... captivating ... If Oller once wrote dry, impenetrable legal briefs, there’s no hint of it here. His narrative sparkles with details that set this study of the legal profession’s influence on big business into a fascinating historical context.
... entertaining ... Mr. Oller, a biographer and former Wall Street lawyer, highlights the role of the white-shoe firms in making their corporate clients understand that the times were changing in an age of reform.
Oller makes the history of such firms surprisingly fascinating ... shows how lawyers’ influence extended well beyond corporate boardrooms; the book’s most interesting section delineates the pivotal role that attorney William Cromwell played in the building of the Panama Canal, which may have included inciting Panama’s revolt against Colombia. Oller doesn’t shy away from detailing early corporate lawyers’ role as tools of monopolistic robber barons, or the endemic prejudice against Jewish lawyers. That balance makes this a valuable addition to the literature on America’s transformation during the Gilded Age.