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Roland De Wolk and the Scandalous Life of Leland Stanford

Image of the De Wolk's book showing the title "American Disruptor: The Scandalous Life of Leland Stanford" along with a picture of Leland Stanford.
April 15, 2020
Roland De Wolk

Roland De Wolke visited the Lane Center virtually on April 15 to give a talk about his recently published book on the life of Leland Stanford. De Wolke spent the first 25 minutes of the talk giving an overview of his work's prevailing arguments and outlining in broad strokes Leland Stanford's early life and career. The rest of the program was composed of a question and answer session moderated by Bruce Cain, director of the Bill Lane Center. 

The book is available for purchase from the University of California Press and most online retailers.

Notes about the book from the publisher:

"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."

 -- University of California Press