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American Scandal

American Scandal

Every scandal begins with a lie. But the truth will come out. And then comes the fallout and the outrage.

Scandals have shaped America since its founding. From business and politics to sports and society, we look on aghast as corruption, deceit and ambition bring down heroes and celebrities, politicians and moguls. And when the dust finally settles, we?re left to wonder: how did this happen? Where did they trip up, and who is to blame? From the creators of American History Tellers, Business Wars and Tides of History comes American Scandal, where we take you deep into the heart of America?s dark side to look at what drives someone to break the rules and what happens when they?re caught. Hosted by Lindsay Graham.

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Episodes

Introducing The Grand Scheme: Snatching Sinatra

Hosted and narrated by John Stamos, The Grand Scheme: Snatching Sinatra is a complicated, nuanced story of one imperfect man trying to redeem himself by pulling off the perfect crime. Did you ever feel like everything?s broken, and it?s your job to fix it? That?s how Barry Keenan was feeling back in 1963. He was broke, unemployed, hooked on booze and pills, and his family was falling apart. Barry needed a miracle. And against all odds, he got one. One day the voice of God came over the radio in Barry?s car and told him there was a simple solution to all his problems: all he had to do was kidnap Frank Sinatra, Jr. For the first time ever, Barry Keenan shares his version of the bizarre story in his own words, from beginning to end. This is just a preview of The Grand Scheme: Snatching Sinatra, but you can listen to full episodes at wondery.fm/TGS_AmericanScandal.

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2021-07-28
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Encore: Enron | Death Spiral | 4

The Wall Street Journal works to expose the shady financial deals key to Enron?s success. With his company pushed to the brink of bankruptcy, Ken Lay engages in a desperate ploy to avert disaster.

This episode originally aired on September 17, 2019.

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2021-07-27
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Encore: Enron | Damage Control | 3

Ken Lay fights to restore public confidence in Enron as the bad publicity mounts and the stock price continues to fall. Sherron Watkins is encouraged when an internal review of company practices is launched, but stunned when it appears to backfire.

This episode originally aired on September 10, 2019.

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2021-07-20
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Wondery Presents: Killer Psyche

When a shocking crime occurs, people ask ?WHY?? Was it about power, ego, or revenge? On KILLER PSYCHE, former FBI criminal profiler Candice DeLong draws on her decades of experience to reveal why these murderers and criminals committed these acts. She will reveal fascinating new details about what drove these people, including cases she worked on first-hand.

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2021-07-14
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Encore: Enron | The Black Box | 2

Enron manipulates California's electricity market, and the state is plunged into an energy crisis. But Enron itself is threatened by the schemes of a corrupt CFO, a rocky transition of power, and an alarming discovery by Sherron Watkins.

This episode originally aired on September 3, 2019.

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2021-07-13
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Encore: Enron | A Sense of Urgency | 1

In the mid-1990s, Enron Corporation solidifies its position as the top energy company in America. Investment manager Sherron Watkins lands a dream job at Enron, but quickly learns that its office culture and accounting practices make it a treacherous place to work.

This episode originally aired on August 27, 2019.

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2021-07-06
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The Ice Pick Surgeon | Neural Implants and Superhumans | 5

Today, we're far from Walter Freeman and his ice pick lobotomies. But there are growing concerns about a new form of brain surgery that sounds like science fiction. The surgery involves devices known as neural implants, which connect the brain directly to computers. In this interview, Lindsay talks with Chris Kenneally, a science journalist and author. The two discuss the remarkable benefits of neural implants?as well as the deep fears they're already raising.

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2021-06-29
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The Osage Murders | A Shrinking Family | 1

A woman's body is found at the bottom of a gorge. It belongs to a member of the Osage Nation, a tribe that's grown incredibly wealthy from oil. When the victim's sister goes looking for answers, she begins to uncover a shocking conspiracy, one that puts her life in danger.

This is a sneak preview of a Wondery+ exclusive season of American Scandal. To listen to the entire season, join Wondery+ in the Wondery app now. https://wondery.app.link/americanscandal

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2021-06-22
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The Ice Pick Surgeon | JFK's Response | 4

President Kennedy signs a bill that transforms mental healthcare in America. With his legacy on the line, Walter Freeman begins a desperate?and dangerous?quest to redeem the lobotomy.

