Andrew Carnegie [NOOK Book]

Overview

In this magnificent biography, celebrated historian David Nasaw brings to life the fascinating rags- to-riches story of one of our most iconic business legends-Andrew Carnegie, America's first modern titan. From his first job as a bobbin boy at age thirteen to his status as the richest man in the world upon retirement, Carnegie was the embodiment of the American dream and the prototype of today's billionaire. Drawing on a trove of new material, Nasaw brilliantly plumbs the core of this fascinating and complex ...
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Andrew Carnegie

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Overview

In this magnificent biography, celebrated historian David Nasaw brings to life the fascinating rags- to-riches story of one of our most iconic business legends-Andrew Carnegie, America's first modern titan. From his first job as a bobbin boy at age thirteen to his status as the richest man in the world upon retirement, Carnegie was the embodiment of the American dream and the prototype of today's billionaire. Drawing on a trove of new material, Nasaw brilliantly plumbs the core of this fascinating and complex man, at last fixing him in his rightful place as one of the most compelling, elusive, and multifaceted personalities of the twentieth century.


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Editorial Reviews

John Steele Gordon
Mr. Nasaw tells this tale extremely well. Highly readable despite its length, Andrew Carnegie shows signs of prodigious original research on almost every page: the Wiscasset, the ship that brought the Carnegie family to America, “set sail from Glasgow in early July (not May 17, as Carnegie wrote in his Autobiography and his biographers have repeated). … I expect it will be the definitive work on Carnegie for the foreseeable future, and it fully deserves to be.
— The New York Times
Jonathan Yardley
Carnegie…is the giant of the Gilded Age, his only real rival being his contemporary and friendly acquaintance John D. Rockefeller. Never has this story been told so thoroughly or so well as David Nasaw tells it in this massive and monumental biography. Nasaw, who teaches history at the City University of New York and is the author of an excellent biography of William Randolph Hearst, has gotten access to a great deal of material unavailable to previous biographers and has made the most—at times too much—of it. Andrew Carnegie would be a better book had it been pared down from 800 pages of text to, say, 650, because Nasaw is in love with his research and cannot let go of it even when it becomes redundant, but only readers laboring under constraints of time are likely to complain; this is biography on the grand scale, and on the whole it lives up to its author's ambitions.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
Without education or contacts, Andrew Carnegie rose from poverty to become the richest person in the world, mostly while working three hours a day in comfortable surroundings far from his factories. Having decided while relatively young and poor to give all his money away in his lifetime, he embraced philanthropy with the same energy and creativity as he did making money. He wrote influential books, became a significant political force and spent his last years working tirelessly for world peace. Yet he was a true robber baron, a ruthless and hypocritical strikebreaker who made much of his money through practices since outlawed. Nasaw, who won a Bancroft Prize for The Chief, a bio of William Randolph Hearst, has uncovered important new material among Carnegie's papers and letters written to others, but comes no closer than previous biographers to explaining how such an ordinary-seeming person could achieve so much and embody such contradictions. He concentrates on the private man, including Carnegie's relations with his mother and wife, and his extensive self-education through reading and correspondence. His business and political dealings are described mostly indirectly, through letters to managers, congressional testimony and articles. Nasaw makes some sense out of the contradictions, but describes a man who seems too small to play the public role. While Peter Krass's Carnegie and Carnegie's own autobiography are more exciting to read and do more to explain his place in history, they also leave the man an enigma. 32 pages of photos. (Oct. 24) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
This concisely titled but weighty tome from CUNY historian Nasaw (The Chief: The Life of William Randolph Hearst) adds a new century's insight into a figure whom we all thought we knew so well. Drawing on unpublished chapters of the industrialist/philanthropist's Autobiography, his associates' diaries, and his correspondence, Nasaw nimbly uses the trajectory of Carnegie's familiar rags-to-riches story as a framework upon which to analyze this self-educated, intellectually curious, and always ambitious dynamo's progress toward initiatives promoting reading, culture, and international peace. He also scrupulously authenticates or discounts legendary stories related in the Autobiography. Nasaw's clearly written book on a man who deftly moved from the old moral sensibilities of his native Scotland to the new capitalist political economy of America speaks directly to the reader and offers more than James T. Baker's Andrew Carnegie: Robber Baron as American Hero and Peter Krass's Carnegie. The study of a prodigious presence on the world stage, vigorous and optimistic until World War I sapped his faith in the future, this work is well positioned to earn a valuable place on the shelves of academic and public libraries as well as those of professional historians.-Frederick J. Augustyn Jr., Library of Congress Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Robber baron? Capitalist butcher? Angel? Industrialist-philanthropist Andrew Carnegie has been many things to many people, and in this grand biography, he's all of them. Warren Buffett's recent decision to give most of his $30-billion-plus fortune to charity squares neatly with Carnegie's view that it is a mark of shame to die with money in the bank; in that matter, but not alone, Nasaw's overstuffed and very well-written biography is timely and instructive. A poor Scottish immigrant, Carnegie impressed a succession of employers with his skills, intelligence and diligence. He also had a Machiavellian bent, and by the time he was 30, he had built a financial empire based on insider contracts to supply the Pennsylvania Railroad with materials and build iron bridges for it. Carnegie's Protestant ethics became situational; he hired a substitute in the Civil War and guided money into his own pocket as a civilian advisor to the government. A shrewd investor, he survived economic panics and made out fine in booms, shielded by a strategy of using other people's money to expand his interests. The darkest side of Carnegie's character emerged when he and his partners reversed earlier policies of rewarding workers with high wages and benefits, allowing unions to operate freely. Leaving it to lieutenants to manage matters, Carnegie-whose personal fortune probably exceeded Bill Gates's today-spent more and more time in Europe as labor unrest mounted in the 1880s and '90s, exemplified by the bloody strike at his Homestead steel plant. Bowed, Carnegie devoted himself to philanthropy, endowing libraries and scientific institutions and pursuing anti-imperialist and pacifist causes, very unlike most of hisfellow Republicans-from whom he pointedly split. A complex man of parts, then, not all of them good. Nasaw (The Chief: The Life of William Randolph Hearst, 2000) does brilliant work in bringing the man to life.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781101201794
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 10/30/2007
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 896
  • Sales rank: 173,701
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

