Ferdinand Lundberg

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Ferdinand Lundberg
Ferdinand Lundberg, Author.JPG
Born(1902-04-30)April 30, 1902
DiedJanuary 3, 1995(1995-01-03) (aged 92)
CitizenshipUnited States
Alma materColumbia University
Occupationjournalist, author, professor
Years active1924–1994
Notable work
Imperial Hearst, America's 60 Families, Modern Woman: The Lost Sex, The Myth of Democracy

Ferdinand Lundberg (April 30, 1902 – March 1, 1995) was an American journalist known for his frequent and potent criticism of American financial and political institutions. His work has been credited as influences on Robert Caro, Ralph Nader and others.

Early life and education[edit]

Born in Chicago, Illinois, Ferdinand Lundberg received B.A. and M.A. degrees from Columbia University.[1]


Early in his career, Lundberg was a business reporter for United Press International, and the Chicago Daily News.[1] From 1927 to 1934 he reported for the New York Herald Tribune.[1]

Described by the Los Angeles Times as "witty, articulate, opinionated, marvelously well-read and not the least bit shy about telling us exactly what he thinks about America and the mess we've made of it", Lundberg was vocal in his contrarian viewpoints, describing the United States as an oligarchy, eviscerating prominent American families including the Rockefellers and Hearsts, and denouncing the United States Constitution while calling for its replacement with a parliamentary system.[2] Several of his dozen-or-so books on these topics were best-sellers.[1]

Lundberg's debut book, Imperial Hearst, was lauded by Foreign Affairs as "an annihilating study of the newspaper magnate" worthy of "wide attention" while, in modern times, Robert Caro and Ralph Nader have both cited Lundberg's America's 60 Families as early influences on themselves.[3][4][5][6] Betty Friedan, meanwhile, wrote The Feminine Mystique as a rebuttal to Lundberg's Modern Woman: The Lost Sex, taking its title from a phrase used by Lundberg in his book.[7]

In addition to his journalistic writing, Lundberg also spent 16 years as an adjunct professor of social philosophy at New York University. He was also an editor for the Century Foundation.[1]

Personal life[edit]

Lundberg was married to Elizabeth Young, with whom he had two sons. At the end of his life he lived in Chappaqua, New York.[1]


  • Imperial Hearst: A social biography (1936)
  • America's 60 Families (1937)
  • Modern Woman: The Lost Sex (1947)
  • The Treason of the People (1954)
  • The coming world transformation (1963)
  • The Rich and the Super-Rich (1968)
  • The Rockefeller Syndrome (1968)
  • Cracks in the Constitution (1980)
  • The Myth of Democracy (1989)
  • Politicians and Other Scoundrels (1992)
  • The Natural Depravity of Mankind (1994)


  1. ^ a b c d e f Saxon, Wolfgang (March 3, 1995). "F. Lundberg, 92, Author Who Wrote of the Rich". The New York Times. Retrieved February 20, 2017.
  2. ^ Kirsch, Jonathan (October 18, 1989). "A Lundberg Attack on Democracy". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 20, 2017.
  3. ^ "Imperial Hearst". Foreign Affairs.
  4. ^ Robbins, Christopher (February 17, 2016). "Robert Caro Wonders What New York Is Going To Become". The Gothamist. Archived from the original on January 4, 2017. Retrieved February 18, 2016. Ferdinand Lundberg wrote a book in the '30s that was one of the greatest examples of political reporting. It's called America's 60 Families. ... It's about how 60 families controlled 95 percent of the wealth in the United States. I came across that book as I was researching the robber barons and I thought it was the greatest book.
  5. ^ Caro, Robert (May 19, 1995). "Sanctum Sanctorum for Writers". The New York Times. Archived from the original on January 4, 2017. Retrieved December 18, 2016.
  6. ^ Bender, Marylin (May 19, 1974). "The Businessmen Who Read Business Books". The New York Times. Retrieved February 17, 2017.
  7. ^ Horowitz, Daniel (2000). Betty Friedan and the Making of The Feminine Mystique: The American Left, the Cold War, and Modern Feminism. University of Massachusetts Press. p. 193. ISBN 1558492763.

Other sources[edit]