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American Colossus: The Triumph of Capitalism, 1865-1900
American Colossus: The Triumph of Capitalism, 1865-1900
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American Colossus: The Triumph of Capitalism, 1865-1900

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Author: Brands, H. W.

Brand: Anchor

Color: Multicolor

Edition: Illustrated

Features:

  • Anchor Books

Format: Illustrated

Number Of Pages: 686

Release Date: 04-10-2011

Details: Product Description In this grand-scale narrative history, two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist H. W. Brands brilliantly portrays the emergence, in a remarkably short time, of a recognizably modern America.   American Colossus captures the decades between the Civil War and the turn of the twentieth century, when a few breathtakingly wealthy businessmen transformed the United States from an agrarian economy to a world power. From the first Pennsylvania oil gushers to the rise of Chicago skyscrapers, this spellbinding narrative shows how men like Morgan, Carnegie, and Rockefeller ushered in a new era of unbridled capitalism. In the end America achieved unimaginable wealth, but not without cost to its traditional democratic values. Review “A superb new history. . . . A big, brash narrative.” —Bloomberg News“A first-rate overview of one of the most important periods in American history. . . . Brands is a terrific writer who commands his material, handles this sprawling, complicated story with authority and panache.” —The New York Times“Colorful. . . . Sweeping. . . . Brands masterfully chronicles this transformation. . . . His account serves admirably as a survey history of Gilded Age America.” —The Plain Dealer “An excellent book. . . . Brands is a smart, lively writer. . . . He demonstrates, as the best historians do, that past is prologue.” —The Dallas Morning News About the Author H. W. BRANDS holds the Jack S. Blanton Sr. Chair in History at the University of Texas at Austin. A New York Times bestselling author, he was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in biography for The First American and Traitor to His Class. Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved. Prologue: The Capitalist Revolution John Pierpont Morgan enjoyed an excellent Civil War. He didn’t fight, although he was prime military material, being in his midtwenties and blessed with solid health. Instead he hired a substitute in the manner of many rich, tepid Unionists. Morgan’s father was a transatlantic banker with one foot in New York and the other in London; to train his son for the business he had sent him to school in Switzerland and college in Germany. The young man’s aptitude for numbers prompted one of his professors at Gottingen to suggest a post on the mathematics faculty, but he replied that he heard the family business calling, and he returned to America to become a commodities trader. In an early transaction he bought a boatload of coffee without authorization; before his astonished superiors could fire him, he unloaded the cargo for a fat profit. They appreciated the income but distrusted the audacity and so declined to make him a partner, whereupon, in 1861, he planted his own flag on Wall Street.His timing couldn’t have been better, nor his scruples more suited to the opportunities the war afforded. Hearing of a man who had purchased five thousand old carbines from an armory in New York for $3.50 each, Morgan proceeded to finance a second purchaser, who paid $11.50 per gun, rifled the barrels to improve the weapons’ range and accuracy, and sold them back to the government for $22.00 apiece. The government got something for the six-fold premium it paid to repurchase its guns, but not nearly as much as Morgan did.Morgan speculated in all manner of commodities during the war. Though he didn’t shun honest risk, neither did he unnecessarily court it. He cultivated confidential informants who could tell him, a critical moment before such news became common knowledge, of the latest developments on the battlefield. His rewards were remarkable, especially for one so young. The tax return he filed in the spring of Appomattox revealed an annual income of more than $50,000, at a time when an unskilled worker counted himself lucky to get $200.Morgan wasn’t alone in profiting from the nation’s distress. Andrew Carnegie had clerked on the Pennsylvania Railroad during the decade before the war; by the time the war ended he was crowing, "I’m r

EAN: 9780307386779

Languages: English

Binding: Paperback

Item Condition: UsedLikeNew