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Andrew Carnegie Paperback – June 7, 1989

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 1168 pages
  • Publisher: University of Pittsburgh Press; 1 edition (June 7, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0822959046
  • ISBN-13: 978-0822959045
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #965,795 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“This is not only a masterly study of the great empire-builder and philanthropist but an engrossing chronicle of the rise of Big Business in the U.S.”
--Publishers Weekly

Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

47 of 48 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 7, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book is an outstanding account of the life of Andrew Carnegie, one of the greatest philanthropists and capitalists ever. The book is long but brilliantly written and an enthralling read. Wall has painstakingly researched Carnegie and added considerably to knowledge of the man. His central thesis is that Carnegie's life was a continuing attempt to reconcile his radical Scottish childhood with "the paramountcy he achieved within the American plutocracy as an adult". Wall's approach is generally sympathetic but he is not afraid to be critical when needed, especially over the Homestead strike. The whole of Carnegie's life is in this book, and each part of his life story is properly placed in its historical context. I learned an enourmous amount about the politics and economics of USA and Britain in the late 19th and early twentieth century, but most of all I learned about Carnegie, a man who got as rich as Bill Gates in his day and gave it all away. When you consider that he sold his interest in Carnegie Steel for over $250m in 1901 and start to think about inflation since then you will see what I mean. Read this book and find out how he did it. It is hard to believe that one man could achieve so much in one lifetime. I am not an academic and only have a lay interest in history but would recommend this to anyone. Haven't you ever wondered about Carnegie Hall, Carnegie Libraries or Carnegie Trusts? I now want to visit Pittsburgh and Skibo to see where it all happened.
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By T. Graczewski VINE VOICE on January 7, 2002
Format: Paperback
Joseph Frazier Wall's one-volume biography "Andrew Carnegie" is a "must read" for anyone interested in early American industrial development. However, just as Carnegie's life was much more than simply the story of steel production, so too is this biography. It is a fascinating look at the half-century of American history between the Civil War and World War I.
Andrew Carnegie was one of the most intriguing characters of late nineteenth century America. Born into a politically active although socio-economically humble family in Scotland, Carnegie possessed a passion for advancement and material wealth that propelled him to the forefront of the industrial world. Rising from Pittsburgh telegraph message boy to protege of Pennsylvania Railroad executive Tom Scott to capitalist investor and finally steel magnate in a decade-and-a-half, Carnegie was the very embodiment of the Horatio Alger hero popularized at that time.
Although he shared the same business philosophy of using retained earnings for growth rather than dividends as John D. Rockefeller and other titans and he exhibited a personal drive and sense of destiny common to other leading trust-builders, Carnegie was in one particular way very different from his peers. He was a deeply cerebral man, very well-read and able to compose thoughtful essays on some of the most pressing and challenging political and economic issues of his time. His written defense of the gold standard was used by Mark Hanna to promote McKinley's stance against the bi-metallism of William Jennings Bryan in the crucial 1896 election; his thoughts on central banking influenced Wilson's policies in creating the Federal Reserve System; and Carnegie was one of the very first argue for a permanent League of Nations to work for arbitration of international disputes.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By PrinceVultan on December 7, 2002
Format: Paperback
This book is finest, most comprehensive, and exciting biography ever written about Carnegie. No Carnegie biography, before or since, has ever approached the excellence of Wall's masterpiece.
In fact, this might even be one of the greatest books ever written. Despite the fact that it runs to more than 1100 pages, Wall manages to tell the story and not waste a single word. This is not just a biography of Carnegie. It is also a window into another world. We see the Industrial Revolution up close and we meet the characters who actually shaped and maintained Carnegie's empire, including Henry Clay Frick, Captain William Jones, and Charles Schwab. Carnegie's relationships with contemporaries such as Herbert Spencer, J.P. Morgan, John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Mellon, and at least seven US Presidents are explored as well. The reader will be fascinated with the story, which reads like a work of fiction. Carnegie's rise conincides with the rise of the US as a world power. His success mirrored the nation's and he contributed in no small way to the propserity of the republic in which he thrived. A must read for any Carnegie student and a strongly recommended read for the novice as well.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Bomojaz on November 20, 2005
Format: Paperback
Andrew Carnegie was born in Scotland in 1835 and came to America at age 13. He started working with the Pennsylvania Railroad, and then got in on the ground floor of the steel business. Unlike Rockefeller, his great rival in the race to become the world's richest man, who was motivated by a pious Baptist fervor, Carnegie was a Scottish agnostic Darwinist. (He was three times richer than Rockefeller, by the way.) A frequent contributor to popular magazines of the day, mainly on economic and social issues, he was a follower of Herbert Spencer.

Practical and somewhat crude in manners, the bottom line is what drove him in business. He retired in 1900 and devoted himself to philanthropy (he published a book that year - THE GOSPEL OF WEALTH - in which he proclaimed it was the duty of those who had become extremely wealthy to help those who were less fortunate). Among other things, he began donating library buildings (always just the buildings, never any books) to communities around the country. They were a huge success. Late in his life he became obsessed with world peace and pacificism, less successfully. Although the book is overwritten at 1,200+ pages, Wall writes well and commands our interest. Highly recommended.
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