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A very interesting tale of two men who undoubtedly changed the economic and industrial landscape of the U.S. Nobody could ever accuse Frick or Carnegie of being wonderful employers as the their main interest was cutting labour costs as much as possible. I knew very little about the rise of the steel industry in the U.S. so I really enjoyed learning about it.
A real insight how someone so poor became so rich. It can be done!!!! A very informing story about the steel business which we mostly take for granted to-day. Kudos to those who made progress give us what we have to-day and also made them rich at the same time/ I loved this book, I have a very curious mind and books like this make for great reading. I think we should all read about what makes this world great to-day in advancement and the courage of those who had the initiative and the forbearance to do so. Well written and congratulations on the excellent research.
a very enlightening book. It illustrates the way workers and their Unions were viewed then and how little things have changed.The rag to riches stories of two captains of industry that became infamous as Union busters and two of the richest men in the world.
Frick is a new name and person revealed to me because of the book, and Carnegie is revealed as a human being with bi-polar tendencies(figuratively) when he can pretend caring for the thousands of employees within his steelmaking empire, able to salve his conscience by philanthropy - buying his way into heaven.
"Meet You In Hell" tells the fascinating stories of Steel King Andrew Carnegie and Coke King Henry Clay Frick and their interactions which shaped much of American Industrial history. It begins with sections on their personal and business backgrounds. It explains how their careers became intertwined as Frick's coke company became a primary supplier to Carnegie Steel. The breaking point of their relationship was the riot at the Homestead Mill, which was opposed by Frick while Carnegie remained in Scotland. Thereafter they became bitter rivals to their deaths.
As readers of my Amazon reviews are aware, I am an avid reader of history. This, while being history, is neither political nor military and, thereby, provides a different insight into forces which molded our nation.
Two ways that I evaluate books is by whether they teach me things that I did not know or if they do whet my appetite to read more on the subject. "Meet You In Hell" scores well on both tests. I was aware that Pinkerton agents were often used by management in labor disputes. The narrative dealing with the Battle of Homestead illustrates just how violent those disputes were. I had often seen Carnegie Libraries, but I did not realize that he was so resented among the laboring classes. After reading this I cannot wait until I can read another book on Industrial History. Any book that can ace both of these tests merits high marks.
Pleasant racy, journalistic style, worth the read. Carnegie rather the better of the 2 men, at least he wanted to atone for his riches by building libraries all over the place. Frick had few qualms about his ruthless business methods and the legacy he wished to leave was his collection of artworks. Motives and characters of these men quite vividly explored.
Reviewed in the United States on September 16, 2017
Two titans, two friends, two philathropists, two businessmen and (ultimately) two foes who exhibit steely resolve at every turn of the page. While the beginning of the book dragged a bit for me, by the last chapter I fully appreciated the painstaking thoroughness of the author to properly set the stage for all that was to come. Lessons, achievements, regrets and legendary legacies are packed between this book's two "covers" (I read the Kindle version)… Loved it!
This was an excellent, well researched history of the relationship between Carnegie and Frick and the history of the steel industry in this country. I learned so much about the Homestead strike and about Carnegie's complex personality. - the man who claimed that laborers were equal to their managers yet condoned the Homestead strike turning against the workers upon whose backs he became wealthy. I live in Pittsburgh and have heard it said that Carnegie's philanthropy was his way of buying his way into heaven but never understood it as clearly as I did after reading this book. Frick, on the other hand, was anti-labor and anti-union from the beginning.
I loved this book and believe that this is an excellent way to learn history. It is interesting to compare the society of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century with the United States today with corporate America becoming wealthy beyond our wildest imaginations at the expense of laborers who are poorly paid and told that they are fungible despite their skills or their loyalty to the company.
I'm a Pittsburgh native and so this book was so engrossing for many reasons. I remember the stench, filth, and fascination of the steel mills. I have also read a lot on the Johnstown flood. I was curious to learn if these men felt any responsibility for the flood disaster. I was generally interested in their competitive and unique partnership. The book was recommended to me and it didnt disappoint. Very fascinating and a quick read. I was completely drawn in and immersed in the book. I would definitely read more and found the effective use of the press and their comments to sway the public to their side so similar to how things go these days. Super good read
Reviewed in the United States on December 27, 2016
I had to read this for a history class, and I really enjoyed it! The story of Carnegie and Clay isn't often addressed in history classes, but reading about their friendship, fued, and how they changed America gave me a lot of insight into the history and events of the time. