."—Library Journal

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

John F. Wasik

John F. Wasik is one of America's most prominent business and finance journalists and the author of nine books on investing. His column for Bloomberg News, the world's third largest news service, is read in more than 400 newspapers worldwide in five continents.

John F. Wasik

From the Publisher

St. Martin's Press

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