California Robber Baron

American Disruptor true west magazine
American Disruptor: The Scandalous Life of Leland Stanford, Roland De Wolk, (University of California Press, $34.95).

Roland De Wolk’s readable and entertaining book titled American Disruptor: The Scandalous Life of Leland Stanford (University of California Press, $34.95) recounts one of the most divisive and controversial figures of American history. De Wolk ably reveals that the ex-grocer, ex-governor, ex-senator, preeminent railroad tycoon Stanford, after milking all the cows on the Pacific Coast dry, went after the really big bucks left unguarded in the national treasury Back East in Washington, D.C. Past biographies presented Stanford blemish-free. De Wolk not only introduces a much more believable Stanford, warts and all, but also does a great job of showing how his legacy and reputation was managed, massaged and sanitized after his death.

—Brian D. Dillon, Ph.D., an archaeologist with nearly 50 years of experience researching historic and prehistoric California.

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