Meet You in Hell by Les Standiford
Andrew Carnegie, Henry Clay Frick, and the Bitter Partnership That Transformed America

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Here is history that reads like fiction: the riveting story of two founding fathers of American industry—Andrew Carnegie and Henry Clay Frick—and the bloody steelworkers’ strike that transformed their fabled partnership into a furious rivalry. Author Les Standiford begins at the bitter end, when the dying Carnegie proposes a final meeting after two decades of separation, probably to ease his conscience. Frick’s reply: “Tell him that I’ll meet him in hell.”

It is a fitting epitaph. Set against the backdrop of the Gilded Age, a time when Horatio Alger preached the gospel of upward mobility and expansionism went hand in hand with optimism, Meet You in Hell is a classic tale of two men who embodied the best and worst of American capitalism. Standiford conjures up the majesty and danger of steel manufacturing, the rough-and-tumble of late-nineteenth-century big business, and the fraught relationship of “the world’s richest man” and the ruthless coke magnate to whom he entrusted his companies. Enamored of Social Darwinism, the emerging school of thought that applied the notion of survival of the fittest to human society, both Carnegie and Frick would introduce revolutionary new efficiencies and meticulous cost control to their enterprises, and would quickly come to dominate the world steel market.

But their partnership had a dark side, revealed most starkly by their brutal handling of the Homestead Steel Strike of 1892. When Frick, acting on Carnegie’s orders to do whatever was necessary, unleashed three hundred Pinkerton detectives, the result was the deadliest clash between management and labor in U.S. history. WHILE BLOOD FLOWED, FRICK SMOKED ran one newspaper headline. The public was outraged. An anarchist tried to assassinate Frick. Even today, the names Carnegie and Frick cannot be uttered in some union-friendly communities.

Resplendent with tales of backroom chicanery, bankruptcy, philanthropy, and personal idiosyncrasy, Meet You in Hell is a fitting successor to Les Standiford’s masterly Last Train to Paradise. Artfully weaving the relationship of these titans through the larger story of a young nation’s economic rise, Standiford has created an extraordinary work of popular history.

From the Hardcover edition.

About Les Standiford

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Les Standiford is the author of ten novels, including the John Deal series, and two works of nonfiction, including Last Train to Paradise. He wrote a chapter of Naked Came the Manatee, and edited The Putt at the End of the World, a collective novel of golf.
Published May 10, 2005 by Broadway Books. 336 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Business & Economics, History. Non-fiction

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as Standiford writes, plots thickened as Carnegie looked for ways to force Frick out while Frick, it appears, tried to leverage the company in what Carnegie regarded as “a despicable exercise in speculation.” Frick remained a member of the board when Carnegie sold out to Andrew Mellon, but he see...

| Read Full Review of Meet You in Hell: Andrew Carn...


Standiford, the author of 14 previous books, brings his writerly experience to bear on this intriguing account of these two men's lives and of the industrial growth of the U.S. (Book description courtesy of Booklist, a magazine the New York Times calls "an acquisitions bible for public and school...

Jul 18 2010 | Read Full Review of Meet You in Hell: Andrew Carn...

Book Reporter

The dramatic centerpiece of Les Standiford's dual biography of Andrew Carnegie and Henry Clay Frick is the bloody clash between striking steelworkers and imported Pinkerton "detectives" at Carnegie's Homestead, PA plant in early July of 1892.

Jan 07 2011 | Read Full Review of Meet You in Hell: Andrew Carn...

California Literary Review

When the duo decided in 1892 to eliminate the Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers (AAISW) from their Homestead mill outside Pittsburgh, Carnegie wasted little time in repairing to his rural retreat in Scotland, leaving Frick to abort contract talks with the union and bust the inevit...

Apr 22 2007 | Read Full Review of Meet You in Hell: Andrew Carn...

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