Birthright: Murder, Greed, and Power in the U-Haul Family Dynasty

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Morrow, 1993 - Political Science - 425 pages
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On a peaceful summer night in 1990, beautiful Norwegian-born Eva Berg Shoen was murdered in her sleep in Telluride, Colorado. Police quickly labeled her killing a "contract hit". Within weeks of the murder the victim's father-in-law, L. S. Shoen, founder of U-Haul International, publicly charged that two of his sons - who now ran the company - were "psychotic". L.S. also claimed on national television that they were "directly or indirectly" responsible for the murder of their brother's wife. It wasn't supposed to turn out this way. In 1945 L. S. Shoen founded U-Haul with a single trailer, and over the years, he relentlessly built it into a four-billion-dollar corporation. He divided ownership among his twelve children by three wives, intending that the company would be a lasting legacy for his family. But once his offspring were of age, they voted their father out of control and then fell out among themselves, embarking on an orgy of litigation, in one of the most vitriolic family disputes in American history. The controlling faction fired their own father, then canceled his retirement income. Threats were followed by assaults, then by death threats. Board meetings disintegrated into fistfights as brother assaulted brother, and family shareholder meetings became brawls that were plastered across the nation's newspapers. For three years the official investigation into this unsolved murder has focused on U-Haul management. Now author-journalist Ronald J. Watkins reveals the inside story of the Shoen family, disclosing secrets long kept from the public eye, and suggests a startling explanation for this brutal murder. He explores the history of this uniquely American family, tracing itstwisted course from the migrant-worker fields of Depression-era Oregon to the New York boardroom of Bear Stearns during the go-go economy of the 1980s, following the Shoens from anonymity to supermarket tabloid.

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BIRTHRIGHT: Murder, Greed, and Power in the U-Haul Family Dynasty

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

An arresting, albeit repellent, account of the bitter power struggle at U-Haul, the trailer/truck-rental operation that's one of the largest privately held corporations in the US. Drawing on access to ... Read full review

Birthright: murder, greed, and power in the U-Haul family dynasty

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Watkins ( High Crimes and Misdemeanors , LJ 4/1/90; Evil Intentions , LJ 2/1/92) here chronicles the lives of the L.S. Shoen family and the growth of the U-Haul empire. Shoen founded U-Haul with a ... Read full review


CHAPTER TWO Tell It to A M Carty
CHAPTER THREE Fire Fire Aim Fire Fire

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About the author (1993)

Ronald J. Watkins lives in Phoenix, Arizona.

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