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The Fourth Estate

3.71  ·  Rating Details  ·  8,771 Ratings  ·  262 Reviews
Lubji Hoch survived World War II on luck, guts, and ruthlessness. At the war's end, renamed Richard Armstrong, he buys a floundering newspaper in Berlin and deviously puts his competitors out of business. But it isn't enough. Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, Keith Townsend, the Oxford-educated son of a millionaire newspaper owner, takes over his family's business ...more
Published May 7th 1996 by HarperCollins Publisher
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May 18, 2009 Veronica rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I gave up on this half way through.... how many times can you rewrite Kane & Able?
Raven and Beez
Oct 24, 2013 Raven and Beez rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read on blog!!


This is another one of Jeffrey Archers great books but if you have read A Prisoner of Birth before then I don't think this will interest you. It is not as fast paced as his other books that I have read. The thing that reeled me into this book was the rivalry among newspaper companies. I had never given a second thought to the way the newspaper industry works but if it's anything like this book then it must be one hell of a roller coaster. It's got humor in the most unexpected situa
Arun Divakar
It has all the markings of vintage Archer. Two men : one rich and one poor start building global empires and come face to face against each other. Long winded story line of greed, money and the race for power. The makings are very similar to Kane and Abel but here the business empire is narrowed to only the media. Pretty fast read and beyond entertaining you for a few hours, there ins't much to it.

Now that we are on the topic, it is also the tale of two first class, solid gold, shining as bright
Apr 09, 2013 Cathy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Despite his somewhat dubious personal integrity and a lack of any literary gravitas to his novels,I've always found Jeffrey Archer to be a consummate storyteller and weaver of gripping tales ... until now that is.
The Fourth Estate traces the lives and fortunes of its two protagonists, who are destined to become rival newspaper barons. Predictably, one is born with the proverbial silver spoon firmly ensconced in his mouth, while the other begins life in abject poverty. Their changing fortunes thr
Jun 01, 2010 Sammie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: age-over-10
If anyone is considering reading this, save yourself the time and just read (or re-read) Kane and Abel instead. The Fourth Estate has the same premise, only without any charm.

The characters are unlikable. The plot is boring and repetitive. I have read several of Jeffrey Archer's novels and this is the first one to disappoint me.

If you start to read it and force yourself to continue just because you hope it gets better, believe me, it doesn't!
Apr 19, 2009 Beejay rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I find myself giving this book three stars primarily because of the "How on earth did Archer get away with this" factor. I don't think anybody holds Jeffrey Archer up as a great writer, but he is an excellent story-teller, and therefore a provider of some very good entertainment.

"The Fourth Estate" tracks the lives - successes, failures, treachery - of two media barons, Richard Armstrong and Keith Townsend. The parallels with Robert Maxwell and Rupert Murdoch are uncanny in the extreme, to the p
Jul 06, 2016 Bonnie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Chinmay Maheshwari
Interesting read. Has a very very slow start and a lot of buildup. But second half more than makes up for it. The narration style is different than the usual Archer novels and how the two separate stories merge eventually at the end is really awesome.
Helen Hutchings
I enjoy Archer for light relief and he writes great characters. This one is pretty good, not his best, and I struggled with some of the plot lines, particularly near the end.
Diana McMahon Collis
One of the best novels I've read in a long time. It's quite a fat read (just under 600 pages) but I managed to whizz through it in half of a week-long holiday in Mykonos. A gripping tale and it doesn't take too much imagination to pinpoint who the hero and anti-hero are based on! Or maybe antagonist and protagonist would be more accurate terms for describing the two newspaper barons depicted in The Fourth Estate. If you want a real insight into how the media operates and how the news is created ...more
Yunee Ryan
Jul 05, 2009 Yunee Ryan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
i just finished reading the book yesterday. like in his first three books that i have read, the fourth estate revolves around lawyers, money and the loopholes in laws created by human.

