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Andrew Carnegie – tekijä: David Nasaw
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Andrew Carnegie (alkuperäinen julkaisuvuosi 2006; vuoden 2006 painos)

– tekijä: David Nasaw

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
7651022,381 (3.76)9
Born of modest origins in Scotland in 1835, Andrew Carnegie is best known as the founder of Carnegie Steel.... Carnegie, the son of an impoverished linen weaver, moved to Pittsburgh at the age of thirteen. The embodiment of the American dream, he pulled himself up from bobbin boy in a cotton factory to become the richest man in the world. He spent the rest of his life giving away the fortune he had accumulated and crusading for international peace. For all that he accomplished and came to represent to the American public - a wildly successful businessman and capitalist, a self-educated writer, peace activist, philanthropist, man of letters, lover of culture, and unabashed enthusiast for American democracy and capitalism - Carnegie has remained, to this day, an enigma. -http://www.booksinprint.com.… (lisätietoja)
Jäsen:drewmcgoo
Teoksen nimi:Andrew Carnegie
Kirjailijat:David Nasaw
Info:Penguin Press HC, The (2006), Hardcover, 896 pages
Kokoelmat:Oma kirjasto
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Andrew Carnegie (tekijä: David Nasaw) (2006)

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This is the third biography I read about people that made themselves super rich in the late 1800s in the USA. The other two were [b:Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr.|16121|Titan The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr.|Ron Chernow|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1386925052s/16121.jpg|1312015] and [b:The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt|4839382|The First Tycoon The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt|T.J. Stiles|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1320519566s/4839382.jpg|4904634]. That means that it's hard to not review the persons at the same time as I review the book but I will do my best.

Andrew Carnegie grew up in Scotland in a family who were being put out of business by the industrialization. When he was 13 the family moved to Pittsburgh and there Andrew made his fortune. The author tells the story mostly chronological, but also thematic with overlap in time between chapters. That works, but it's easy to lose control of the order things happened in. Since everything a person does or experience will affect future actions, the order kind of matters.

The main source of information seems to be letters. Actually, it seems the only source of information is letters and the occasional newspaper clipping. There are some attempts at analysis but nothing very deep. The most critical part is where the author points out the discrepancies between Carnegie's actions towards unions and labour and his outspoken support of labour and unions.

After getting through all the book, I still don't feel like I know him. I got a feeling for Vanderbilt and for Rockefeller, but not so much for Carnegie. Of the three it seemed Andrew Carnegie was the one that was mostly lucky and that mostly spent his time writing letters to pepole about everything.

To start from the beginning, Andrew Carnegie worked hard in the ironworks, telegraph office and railroad and befriended rich and powerful people. By leeching on to them he made a truck load of money out of nothing (because those businesses were corrupt, not illegally so though, and being an insider at the right time at the right place meant you could make a lot of money). With the money he earned and the contacts he had, he started and bought steel plants at a time when the US had huge tariffs for imported steel and at a time when armor, battleships and houses, as well as railroads needed more steel every year.

Carnegie didn't run the businesses himself but he made sure that they focused on low cost (i.e. long days, no salary for workers, and "special" deals with coke and railroad businesses) and high volume (i.e. low prices to keep the plants running).

The money he took he intended to give away and he did give away a lot of money. While John D. Rockefeller did so because he was a religious fanatic, Carnegie seems to have done so because he wanted to improve the world. His focus was on libraries and organs, but of the hundreds (thousands) of billion dollars he accumulated and gave away in todays money there wasn't enough libraries to consume them all, so there were lots of recipients.

The last years of his long life he spent trying to create the United Nations and international courts to prevent war ever again. He failed and that broke him. Instead the world entered World War I...

So the book, if you are very curious about Andrew Carnegie, sure read it, but it's not a literary masterpiece and I think it's also not very unique in sources and material so there might be better books about him. ( )
  bratell | Dec 25, 2020 |
اللَّهُمَّ فَاطِرَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ عَالِمَ الْغَيْبِ وَالشَّهَادَةِ أَنتَ تَحْكُمُ بَيْنَ عِبَادِكَ فِي مَا كَانُوا فِيهِ يَخْتَلِفُونَ
O Allah, Creator of the heavens and the earth, Knower of the unseen and the seen, You judge between Your slaves concerning wherein they differ
******************************************************************************

Fascinating take on a fascinating subject. Nonetheless too long for the level of depth.

Some have said it's too critical of capitalism but the truth is: Carnegie would not have been able to acquire wealth using the same methods he used toward the turn of the past century. Insider trading is illegal now, even in a capitalist economic system, to say nothing of the other tactics he uses to acquire wealth. Calling that out does not display a bias (either for or against) capitalism.

Carnegie's peace activism and concern for those worse off -though limited- remains interesting.

There is not a cohesive narrative. Nor is the telling concise; 284,200 words is too long even for "nonfiction," especially given the amount of insight this book offers (and perhaps has to work with).

To the author's credit, the chronology of Carnegie's history includes many twists and turns. He lived to be 83 and his life extends from before Lincon's leadership of America during its civil war, all the way through Roosevelt's leadership of it through the depression. That context however was scant, and I found myself wondering what might have been happening politically, socially, or in Americans' minds about the opportunities their country offered, or at least how Carnegie's general employees would have reacted to a success such as his. This was after all, the "Gilded Age."

The book didn't seem as critical as it could have been and but for mention of the Homestead events, the working class would have hardly been represented.

This is the story of a man who quickly and increasingly acquired wealth— largely through luck*. Many of the "events" are really business deals and the book is largely a successive chain of buying, selling, acquiring or consolidating, regardless of how much or little the author intervened.

*granted, to say Carnegie was "lucky" or that he was at the right place at the right time, is to ignore the moral grounds which ultimately made insider trading illegal; Gatsbyesque luck.
  AAAO | Jul 3, 2020 |
Carnegie, Andrew (Subject)
  LOM-Lausanne | Apr 30, 2020 |
Pretty sharp biography of the ironmaster-turned-philanthropist. The author does a pretty good job of showing that Carnegie's previous tales about his life often were exaggerated, or omitted key details. Nasaw does a good job as well at showing that Carnegie could be a windy, two-faced, manipulative bore. He might have looked a bit like Santa Claus, but he sure didn't act like him. Recommended, definitely. ( )
  EricCostello | Feb 5, 2020 |
A well written, well researched book spanning Andrew Carnegie's entire life. Had read about the Homestead problem and about his gift of public libraries, but book went far beyond those two areas. Although long, the book covered apparently all facets of his life. Carnegie claimed to be a friend of labor and pro -union, but his actions often seemed contradictory. A multifaceted individual. - one has to wonder how much was an act and how much was the real person that you saw. Definitely worthy of the accolades this book received. ( )
  busterrll | Dec 17, 2014 |
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Englanninkielinen Wikipedia (3)

Born of modest origins in Scotland in 1835, Andrew Carnegie is best known as the founder of Carnegie Steel.... Carnegie, the son of an impoverished linen weaver, moved to Pittsburgh at the age of thirteen. The embodiment of the American dream, he pulled himself up from bobbin boy in a cotton factory to become the richest man in the world. He spent the rest of his life giving away the fortune he had accumulated and crusading for international peace. For all that he accomplished and came to represent to the American public - a wildly successful businessman and capitalist, a self-educated writer, peace activist, philanthropist, man of letters, lover of culture, and unabashed enthusiast for American democracy and capitalism - Carnegie has remained, to this day, an enigma. -http://www.booksinprint.com.

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