David Nasaw is the author of the nationally bestselling biography The Chief: The Life of William Randolph Hearst, winner of the Bancroft Prize for History, the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize, the Ambassador Book Prize for Biography, and finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. He is currently a distinguished professor of history and Director for the Humanities at the City University of New York Graduate Center.


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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 22 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 22 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 4, 2007

    A reviewer

    On Feb. 4, 1901, Andrew Carnegie sold his steel-making business for an unprecedented $400 million (worth about $120 billion now). With that sale, he became 'The Richest Man in the World,' according to J.P. Morgan, who bought Carnegie's company and used it as the basis of U.S. Steel. But if you want to learn how to become the richest person in your part of the world, that's not the purpose of this biography. Instead David Nasaw minutely depicts an authentic tragic comedy in more than 800 pages, the life of an impoverished, painfully short immigrant lad who succeeded during the Gilded Age of capitalism, becoming a robber baron, philanthropist and 'peacenik.' The author uncovers many of the secret operations Carnegie used to exploit his early employers and, later, his gullible investors. This account corrects biographies that omit Carnegie's shady railroad bonds and union busting. The author also explains how Carnegie used his wealth to become one of the world's greatest philanthropists, a significant legacy that endures through the institutions and libraries he endowed. We highly recommend this detailed history for its iconoclastic scholarship, profound soul-searching and fascinating portrait of a unique, contradictory person.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 11, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    interesting person

    I found the book was 100 percent on the money as to what was promised in the forward of the book. presently I am on page 500 of 750. I wish it was page 500 nof 500. The book is good but I have spent enough time on the subject by this point. I will continue because it is a still well written book.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 23, 2009

    Carnegie is a very fascinating person, but 800 pages are still a lot.

    I definitely respect the research and the story. Thanks to Mr. Nasaw for the work, but I believe it was the interesting character of Andrew Carnegie that got me through this book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2006

    Andrew Carnegie

    It is the perfect combination of the author and the subject.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2006

    Andrew Carnegie

    The book will inspire, encourage and motivate you as a reader to be a dreamer and a doer just like Andrew Carnegie.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2012

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    0 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 30, 2009

    Deja Vu

    This has become quite a topical book. Andrew Carnegie was one of the original "robber barrons" in the late 19th century. This book highlights his life and is timely in that we are seeing a repeat of this type of behavior today. This book covers details meticulously and certainly will get your cranium going.

    His story is not one sided, so you will learn both sides of the man: how he becamse so wealthy and his philanthropy.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 4, 2006

    A+

    TRUE REVELATION OF A ROLE MODEL.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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