when i read the first and second chapter, i dont have any ideas where the story is going to take me. when i move on, then i know the chapters are actually the ending of the story. this is the first time i ever read a book with two main characters that are put separately, and the characters didnt even meet face to f
Steve Haywood
Jan 08, 2012 Steve Haywood rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller
The Fourth Estate follows the fortunes of two men who are both trying to build up the biggest newspaper empire in the world. One of them is a Jewish East European immigrant who comes to live in Britain, the other is the son of a rich Australian newspaper proprietor. In the course of their business dealings they become bitter enemies& [return][return]I hadn t read all of a novel in quite some time, constantly starting books and not finishing them, something I don t like doing, so I decided to ...more
trashy fun and an enjoyable palate cleanser much like the other archer books i've read. not sure i could recommend this, but it was a quality page turner. archer is jumping around so much in time/location here at points that i'm not sure i fully followed the maneuverings or plans of the two main characters. i would give archer credit for writing a compelling book about two unscrupulous and unlikeable characters, though from what i've read, archer took much of the story from the real life battle ...more
Balaji Lakshmi Ramakrishnan
The first two chapters of the book will keep you like "WHAT THE!" and then the flashback. The Master of Storytelling, yet again, span a yarn, so fine, that it will make you wanting it to never end!
Richard Armstrong from Czech and Keith Townsend from Australia.
One born poor and the other born with a silver spoon.
One wants to learn and the other wants to quit.
One faces the war the other isn't slightly troubled by it.
One thing about this book is, you can never predict what will happen next.
Gautham Shenoy
This one is a classic Archer novel with two protagonists whose initial lives are bear absolutely no similarity, but who manage to come up in their lives and eventually battle each other to gain some coveted possession. In this case, one of the protagonists Richard Armstrong is a Jew who escapes the Germans during WWII, enlists in the British Army, ends up being a War hero and a crucial person in the British Information Control in Berlin where he successfully manages a coup to control the largest ...more
Aug 06, 2010 Joanne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The story of rivals and publishing moguls Richard Armstrong and Keith

An excellent read of greed and power that spans decades. The book starts at the end (1991) and then details the path of these two men in their quest and rise to control the world’s media. Dick and Keith will go to great lengths and expense to out do each other and others while building up their empire.

Read Cain and Abel about 9 years ago and this was similar, but still engaging and intense.
Jan 31, 2015 Luffy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's been a long time in coming, but at last I've got my first 5/5 book of the year. Jeffrey Archer's books, unlike most authors', had always been available to me when I was growing up in the mid 90's. I remember those times. Curiously, though I had been aware of some of his writings (Kane and Abel), I naively thought that writers like him were common in the world. How wrong was I. So, instead of saving up my money to buy his books, I bought instead French and Belgian comics. Stuff like Gaston ...more
Paula Dembeck
This is the story of two very different men who grow up to be rivals vying to control the newspaper trade on the world stage.

Lubji Hoch is a Jew who begins life as pauper living in a small hut. He survives World War II and later spends time in Berlin, reinventing himself with the new name Richard Armstrong. He works hard, slowly and methodically building a newspaper empire.

On the other side of the world, Keith Townsend is an Oxford educated son of a millionaire newspaper owner. Like Armstrong, h
Apr 30, 2016 Mukund rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was one book from Archer which was not engrossing enough. The plot was bland as compared to Archer's other works. Also very very long. Small turns could not make up for the otherwise unimaginative story line. Also Kane and Abel + journalism = Fourth Estate.

