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American Colossus: The Triumph of…

American Colossus: The Triumph of Capitalism, 1865-1900 (original 2010; udgave 2011)

af H. W. Brands (Forfatter)

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
452543,128 (3.57)6
From bestselling historian H. W. Brands, a sweeping chronicle of how a few wealthy businessmen reshaped America from a land of small farmers and small businessmen into an industrial giant.
Titel:American Colossus: The Triumph of Capitalism, 1865-1900
Forfattere:H. W. Brands (Forfatter)
Info:Anchor (2011), Edition: Illustrated, 686 pages
Samlinger:Dit bibliotek

Work Information

American Colossus: The Triumph of Capitalism, 1865-1900 af H. W. Brands (2010)


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Viser 5 af 5
Brand is an excellent writer. He has excellent style and pacing. American Colossus is an enjoyable read.

However, he is a lefty with all that entails. Like most, he has a checklist of subjects to cover whether or not they are germane to the topic at hand. The topic is the Gilded Age and the author's belief that there exists a dichotomy between capitalism and democracy. His characters and setting were the Capitalist Revolution, the great capitalists, the political leaders, and the reactions for and against them. Brand's brief treatment of gays didn't even bother linking to the overall subject in any way. The decline of the African-American status after Reconstruction was tenuously linked to the greater capitalist changes, mostly through the person of Booker T. Washington. Outside the Washington link, the other stories were not conducive to the subject matter or forwarding the narrative. I do feel he could have come at this from a different angle or different treatment and made their inclusion into the narrative more relevant, but that he didn't do so is a strike. If you're going to include it, do it right. The changes in the status of women were included in the general narrative by and large and not in asides or subsections like the gays and African Americans. It is evident that this information was more pertinent than the others and therefore more successfully included.

Finally, the author states from the beginning that democracy and capitalism are at odds at the most fundamental level and therefore contradictory. He states this as a fact and not as a belief. I do not share this belief, but I find it refreshing that it was stated in a straightforward manner. As Brand goes through his narrative every so often he has to circle back and attempt to tie his thesis in with the events. I did not find those attempts successful. Most seemed "bolted on." You can see the seams.

I appreciated that he didn't paint caricatures. Rockefeller, Carnegie, Morgan, Grant, Roosevelt, etc. were treated as well-rounded human beings with complex motives. Regardless of how one views them, they DID contribute greatly to America and the world at large.

As a layman's narrative, I believe this is a good introduction to the Gilded Age. ( )
  Hae-Yu | Jun 4, 2016 |
For almost a decade now, one of my father's hobbies has been restoring pocket watches used on the American railroad in the late eighteen hundreds. Understandably, he's learned more about the history of that era. A while back he mentioned to me that railroads had invented standardized time zones. This was fascinating to me.

For as long as I can remember, I've liked trains. Not riding on new trains [I don't particularly like public transportation]. But learning about old trains.

I asked my dad about a book recommendation about robber barons and the railroad, but he didn't have much for me. So I started doing my own research.

Donald Drumpf is running for president right now. "Make America Great Again" is his slogan. Many people ask, "but when was that?" It's quite clear to me: he's referring to the Gilded Age of the United States, the late 1800s. It was a terrible era, but it was also great.

Silicon Valley these days is the epitome of wealth inequality. Some have been drawing parallels between today's era and that of the Gilded Age. I could get behind such a claim.

I came across this book, by renown historian H. W. Brands. Some reviewers though it didn't have a coherent enough centerline, instead falling back on the cliché "Democracy vs. Capitalism." Yes, the book has a ton in it, but we're talking about an era here, not a piece of fiction. A plot line that's too easy to follow would be an oversimplification.

I absolutely loved the book. It tells story after story, each one as interesting as the next.

Did you know that we had a trans-Atlantic cable line before we had a transcontinental railroad? Or did you know that New York invented the apartment building during this era? Or that Chicago invented the sky scraper? Little tidbits like this are endless.

I found the story of our treatment of blacks and Native Americans particularly riveting [if revolting]. Why did we free the blacks from slavery while slaughtering the remaining Native Americans? Because blacks were the single most valuable asset of the South. And the Union wanted to prevent the South from succession, both during the Civil War, and anytime thereafter. What's the best way to do that? Make them economically incapable of war. If you doubt that the sentiment could be this barbaric, consider this: Civil War leaders openly stated that they didn't think much of blacks, and once the war was completed, went right on to go killing Native Americans.

Who were the big names of the era? John D. Rockefeller [oil], Andrew Carnegie [steel], and J. P. Morgan [finance] and the ones that stick with me. ( )
  willszal | Mar 11, 2016 |
Read several weeks ago; it had to be "returned" before I was finished, and it wasn't available to be checked out again. :(

Less of a coherent narrative than a series of historical vignettes, taking aspects of American life in the late 19th century and examining them through a lens of the growth of modern capitalism. Most interesting to me were the chapters that looked at areas that aren't normally associated with big business: cowboys and Indians (so to speak) were particularly intriguing.

I was somewhat disappointed by the disjointed nature of the book, but once I accepted that, I enjoyed it, and I'd like to read this again. ( )
2 stem epersonae | Mar 30, 2013 |
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book every chapter read like an essay, easy to follow and understand, and it keeps your attention. If you are a student of American History you should read American Colossus. ( )
1 stem Philip100 | Dec 3, 2012 |
This book was a history of capitalism in its early heyday. It covers the moguls and politicians who profited and the masses who didn't. I found it interesting in that it included the history of the gold rush, the demise of the Indians, cowboys, immigrant tenets, homesteaders, as well as factories and laborers. Often the stories were told, in part, by introducing an individual. I found it an enjoyable history ( )
1 stem snash | Jan 31, 2011 |
Viser 5 af 5
The nature of both ruin and success is the subject of "American Colossus," H.W. Brands's account of, as the subtitle has it, "The Triumph of Capitalism" during the period 1865-1900. Mr. Brands paints a vivid portrait of both this understudied age and those industrialists still introduced by high-school teachers as "robber barons"—Vanderbilt, Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller and J.P. Morgan.
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(Prologue) John Pierpont Morgan enjoyed an excellent Civil War.
The capitalist revolution was a matter of technique and technology.
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From bestselling historian H. W. Brands, a sweeping chronicle of how a few wealthy businessmen reshaped America from a land of small farmers and small businessmen into an industrial giant.

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