- University of California Press
American Disruptor: The Scandalous Life of Leland Stanford
- Roland de Wolk
- University of California Press
- 8.9 X 6 X 1 inches
- 1.2 pounds
- Biography & Autobiography > Historical
American Disruptor is the untold story of Leland Stanford - from his birth in a backwoods bar to the founding of the world-class university that became and remains the nucleus of Silicon Valley. The life of this robber baron, politician, and historic influencer is the astonishing tale of how one supremely ambitious man became this country's original disruptor - reshaping industry and engineering one of the greatest raids on the public treasury for America's transcontinental railroad, all while living more opulently than maharajas, kings, and emperors.
It is also the saga of how Stanford, once a serial failure, overcame all obstacles to become one of America's most powerful and wealthiest men, using his high elective office to enrich himself before losing the one thing that mattered most to him--his only child and son. Scandal and intrigue would follow Stanford through his life, and even after his death, when his widow was murdered in a Honolulu hotel--a crime quickly covered up by the almost stillborn university she had saved. Richly detailed and deeply researched, American Disruptor restores Leland Stanford's rightful place as a revolutionary force and architect of modern America.
Roland De Wolk is an author and an U.C. Berkeley educated historian who left academia for a career in journalism, then returned to teach at a San Francisco Bay Area university as an adjunct while retaining his prize-winning investigative reporting work.
He is the author of American Disruptor: The Scandalous Life of Leland Stanford (UC Press, Autumn 2019), now also in paperback as well as being translated in Beijing into Chinese. It has been praised by a renowned academic historian and a Pulitzer-prize winning journalist for a being “deeply researched,” and a “rollicking biography.”
Part of a new breed of historians, Roland De Wolk alloys the disciplines of serious, documented history with vivid, relevant storytelling for unusually strong, enduring and arresting sagas.
During his almost four decades in journalism De Wolk specialized in investigative projects as well as news features, earning him most professional citations in his field, including being honored by the Society of Professional Journalists with its coveted Career Achievement Award. After leaving daily journalism, in 2014 he completed a commission by the California state Senate to investigate the huge delays and cost overruns of the construction of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, resulting in a series of Senate hearings, legislation, and national news coverage. De Wolk continues his reporting on occasion through News To The Next Power, an independent provider of high quality journalism based on verification – not assertion.
Roland spent the first half of his professional career as a print journalist, both for daily newspapers and magazines across the United States and Europe. He spent the second half greatly expanding to broadcast and online journalism. His original work has been published, posted, and broadcast to news outlets such as the New York Times, the (UK) Guardian, and CNN. He has created, produced and written nationally recognized and internationally covered news specials, as well as special broadcasts for sports, wildlife and live news events. He is co-founder of one of the first original online journalism sites in the world and authored the first university textbook for online journalism. Roland has also authored two outdoors books, published by Chronicle Books of San Francisco. De Wolk is Senior Lecturer (aka Adjunct Professor) at San Francisco State University’s Journalism Department, where he has taught with distinction for 25 years.
He has been a member of Investigative Reporters & Editors, the Committee for Concerned Journalists, the New Media Executive Roundtable, and was an Inaugural Fellow for the Freedom Forum’s New Media Technologies program. He was also a reporter and the managing editor for broadcast for the noted Chauncey Bailey Project, while the partnership was active.
In addition to being a history graduate of U.C. Berkeley, Roland De Wolk has held a fellowship at Stanford University, and has lectured at many institutions and forums coast-to-coast. The third son of Belgian immigrants, he grew up in the Bay Area, where he still lives. He has also resided overseas and has traveled extensively throughout Africa, India, Western and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Latin America and North America as well as Southeast Asia, Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand.
He had been — until the owners betrayed Oakland twice — an unabashed Oakland Raiders fan since childhood, and didn’t care who knew it.
Roland De Wolk has been happily married to the same woman for 35+ years. They have two young adult sons. They are all smarter than he is.
Community reviewsWrite a Review
No Community reviews