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2021-06-15
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The Ice Pick Surgeon | A New Threat | 3

Walter Freeman goes public with his ice pick lobotomies. But that earns him new enemies?including some who are determined to stop him.

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2021-06-08
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The Ice Pick Surgeon | Trial and Error | 2

Walter Freeman and James Watts begin to experiment with the lobotomy. But their partnership is tested when a high-profile patient suffers disastrous results.

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2021-06-01
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The Ice Pick Surgeon | Search for a Cure | 1

Walter Freeman is devastated when he learns the truth about mental asylums. The medical care is barbaric, and for patients, everyday life is a nightmare. So Freeman begins searching for an alternative. It's a quest that leads him to one of the most controversial procedures in medical history.

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2021-05-25
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Host of "Disgraceland" on the Media and Celebrity Meltdowns | 5

The press has a long, troubled relationship with celebrities, from Marilyn Monroe, to Tupac Shakur, to Britney Spears. The paparazzi are often relentless, and media coverage can be vicious. Which raises a question: Does the press bear responsibility for celebrities' meltdowns? In this special interview, Lindsay chats with Jake Brennan, an expert on the topic, and the host of the podcast "Disgraceland."

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2021-05-18
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Lance Armstrong | Coming Clean | 4

Floyd Landis goes public about performance-enhancing drugs. Lance Armstrong struggles to contain the fallout, as the truth comes out.

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2021-05-11
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Lance Armstrong | Moral Choices | 3

Greg LeMond struggles to find allies in his fight against Lance Armstrong. Floyd Landis is caught in a difficult position, one that forces him to take a big risk.

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2021-05-04
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Lance Armstrong | Work Hard, Play Hard | 2

Lance Armstrong becomes an icon around the world. But when a former cycling legend begins asking questions about doping, Armstrong goes on the attack. 

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2021-04-27
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Lance Armstrong | The Boy from North Texas | 1

Lance Armstrong enters the cutthroat world of professional cycling. But after a string of humiliating losses, he's left searching for a new way to win.

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2021-04-20
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The Red Scare | The Power of Fear | 5

Joseph McCarthy was one of the most consequential politicians in American history. He upended Washington, and even influenced foreign policy for years to come. In this interview, Lindsay chats with Larry Tye, the author of Demagogue, a biography of McCarthy. The two discuss the early stages of the Red Scare, which laid the foundation for McCarthy?s rise. Tye also reveals why McCarthy was able to grow so powerful?and so popular.

To learn more, check out Larry's book, Demagogue: The Life and Long Shadow of Senator Joe McCarthy here.

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2021-04-13
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The Red Scare | McCarthy on Trial | 4

Accusations emerge that Joseph McCarthy blackmailed the military. He faces investigations in the Senate, and a potentially devastating outcome.

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2021-04-06
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The Red Scare | Fighting an Army | 3

Joseph McCarthy searches for communist infiltrators in the U.S. government. He lands on a big target, one that earns him a formidable enemy.

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2021-03-30
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The Red Scare | Loyal Americans | 2

Joseph McCarthy gets help from powerful allies in Washington. As McCarthy?s influence grows, other senators weigh the political cost of challenging him.

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2021-03-23
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The Red Scare | Tail Gunner Joe | 1

Joseph McCarthy dreams of a bigger life. He wants something beyond the farms of Wisconsin, something more important than cornfields and local disputes. He wants political power in Washington, D.C. And he has a plan to get it.

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2021-03-16
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Bernie Madoff | Never Trust a Con Artist | 4

Bernie Madoff conned some of the smartest people in the world, from savvy investors to famous artists. All the while, he deceived government regulators. So how did he fool so many people, and for so long? Diana Henriques is a journalist and author who's written extensively about Madoff. In this interview, she describes what made him such a successful con man. And she warns about the possibility of another Bernie Madoff.

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2021-03-09
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Bernie Madoff | Collapse | 3

The U.S. economy begins to fall apart. So Bernie Madoff takes a risk, and makes a fateful decision about his Ponzi scheme. 

