Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Robber Baron: The Life of Charles Tyson Yerkes Paperback – January 10, 2008
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Standing alongside J. P. Morgan, Carnegie, and Rockefeller, Charles Tyson Yerkes (1837-1905) was one of the most influential and controversial public figures in America. Robber Baron is the first biography of the traction magnate who was behind the Chicago Loop Elevated, an investor in the London Underground, namesake of the University of Chicago’s observatory, and vilified as Frank Cowperwood in Theodore Dreiser’s trilogy, The Financier, The Titan, and The Stoic. After losing his fortune and being jailed for financial improprieties in Philadelphia, Yerkes used political blackmail to secure a pardon. With his boundless ambition intact, he relocated to Chicago and made millions from questionable financial transactions, while also using his influence and charm to assemble one of the world’s finest mass transit networks. Despite various philanthropic efforts, Yerkes and his methods were despised by the press and public, and he left Chicago a bitter man. He moved to London, organizing much of the Underground, battling J. P. Morgan, and romancing Emilie Grigsby, the love of his life, before his death at age 68.
John Franch has drawn upon every available source, including newspapers, memoirs, credit reports, court filings, bankruptcy records, and correspondence to tell the complete story of a man desperate to leave a lasting impression on his world. Yerkes’s enduring public works and remarkable history are a testament to his success, but Robber Baron reveals that his legacy wasn't as sparkling as he might have hoped.
Discover books for all types of engineers, auto enthusiasts, and much more. Learn more
Top Customer Reviews
No matter. John Franch has done a masterful job of pulling together newspaper accounts, court records, and other sources to present a complete picture. But what's more, Franch's account is a highly readable telling of the story of a self-made man in era of industrial giants. At the same time, Franch brings to life the development of urban life in the post-civil war era. Just as James Green's "Death in the Haymarket," Franch's "Robber Baron" puts one on the streets of Chicago in the boom era after the Fire and gives an immediacy to the people, industry, and financial chicanery that made the city.
In the post-Enron era, this lucid telling of the story of Yerkes is a clear reminder of the foibles of those at the crest of the wave of financial schemes. At the same time, it is a compelling good read.
Although Yerkes was not overly popular, John Franch brings to light that the media tended to exacerbate the circumstances. After completing "Robber Baron" I did not gain a positive opinion of Yerkes. However, I now better understand the man, his ambitions, and do not necessarily fault him for some of his decision making.
Franch came across a very insightful newspaper quote that, in my mind, wraps Yerkes life up nicely. From the Chicago Economist: "much more to the credit of a man to be dishonest and at the same time accomplish something for the community than to be merely negatively dishonest, absorbing everything that comes his way and doing no good to others".
I found "Robber Baron" to be a well worthwhile read.