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Andrew Carnegie
     

Andrew Carnegie

4.1 23
by David Nasaw, Grover Gardner (Read by)
 

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Andrew Carnegie, whose lifetime spanned the era from the beginning of the Industrial Revolution to the First World War was America's first modern titan. In this magnificent biography, celebrated historian David Nasaw brings to life this period of unprecedented transition - a time of self-made millionaires, scabs, strikes, and a new kind of philanthropy - through

Overview

Andrew Carnegie, whose lifetime spanned the era from the beginning of the Industrial Revolution to the First World War was America's first modern titan. In this magnificent biography, celebrated historian David Nasaw brings to life this period of unprecedented transition - a time of self-made millionaires, scabs, strikes, and a new kind of philanthropy - through the fascinating rags-to-riches story of one of our most iconic business legends.

The Scottish-born son of a failed weaver and a mother who supported the family by binding shoes, Andrew Carnegie was the embodiment of the American dream. In his rise from a job as a bobbin boy in a cotton factory to being the richest man in the world, he was single-minded, relentless, and a major player in some of the most violent and notorious labor strikes of the time. The prototype of today's billionaire, he was a visionary in the way he earned his money and in the way he gave it away.

Nasaw explains how Carnegie made his fortune and how he tried to pull the world back from a war he predicted. Brimming with new material, personal letters, diaries, prenuptial agreements, letters to and from presidents and prime ministers, Nasaw plumbs the core of this fascinating man, fixing him in his place as one of the most compelling, elusive, and multifaceted personalities of the 20th century.

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.
From the Publisher
“The definitive work on Carnegie for the foreseeable future, and it fully deserves to be."—John Steele Gordon, The New York Times

“Never has this story been told so thoroughly or so well as David Nasaw tells it in this massive and monumental biography."—Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post

“Beautifully crafted and fun to read."—Louis Galambos, The Wall Street Journal

“The definitive Carnegie biography has arrived."—USA Today

“Nasaw delivers a vivid history of nineteenth-century capitalism."—Fortune

“Nasaw’s fine book…seems sure to be the final word on ‘the Star-spangled Scotchman.’”—Los Angeles Times
 
“Nasaw’s research is extraordinary.”—San Francisco Chronicle
 
“A meticulous account of a paradoxical American original.”—BusinessWeek
 
“Make no mistake: David Nasaw has produced the most thorough, accurate and authoritative biography of Carnegie to date.”—Salon.com
 
 “Nasaw’s…very well-written biography is timely and instructive…Nasaw does brilliant work in bringing [Carnegie] to life.”—Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“A comprehensive and often engrossing biography…compelling.”—Booklist  

“In this lucid, meticulous, and finely detailed biography, David Nasaw has delivered the authoritative volume on Andrew Carnegie that we have long awaited. He captures in persuasive fashion the many sides of this energetic and kaleidoscopic personality—the abrasive industrialist, the enlightened philanthropist, the aspiring, often infuriatingly self-deluded author and political polemicist—and thereby makes a valuable contribution to the rich literature of America in the Gilded Age.”—Ron Chernow, author of Alexander Hamilton

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781596591240
Publisher:
Gildan Audio
Publication date:
10/09/2007
Series:
Your Coach in a Box Ser.
Edition description:
Revised
Product dimensions:
5.25(w) x 5.75(h) x 0.75(d)

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
"The definitive work on Carnegie for the foreseeable future, and it fully deserves to be."
- John Steele Gordon, The New York Times

"Never has this story been told so thoroughly or so well as David Nasaw tells it in this massive and monumental biography."
-Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post

"Beautifully crafted and fun to read."
- Louis Galambos, The Wall Street Journal

"The definitive Carnegie biography has arrived."
-USA Today

"Nasaw delivers a vivid history of nineteenth-century capitalism."
-Fortune

Meet the Author

David Nasaw is currently a Distinguished Professor of History at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Nation, Conde Nast's Traveler, the London Review of Books, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and other publications.

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Andrew Carnegie 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 23 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
MikeMcLin More than 1 year ago
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.
robjenmt More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It is the perfect combination of the author and the subject.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book will inspire, encourage and motivate you as a reader to be a dreamer and a doer just like Andrew Carnegie.
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Humanbean More than 1 year ago
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.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
TRUE REVELATION OF A ROLE MODEL.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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