Paul Julius Reuter (1816-99) founded one of the world’s most recognisable brands, revolutionised the news business and rose to prominence in Victorian Britain, yet has never been the subject of a full-length biography.
By telling his story in detail for the first time, this book will argue that Reuter deserves to be considered one of the great 19th century entrepreneurs whose rise has parallels to the American tycoons of the same era and the internet billionaires of the past decade.
From obscure origins and early business failures in Germany, Reuter moved to London in the early 1850s and would transform a one-man telegraph service into a giant of the 19th and 20th century news business, earning its founder great wealth, household-name status and the curiosity of contemporaries such as Dickens and Marx.
In parallel to Reuter’s own story, this biography also tells how the news industry was reshaped by British imperial expansion, technological leaps and the globalisation of financial markets. Reuter’s first news venture involved using pigeons to fly stock market prices from Brussels to Aachen, but he would later finance his own undersea telegraph cables, buy up competitors and secure a startling array of commercial rights to Persia in the controversial and short-lived “Reuter Concession” of 1872, one of several relatively untold stories to feature in the book.
Alex Warren is a director of Frontier, a Middle East and North Africa consultancy firm. After studying languages at Cambridge, he worked for a specialist publisher focussing on historical relations between Europe and the Arab world before in 2005 moving to Tunisia, where he researched and edited an annual political and economic review of the country. Working as a business journalist and editor in Lebanon during the tumultuous 2005-6 period, and then based in Dubai at the height of the emirate’s boom in 2007-8, Alex reported on and researched topics as diverse as Yemen’...
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