Andrew Carnegie by David Nasaw

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Synopsis

Celebrated historian David Nasaw, whom The New York Times Book Review has called "a meticulous researcher and a cool analyst," brings new life to the story of one of America's most famous and successful businessmen and philanthropists—in what will prove to be the biography of the season. Born of modest origins in Scotland in 1835, Andrew Carnegie is best known as the founder of Carnegie Steel. His rags to riches story has never been told as dramatically and vividly as in Nasaw's new biography. 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. Nasaw explains how Carnegie made his early fortune and what prompted him to give it all away, how he was drawn into the campaign first against American involvement in the Spanish-American War and then for international peace, and how he used his friendships with presidents and prime ministers to try to pull the world back from the brink of disaster. With a trove of new material—unpublished chapters of Carnegie's Autobiography; personal letters between Carnegie and his future wife, Louise, and other family members; his prenuptial agreement; diaries of family and close friends; his applications for citizenship; his extensive correspondence with Henry Clay Frick; and dozens of private letters to and from presidents Grant, Cleveland, McKinley, Roosevelt, and British prime ministers Gladstone and Balfour, as well as friends Herbert Spencer, Matthew Arnold, and Mark Twain—Nasaw brilliantly plumbs the core of this facinating and complex man, deftly placing his life in cultural and political context as only a master storyteller can.
 

About David Nasaw

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David Nasaw is an associate professor of history at the College of Staten Island, City University of New York, and author of Schooled to Order. He lives in New York City with his wife, Dinitia Smith, and their twin sons, Daniel and Peter.
 
Published October 30, 2007 by Penguin Books. 896 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Business & Economics, Political & Social Sciences, History. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Andrew Carnegie

Kirkus Reviews

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Warren Buffett’s recent decision to give most of his $30-billion-plus fortune to charity squares neatly with Carnegie’s view that it is a mark of shame to die with money in the bank;

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The New York Times

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Industrialism gave us a new generation of leaders — we might even call them America’s second founders.

Nov 05 2006 | Read Full Review of Andrew Carnegie

The New York Times

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Industrialism gave us a new generation of leaders — we might even call them America’s second founders.

Nov 05 2006 | Read Full Review of Andrew Carnegie

The New York Times

See more reviews from this publication

Industrialism gave us a new generation of leaders — we might even call them America’s second founders.

Nov 05 2006 | Read Full Review of Andrew Carnegie

The New York Times

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Highly readable despite its length, “Andrew Carnegie” shows signs of prodigious original research on almost every page: the Wiscasset, the ship that brought the Carnegie family to America, “set sail from Glasgow in early July (not May 17, as Carnegie wrote in his ‘Autobiography’ and his biographe...

Oct 30 2006 | Read Full Review of Andrew Carnegie

Publishers Weekly

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Without education or contacts, Andrew Carnegie rose from poverty to become the richest person in the world, mostly while working three hours a day in comfortable surroundings far from his factories.

Aug 07 2006 | Read Full Review of Andrew Carnegie

Book Reporter

Andrew Carnegie arrived in the United States from his native Scotland in 1848 as an unschooled and aimless 13 year old, became immensely wealthy at 26, retired from full-time work at 37, revolutionized the structure and working methods of the American steel industry, pestered five or six Presiden...

Dec 22 2010 | Read Full Review of Andrew Carnegie

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

conclave set for March Harper must go: The police chief is no longer serving Pittsburgh Talks break down: Both Iran and the United States are to blame ...

Oct 22 2006 | Read Full Review of Andrew Carnegie

Bookmarks Magazine

… Nasaw’s fine book incorporates what’s best [about other biographies of] Carnegie and his times so fully that it seems sure to be the final word on ‘the Star-spangled Scotchman.’" Anthony Arthur New York Times 4 of 5 Stars "Highly readable despite its length, Andrew Carnegie shows signs of ...

Aug 21 2007 | Read Full Review of Andrew Carnegie

Large Print Reviews

Andrew Carnegie is a incredible, detailed, yet eminently readable biography of the self-made man, Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919).

Nov 12 2007 | Read Full Review of Andrew Carnegie

Project MUSE

And while prior biographers had assumed that Carnegie turned to philanthropy to atone for Homestead, Nasaw cites an 1868 memo stating Carnegie's early intention to give away his entire fortune—nearly twenty-five years before the 1892 strike.

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Scottish Review of Books

ANDREW Carnegie did not, as some revisionists insist, invent philanthropy or capitalism.

Nov 09 2009 | Read Full Review of Andrew Carnegie

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