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2021-03-02
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Bernie Madoff | The Numbers Always Rise | 2

A financial analyst raises red flags about Bernie Madoff's record. Madoff faces an investigation from the SEC. 

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2021-02-23
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Bernie Madoff | Sins of the Father | 1

Bernie Madoff is young and broke. And he's hungry for a big paycheck. So he sets out for Wall Street. But a market crash forces him to make a difficult decision, one that will haunt him for years.

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2021-02-16
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Encore: Iran Contra | American Coups | 6

For decades, the U.S. has led covert campaigns abroad. These campaigns?spearheaded by the CIA, among others?have shaped the balance of power in the world. The U.S. has even helped topple foreign governments. In this new interview, Lindsay chats with Stephen Kinzer, an author who's written extensively about America's foreign policy, and the way our government's actions have had unintended consequences.

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2021-02-09
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Encore: Iran Contra | The Inner Circle | 5

Independent Counsel Lawrence Walsh sets his sights on the White House and tries to answer the question everyone has been asking: Exactly how much did President Reagan know and when did he know it?

This episode originally aired on December 24, 2018.

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2021-02-02
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Encore: Iran Contra | Walsh | 4

Independent Counsel Lawrence Walsh is called to D.C. to investigate Iran-Contra and bring those responsible to justice. But what he discovers will shake his political allegiances, and drive a wedge through the heart of the country. 

This episode originally aired on December 18, 2018.

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2021-01-26
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Encore: Iran Contra | Don and Ed | 3

When the story breaks that senior U.S. government officials secretly traded arms for hostages, Congress and the American people demand answers. Chief of Staff Don Regan and Attorney General Ed Meese begin building a wall around the President.  

This episode originally December 11, 2018.

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2021-01-19
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Encore: Iran Contra | Ollie | 2

Two of Reagan?s top priorities are in jeopardy: American hostages are still in the hands of terrorists, and the Contras are losing their fight against the Sandinistas. In early 1986, the two operations merge. In the middle of it all is Lieutenant Colonel Ollie North.

This episode originally aired on December 4, 2018.

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2021-01-12
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Encore: Iran Contra | Bud | 1

In July of 1985, the National Security Advisor to President Reagan, Robert ?Bud? McFarlane, puts a plan in motion that could change the course of history and turn the Reagan administration upside down.  

This episode originally aired on November 27, 2018.

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2021-01-05
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The Unabomber | The Followers | 5

Ted Kaczynski warned that technology was crushing the human spirit?and harming the planet. Since 1995, when his manifesto was published, Kaczynski has gained a large number of followers. John H. Richardson, a journalist and author, corresponded with Kaczynski, and joins Lindsay to discuss the wide-reaching influence of Kaczynski's ideas. 

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2020-12-29
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The Unabomber | Hard Evidence | 4

The FBI gets closer to the Unabomber. But a leak to the media threatens the case. And soon, agents are forced to take action. 

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2020-12-22
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The Unabomber | 35,000 Words | 3

A fight erupts between Ted Kaczynski and his brother, David. And when tragedy strikes, the Kaczynski family begins to break apart.

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2020-12-15
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The Unabomber | In the Woods | 2

Ted Kaczynski falls in love. But soon, he's shocked by some news?and retreats into the wilderness in Montana. It's there that he pushes forward with a deadly bombing campaign.

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2020-12-08
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The Unabomber | Atomic Pearl | 1

Ted Kaczynski faces a painful rejection in high school. Then he endures an abusive psychology experiment at Harvard. Kaczynski may be an academic prodigy, but he feels lonely and out of place. His solution? He's going to get revenge on modern society.

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2020-12-01
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The Riot at Comiskey Park

In 1979, disco was a dominant force in American music. It took the top spots in the Billboard charts, and sold countless records. But with its culturally diverse audience, disco faced a major backlash. And that would lead to a crisis one evening in July of 1979, when a promotional event at a baseball game turned into a riot. Vince Lawrence was at that game, and has since become a music producer and documentary filmmaker. He and Lindsay discuss the meaning of that infamous night, and how disco?s legacy is still with us today, in music and in culture.