I now think that generally the length of Archer's work is inversely proportional to how much you might like it. Short stories like quiver full of arrows and thereby hangs a tale were so much more immersive. Same can not be said about four
May 27, 2016 Ed rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Newspaper novel - Chronicle of the lives of two media barons, Richard Armstrong and Keith Townsend, from their starkly contrasting childhoods to their ultimate battle to build the world's biggest media empire. Richard Armstrong narrowly escaped Hitler's atrocities in Eastern Europe on his courage and his wits—skills that served him well in peacetime. Having turned a struggling Berlin newspaper into a success story seemingly overnight, Armstrong made a name for himself—and more than a few enemies ...more
May 09, 2016 Sara rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Similar story to Kane and Abel with less compelling characters
Chaitalee Ghosalkar
Archer's prowess at creating leads and pitting them against each other has led to many successful books like Kane and Abel, Sons of Fortune, etc. This book is no exception.

However, midway through the story, you wonder if the plot has been lost; there seem to be too many distractions in the form of unnecessary characters. The detailing that I usually look forward to in the writer's novels was more superfluous in this one.

However, the book soon picks up when you are three fourths into the story, a
I wanted to love this book like I loved Kane and Abel. I wanted to prove the critics wrong and like this book anyway. I'm sorry to say, I can't on both counts. I'm so disappointed.
What is wrong with this book? Too many characters. A story line that started out pretty good but became long, drawn out and quiet frankly, boring. Maybe a ruthless businessman might pick this up and get some enjoyment out of it. Someone who understood the technical aspect of the publishing business. I understand busin
Michael Bloom
Apr 04, 2016 Michael Bloom rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful intrigue. A reminder of the media wars (acquisitions, mergers, failures, startups in cable, magazine, TV, internet, movies, digital media) in the West from 1975 to 1995. If drawing a parallel to Ken Auletta, in The Fourth Estate one gets better character development in terms of understanding a character's upbringing rather than a snapshot of where they are today in their emotional development.
Lori Bigby
Feb 08, 2015 Lori Bigby rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mwai Nyamu
Jul 26, 2014 Mwai Nyamu rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 24, 2012 Oriboaz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was absolutely riveting. It is a long book, and I read in just three or four evenings. Every night I would come home from work, and simply start reading, ignoring everything else. I had a very hard time putting the book down. When I finished reading the book, I had to take 10 minutes to rest... and could not begin another book that evening. If only all books made me feel like that!

The book is written in Jeffrey Archer's clear style, with lots of dry humor. The plot advances quickly. It
Uke Jackson
Well, I read it all the way through. some one recently tweeted that my Beach Tales reminded him of Jeffrey Archer. I found that very weird. The Archer 1 or 2 books I read in the distant past are vague memories -- more of lumbering, laborious prose. I usually tend to go straight for the jugular, metaphorically speaking of course, when writing a story. Or at least that's what I think.

anyway, this book left me feeling pretty much the same. This is the fictional story of based on the real life press
Jun 25, 2012 Lavish rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
All hail Archer !! Truly a master of story telling.
My views can be contrasting to many of readers here because this is first Jeffrey Archer book I’ve read. At the beginning, story starts from the end and goes into the flashback, and totally drives you crazy as you don’t know what’s going on? But suddenly all things started to make sense. And at the last of the chapter you find yourself at a position where it is difficult to put the book down because of some clue of change in the story.
This book
Oct 31, 2014 Dokusha rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
Zwei junge Männer kommen in den 20er Jahren des 20. Jahrhunderts früh mit der Welt der Zeitungen und Zeitschriften in Kontalkt: der eine als Sohn eines Zeitungsverlegers in Australien, der andere als tschechischer Jude aus armen Verhältnissen.

Nicht nur ihr familiärer und geschichtlicher Hintergrund ist sehr verschieden, sondern auch ihr Charakter. Sie durchlaufen eine sehr unterschiedliche Entwicklung, die auch im ersten Teil des Buches getrennt voneinander in wechselnden Kapiteln erzählt wird.
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Jeffrey Howard Archer, Baron Archer of Weston-super-Mare (born 15 April 1940) is an English author and former politician.

He was a Member of Parliament and deputy chairman of the Conservative Party, and became a life peer in 1992. His political career, having suffered several controversies, ended after a conviction for perverting the course of justice and his subsequent imprisonment. He is married
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