From Publishers Weekly
In this timely study, University of Texas historian Brands (Traitor to His Class) describes the rise of the great corporate capitalists after the Civil War. J. Pierpont Morgan, John D. Rockefeller, and Andrew Carnegie constituted an trinity of power-obsessed individuals who instinctively understood that wealth was the ultimate political weapon. They defined the cold-blooded authority of big business. Fascinating detours away from the tale of corporate empires examine the Reconstruction process in the South, the Indian Wars of the West, the opening of the Great Plains, immigration in the East, and the rise of organized labor and the agrarian reformers. Effectively, excerpts from the first-person accounts of Booker T. Washington, Black Elk, Jacob Riis, and others convey the drama of the time. Perhaps the only significant omission in this fast-paced, engrossing narrative is a tendency to dwell on political doctrines that sought to repudiate or restrain capitalism while only briefly discussing the dogma of Herbert Spencer's social Darwinism, which favored the monopolists.
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Praise for American Colossus
"Mr. Brands, a terrific writer who commands his material, handles this sprawling, complicated story with authority and panache. A book that might have been a worthy but boring tome turns out to be as close as serious history gets to a page turner....American Colossus
is a first-rate overview of one of the most important periods in American history, one without which the American Century could not have happened."—John Steele Gordon, The New York Times
"A superb new history….This is a big, brash narrative running from the Confederate surrender at Appomattox to the trust busting of Theodore Roosevelt….I read swaths of this book twice, just to savor Brands’ storytelling and mastery of detail."—James Pressley, Bloomberg News
"Mr. Brands paints a vivid portrait of both this understudied age and those industrialists still introduced by high school teachers as ‘robber barons’: Vanderbilt, Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, and J.P. Morgan….As Mr. Brands relates the tycoons’ stories, he drops some anecdotes wonderfully relevant today."
—The Wall Street Journal
"An excellent book….H. W. Brands is a smart, lively writer… [who] demonstrates, as the best historians do, that past is prologue."—Dallas Morning News
Praise for The Age of Gold
“A fine, robust telling of one of the greatest adventure stories in history.”—David McCullough, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of John Adams
“A barn burner . . . Masterfully sketched historical figures, subtly developed themes, and especially well-braided stories . . . Eureka!”—San Francisco ChroniclePraise for Traitor to His Class
(Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Bio...