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Winner of the 2021 Theodore Roosevelt  Association Book Prize

Finalist for the Presidential Leadership

Book Award

An Amazon Best Book of the Year



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Photo Credit: Bryan Thomas

Susan Berfield is an award-winning investigative reporter for Bloomberg Businessweek and Bloomberg News where she’s exposed how Walmart spies on its workers and McDonald's made enemies of its Black franchisees. She uncovered a con man who talked a small Missouri town out of millions and revealed how Beverly Hills billionaires bought up an enormous water supply in the Central Valley. 


She’s been interviewed on PBS NewsHour, NPR's All Things Considered, Marketplace, On Point, and the Brian Lehrer Show. She appears in the documentaries The Rise of Wall Street and White Hot: The Rise and Fall of Abercrombie & Fitch. Her story about the biggest food fraud in US history was the basis for an episode of the Netflix documentary series, Rotten.


The Hour of Fate, her first book, was supported by a Logan Nonfiction Fellowship.


The Washington Post

"Wonderfully detailed . . . [Berfield’s] story is about the past but also very much about the present, as our own Gilded Age raises old questions about inequality, plutocracy and what Roosevelt once called ‘that most dangerous of all classes, the wealthy criminal class’ . . . The book may make you both sad and mad, because it serves as a poignant, painful reminder of what a real leader does."

The Economist

"Most authors might be content to write about either John Pierpont Morgan, possibly the world’s most famous banker, or Theodore Roosevelt, one of America’s best-loved presidents. But “The Hour of Fate” by Susan Berfield is richer for tackling them together. Set during Roosevelt’s first term, which saw the pair locked in battle, then co-operate to resolve a national crisis, her book vividly brings both men to life."

The Wall Street Journal

“Berfield's wide-angle lens encompasses antitrust law, the details of railroad reorganization, investment banking, politics, coal mining and high living. . . . she can do a lot with only a few words.”

Christian Science Monitor

"Susan Berfield writes a fascinating account of the clash between two of the biggest personalities of the Progressive era – President Theodore Roosevelt and financier J.P. Morgan – in a fight over whether the United States would be controlled by government or business interests."

The Book Reporter

“Excellent topic. Excellent scope. Excellent writing. Susan Berfield’s THE HOUR OF FATE takes on an explosive time of transition in our nation by focusing on the two titans most central to the fight: Theodore Roosevelt and J.P. Morgan. . . . Finely nuanced . . . The focused scope of the book impresses immediately.”

Library Journal (starred review)

"It’s no easy task to write a dual biography while also incorporating the feelings and emotions of the historical moment, yet Berfield accomplishes all of this. An extremely readable work that will engage American history and business readers everywhere."

The New York Journal of Books

"A tale of greed, power, and accountability, an epic story of a clash of titans, one a political dynamo, the other unparalleled in business savvy. Out of their struggle, a new nation emerged, one that could flex its muscles and cause private enterprise to shudder, instead of the other way around as it had been before. . . Today, as the United States barrels its way into the 21st century, with business behemoths like Amazon and Apple treading in the footsteps of Morgan's Northern Securities, one can only wonder when and where the next trust buster will arise."

Kirkus Review

"In her well-paced debut, Bloomberg Businessweek investigative reporter Berfield ambitiously juggles several historic threads from a turbulent time in America: soaring immigration, labor unrest in the face of low wages and dangerous conditions, the seemingly untrammeled ambitions of big business, and the clamor for public accountability and oversight.... An engaging historical work involving truly larger-than-life American characters." 



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