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Meet You in Hell: Andrew Carnegie, Henry Clay Frick, and the Bitter Partnership That Changed America Paperback – June 13, 2006
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Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
"Meet You in Hell" is Les Standiford's telling of the story of the rise and fall of a relationship between two such men, Andrew Carnegie and Henry Clay Frick. Frick, the lesser known of the two, created an empire of his own in coke production (the steel-making input, not the soda or the drug) before being swallowed up by Carnegie Steel and agreeing to run that entire operation for Carnegie.
Carnegie was a man accustomed to getting his own way, but his new employee Frick possessed his own ideas on how a company should be run. The differences between the two surfaced occassionally early in their relationship, and were tested further by the Homestead Mill strike in 1890s which ended in the deaths of many strikers and Pinkerton detectives.
This conflict is the true focus of this book, but interestingly doesn't come across as the watershed in the relationship between Carnegie and Frick that Standiford really wants it to be for the sake of his book. That honor comes later, when Frick tries to trick Carnegie into selling his company to a secret group of speculators with a terrible reputation on Wall Street.
This book is still quite an interesting story about the Homestead strike, labor relations in the industrial age, and the realtionship between two titans of industry, but the stories don't mesh the way Standiford sets you up to believe they will.Read more ›
As readers of my Amazon reviews are aware, I am an avid reader of history. This, while being history, is neither political nor military and, thereby, provides a different insight into forces which molded our nation.
Two ways that I evaluate books is by whether they teach me things that I did not know or if they do whet my appetite to read more on the subject. "Meet You In Hell" scores well on both tests. I was aware that Pinkerton agents were often used by management in labor disputes. The narrative dealing with the Battle of Homestead illustrates just how violent those disputes were. I had often seen Carnegie Libraries, but I did not realize that he was so resented among the laboring classes. After reading this I cannot wait until I can read another book on Industrial History. Any book that can ace both of these tests merits high marks.
Homestead may have been the signature event in the intertwined careers of Carnegie and Frick, but Standiford's book makes clear that it was not the reason that their close partnership turned to bitter enmity and mutual recrimination. Their breakup came seven or eight years later over a disagreement concerning a proposed sale of the giant Carnegie firm to outside investors whose credentials and intentions were suspect.
Thus, while Standiford's account of the week-long Homestead crisis is cinematically vivid, it does not by itself tell the whole story of the two men's lives. Both were born dirt poor (Carnegie in Scotland, Frick in western Pennsylvania) and rose through the industrial ranks through their own strong ambition and financial cunning. They joined forces only when they found they needed each other. Carnegie was the top man, Frick the on-site chief operating officer.
Carnegie at least publicly claimed to support working men and their right to organize, but Frick was an unapologetic anti-union hardliner. When Homestead exploded in gunfire and mob violence, Carnegie, vacationing back in Scotland, gave Frick full support for whatever means he adopted to suppress the strikers and keep the company sound. Only after it was all over and the dead had been counted did Carnegie express some mild criticism of Frick's tactics.Read more ›
Homestead produced, in final count, thrity-one deaths. The original clash, in early July 1892, just outside of Pittsburgh, killed a small number of men. One Pinkerton guard brashly shot himself in the head in front of his colleagues stuck in the barge rather than fall into the hands of the strikers. Carnegie -- by most accounts -- felt betrayed by Frick's hard-nosed handling of the Homestead crisis. Carnegie insisted, especially after the deaths of Pinkerton "police" and strking workers -- that he would have just let the plant stay idle, wait the strikers out, and offer them no reason to fight. Carnegie wanted to be loved; he dreamed that a worker might even say, "If only you had been here, this would not have happended." Frick would not have any of this. He had firm, well-entrenced ideas not only about his rights as a capitalist, but also in his skills and obligations as Carnegie's chief operating officer.
The book does best at constrasting these two men. In some respects they were very much alike. "Ruthless" is not too harsh a word to describe the manner in which they cut costs, built their networks of industries, and squeezed out minor players. They were the masters of the dominant network of the day, based on steel and rail. As entrepreneurs Carnegie may still have not found an equal, not even in Bill Gates, although there are some parallels in the lives and methods of the two men.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great story of two of the most famous/ infamous business leaders of the late 19th century. well worth the read.Published 2 months ago by Kinzua Bridge
The relationship between two of the most powerful steel tycoons of the late 19th Century proved itself very profitable and extremely toxic. Read morePublished 2 months ago by William O'Brien
Very interesting and well written. Actually exciting at times! Makes you dislike Carnegie and Frick even more than you might have prior to reading the book. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Ali Masalehdan
Great book! I live in Pittsburgh and this brought to life the titans that ruled this city of years.Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
Two men who made their fortunes together and separately as their development of the Steel industry in America coincided with America's rise to the top of the industrial countries... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Bernard H. Pucker
i knew nothing of Carnegie and Frick and after this book I wanted to know even MORE> Great book. Made what could have been a boring subject come alive for me. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Kerry D. Montgomery