Andrew Carnegie

Andrew Carnegie

David Nasaw

Language: English

Pages: 896

ISBN: 0143112449

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Celebrated historian David Nasaw, whom The New York Times Book Review has called "a meticulous researcher and a cool analyst," brings new life to the story of one of America's most famous and successful businessmen and philanthropists—in what will prove to be the biography of the season. Born of modest origins in Scotland in 1835, Andrew Carnegie is best known as the founder of Carnegie Steel. His rags to riches story has never been told as dramatically and vividly as in Nasaw's new biography. Carnegie, the son of an impoverished linen weaver, moved to Pittsburgh at the age of thirteen. The embodiment of the American dream, he pulled himself up from bobbin boy in a cotton factory to become the richest man in the world. He spent the rest of his life giving away the fortune he had accumulated and crusading for international peace. For all that he accomplished and came to represent to the American public—a wildly successful businessman and capitalist, a self-educated writer, peace activist, philanthropist, man of letters, lover of culture, and unabashed enthusiast for American democracy and capitalism—Carnegie has remained, to this day, an enigma. Nasaw explains how Carnegie made his early fortune and what prompted him to give it all away, how he was drawn into the campaign first against American involvement in the Spanish-American War and then for international peace, and how he used his friendships with presidents and prime ministers to try to pull the world back from the brink of disaster. With a trove of new material—unpublished chapters of Carnegie's Autobiography; personal letters between Carnegie and his future wife, Louise, and other family members; his prenuptial agreement; diaries of family and close friends; his applications for citizenship; his extensive correspondence with Henry Clay Frick; and dozens of private letters to and from presidents Grant, Cleveland, McKinley, Roosevelt, and British prime ministers Gladstone and Balfour, as well as friends Herbert Spencer, Matthew Arnold, and Mark Twain—Nasaw brilliantly plumbs the core of this facinating and complex man, deftly placing his life in cultural and political context as only a master storyteller can.

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of “the Monster Iniquity,” slavery? Rather than God’s gift to freedom-loving people, the United States, because of slavery, should be despised, not celebrated, as “the most tyrannical [country] in the world.” Dod challenged his cousin to a transoceanic written debate comparing the British and American forms of government. “Dod’s letter put me in an awful way,” Andy wrote his uncle Lauder, perhaps because there was little he could say in reply. “I could hardly forbear from writing him the same

of established universities by providing financial support to scientists to engage in basic research projects. The objectives were broad and rather vague; the organizational structure undetermined. Carnegie intended to work out the specifics when he returned to the United States in the fall.18 BY THE SUMMER of 1901, the main building at Skibo had been transformed through the efforts of hundreds of local artisans and laborers, directed by teams of architects and contractors, from the Gothic

willing to consider such a treaty. Bryan agreed and approved the draft of the letter Carnegie intended to send to the kaiser. On October 16, Carnegie wrote the kaiser, who responded favorably. But it was too late; no treaty between Germany and the United States was going to end the war in Europe.23 Carnegie, recovered from his initial shock, began in the fall of 1914 to speak out in public again, write letters to the editor and articles, grant interviews, and promote a peace agenda in time of

already held several patents on which Pullman had infringed in building his cars. Needing all the capital he could raise for expansion, Pullman did not want to be pulled into a lengthy battle in the courts. While he now controlled the midwestern market for sleeping cars—and was making inroads in the South—he was locked out of the lucrative Pennsylvania Railroad franchises. Suspicious though he might have been of Carnegie, he knew that behind the little man from Pittsburgh stood Thomson, Scott,

quiet, reserved, soft-spoken man, more a “trailer” than a leader, or so Carnegie would much later in life confide to his friend Hew Morrison (not a relation).21 In early 1840, in the midst of the campaign for the People’s Charter, Anne Carnegie was born. Unlike her robust, bubbly brother, Anne was a sickly child who required a great deal of care. She would not live to see her second birthday. There is curiously no mention of his sister in the Autobiography or in any of Carnegie’s writings. She

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