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Trailer for Vince Lawrence's film "Legacy": https://twitter.com/i/status/1321898855546429440

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2020-11-24
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The Feds vs. the Activists | COINTELPRO | 5

From the mid-1950s to the early '70s, the FBI employed a secret program known as COINTELPRO. It aimed to disrupt a wide range of social activism, from anti-war protests, to the fight for racial justice. At the time, Clayborne Carson was on the front lines of the battles for civil rights. He?d go on to become the founding director of the Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute, at Stanford University. He and Lindsay sit down to discuss the FBI's investigations of civil rights leaders. They also discuss how those events echo what's happening now between law enforcement and activists.

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2020-11-17
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The Feds vs. the Activists | The Heist | 4

Antiwar activists hatch a risky plan. Led by a physics professor, the group decides to burglarize an FBI office. The goal: to find incriminating documents, and to expose decades of federal abuses.

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2020-11-10
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The Feds vs. the Activists | Fred Hampton | 3

Fred Hampton is a rising star in the civil rights movement. But when he challenges police brutality, he finds that his life is suddenly threatened.

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2020-11-03
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The Feds vs. the Activists | MLK | 2

The FBI goes after Martin Luther King, Jr., after the civil rights leader calls for an end to racial injustice. The bureau begins to spy on King?and forces him to make an impossible decision.

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2020-10-27
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The Feds vs. the Activists | Billie Holiday | 1

Billie Holiday makes a decision. The jazz singer will perform "Strange Fruit," the protest song about lynchings, no matter what happens to her?and no matter how many times law enforcement tells her to stay quiet. But that puts her in the crosshairs of one federal official, who uses any means necessary to silence Holiday.

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2020-10-20
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Three Mile Island | Responding to Crises | 4

It's been over 40 years since the crisis unfolded at Three Mile Island. But the nuclear accident still lingers with us today, as the United States confronts new public health emergencies. At the time of the accident, Peter Bradford was a member of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. He joins Lindsay to discuss what went wrong at Three Mile Island; who was responsible for the crisis; and how nuclear power could play a larger role in the future, as the world looks to fight climate change.

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2020-10-13
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Three Mile Island | Fight or Flight | 3

A large bubble of hydrogen emerges in the nuclear reactor, threatening to cause a catastrophic explosion. President Carter dispatches an envoy. The goal: to get control of the crisis. And Pennsylvania's leaders face a big moment, as they decide whether to evacuate the region.

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2020-10-06
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Three Mile Island | The Ticking Clock | 2

When politics intervene, the engineers at Three Mile Island find themselves up against a wall. Mike Pintek airs a stunning interview on the radio, and causes a panic. And Bill Scranton tries to restore calm to the shaken residents of Pennsylvania.

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2020-09-29
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Three Mile Island | The Domino Effect | 1

On March 28, 1979, Bill Zewe hears an alarm at Three Mile Island. Something has gone terribly wrong at the nuclear power plant, in southern Pennsylvania. And now, the operators at the plant must move fast?before a crisis engulfs the region. 

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2020-09-22
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The Breakup of Big Oil | American Monopolies | 6

The United States is home to a large number of big businesses, from entertainment conglomerates to the giants of tech. Increasingly, members of the public and politicians are raising concerns about these companies?and the power that they wield. Chris Sagers, a law professor at Cleveland State University, joins Lindsay to discuss monopolies in the U.S., both in the past and the present. The two also discuss how the current, heated debates about big business may play out.

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2020-09-15
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The Breakup of Big Oil | Judgment | 5

John D. Rockefeller is on the run. His company is under assault from state and federal lawsuits, and now, Rockefeller is moving from house to house, doing whatever he can to avoid a courtroom. But soon enough, his fate will be decided for him. Because the U.S. Supreme Court is about to issue a landmark decision.

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2020-09-08
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The Breakup of Big Oil | The Hunt | 4

Ida Tarbell begins to investigate Standard Oil. And as she digs deeper, she receives help from some unexpected sources. Soon, John D. Rockefeller learns that his deepest secrets could come spilling out into the light.

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2020-09-01
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