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Hetty: The Genius and Madness of America's First Female Tycoon Paperback – November 1, 2005
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Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“Slack concentrates on telling a good story and telling it well.... [An] entertaining biography.” (Publishers Weekly)
“A wonderfully detailed new biography.” (Forbes)
“[A] page-turning portrait of an important and complicated woman.” (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
“[A] nuanced portrait.” (Newsweek)
“A fascinating book.” (New York Post)
“Fascinating.” (Tucson Citizen)
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Top Customer Reviews
Hetty became incredibly wealthy by following the "buy low, sell high" rule ruthlessly in real estate, bonds, and stocks. She is remembered as a miser, pedant, and grouch but this reflects the prevailing attitude of the times, where a woman doing the "dirty" work of investing and wealth creation was generally looked down upon.
This short and tidy synopsis of Hetty's life and times makes for great reading, covering the period 1830 to around 1920. The book seems very balanced, finding much good to say about Hetty but she is not idolized and her rough demeanor and pushy personality are evident. After reading this, I am convinced that Warren Buffett would have found her a very tough competitor.
Hetty Green was the daughter of Edward Mott Robinson of New Bedford, Mass. Robinson made his fortune in whaling and his daughter Hetty exhibited a keen interest in business from a very early age. This was highly unusual for a young girl in those days but Hetty was determined to follow in her fathers footsteps. Hetty was raised a Quaker and as such she did not believe in showering herself with luxuries. Rather, she spent virtually her entire life scrimping and saving. This was certainly not necessary because Hetty Green would become by all accounts the richest woman in the world. She owned dozens of buildings in New York, Boston, Chicago and St.Louis. She owned warehouses and gold mines and was also a major player in the emerging railroad industry. She would be a force to be reckoned with on the American financial scene for more than half a century. And you did not cross Hetty Green as her archrival, the legendary industrialist Collis P. Huntington, would discover early on. At the time of her passing in 1916, her empire was conservatively estimated to be valued at more than $100.000.000!!!
Charles Slack is a marvelous storyteller.Read more ›
The writing is excellent and I am an avid reader of biographies. I am also a daughter of a Wall Street stock broker. I had heard of the infamous Hetty Green; the "Witch of Wall Street". And to think.. someone finally wrote a book...WOW!
I grabbed the book off the shelf at Barnes & Noble and was not dissappointed. Excellent writing. So well written.. Three cheers for the author. I am grateful that somone wrote a book on this incredible woman. Now I know more about her. Facinating...
Thankfully, Charles Slack's HETTY, The Genius and Madness of America's First Female Tycoon offers us a look at the woman beneath the austere black dresses. At times ruthless, at times vindictive, Hetty Green could also be compassionate and sentimental. While she was not exactly an ideal wife or mother, her husband and children never villified her; in fact her children, in public at least, only said kind words for her (even though her son could have legitimately accused her of costing him his leg).
What ultimately comes across though is a strong, looming sense of loneliness. To me, she seemed isolated as a child, isolated as a young adult, and in later years, as isolated as her Aunt Sylvia. In the end, money couldn't buy her love. It couldn't even pay for a friend. Charles Slack, however, doesn't want you to think of this as some sort of penance. She was surrounded by what little family was left, and by his account, left this world peacefully. Mr. Slack actually makes it seem she preferred it that way. And I believe he's right. This was a fascinating biography of a woman who deserved one.
How many biographies exist for John Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, Jay Gould and the others? This book opens up a whole new unexplored territory. Stack provides a platform for future biographers and their field is fertile.
Why was Hettie forgotten? Was it lack of self-memorialization in libraries and museums? Wrong gender? No progeny to carry the name/flame? No Newport mansion for tourists to visit?
What made her tick? The distant father? The need to succeed/prove? Protestant ethic? Loneliness?
What of Mr. Green, a man so adventurous in early life? How did he FEEL when his wife so publically demonstrated her financial independance (in Victorian America)? What did he do in the years following this.. and how did he relate to his children?
What of the son who honors his mother in public, leaves Texas to assist her, but marries Mable "Harlot" so soon after his mother's death.
Why has this not been a DocumDrama already?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is the story of Hetty Green, the richest woman in the world at a time when females did not deal in financial matters. It is fascinating!Published 7 months ago by Rev.Ruth
A great fact-based view into the life of a real businesswoman. The book was hard to put down...Published 9 months ago by John Forrester
This is a very readable book about strange character in one of the wealthiest times in America, for a few. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Eantha L. Haagen
Finally a book that clears all the myths surrounding this complex woman. A great read.Published 12 months ago by Eli O Mannes
This one of the best books i read all year. Nobobdy ever talk about hetty green when it comes to tycoons. They are all hyprocries in that they don't acknowledge her!Published 16 months ago by okie dokie
This is a pleasant read about a formidable woman in a time when women were not supposed to be formidable. Read morePublished 17 months ago by K Lee
This is an incredibly interesting story. I was searching for a good read when I found this. Don't hesitate to order it.Published 17 months ago by Jill
She didn't win her fortune with her looks! Hetty was a tough old bird and a delight to read. She reigned at a time when the Robber Barons and similar types were ruthless and... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Miller.