By H. W. Brands
In a grand-scale narrative historical past, the bestselling writer of 2 finalists for the Pulitzer Prize now captures the a long time while capitalism used to be at its such a lot unbridled and some breathtakingly filthy rich businessmen totally remodeled the United States from an agrarian economic system to a global strength.
The years among the Civil conflict and the top of the 19th century observed the wholesale transformation of the USA from a land of small farmers and small businessmen into an commercial gigantic. pushed via unfathomably prosperous and robust businessmen like J. P. Morgan, Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller, armies of employees, either female and male, have been harnessed to a brand new imaginative and prescient of big undefined. A society rooted within the soil turned one established in towns, and legions of immigrants have been attracted to American beaches. What’s extra, in reaching its revolution, capitalism threatened to eclipse American democracy. “What do I care concerning the law?” bellowed Cornelius Vanderbilt. “Hain’t I acquired the power?” He did, and with it he and the opposite capitalists reshaped each point of yankee existence. In American Colossus, H.W. manufacturers portrays the emergence, in a remarkably couple of minutes, of a recognizably glossy the USA.
The capitalist revolution left no longer a unmarried sector or element of yankee existence untouched. It roared around the South, wrenching that quarter from its feudal prior and integrating the southern economic climate into the nationwide one. It burst over the West, dictating the destruction of local American economies and peoples, using the exploitation of traditional assets, and making the frontier of cost a company frontier in addition. It crashed around the city panorama of the East and North, turning towns into engines of wealth and poverty, opulence and squalor. It swamped the politics of an previous period, shooting one significant occasion and 1/2 the opposite, inspiring the construction of a 3rd social gathering and selecting the problems over which all 3 waged the various bitterest battles in American background.
Brands’s spellbinding narrative superbly depicts the oil gushers of western Pennsylvania, the increase, in Chicago, of the 1st skyscraper, the exploration of the Colorado River, the livestock drives of the West, and the early passionate sparks of union existence. through 1900 the the US he portrays is wealthier than ever, but prosperity is precarious, inequality rampant, and democracy stretched skinny. American Colossus is an unforgettable portrait of the years while the competition among capitalism and democracy was once at its sharpest, and capitalism triumphed.
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Additional resources for American Colossus: The Triumph of Capitalism, 1865-1900
I don’t understand why he got into the tire business because I couldn’t stand it myself. My brother and I worked with him for a while. I think basically all he wanted to do was be a salesman. He could sell anybody anything. He even worked for Paramount Studios out in California. I don’t even know what he did out there. We heard a lot of stories that he worked for all the professional actors. He did everything, he wasn’t limited to one particular thing. So, I wanted a structured life. We moved all the time.
The guy that run it, Frank Boyd, his son and I were close friends; his name was Richard. I stopped in there one morning to get gas on the way to Ford. My dad had set up an appointment for me to go over there and get a job. My dad was a truck driver but he was close friends with the plant manager over there. But anyway, I stopped to get gas and Richard and a couple of his buddies, they were in there and they were getting ready to go to Harvester. Harvester was hiring. Back then there were all kinds of jobs.
So I made a bad mistake and stayed with Johnson Controls, because the money was good and I liked the people. I felt like that place was going to be there forever, because I felt like everybody needed a battery. The money was good at Ford, the money was good at Johnson Controls but everybody’s going to need a battery and that plant had been there for thirty years. Well, over thirty years. ” Johnson Controls gave a little lesser pay but you’re on piece work, so the harder you work, the more you make.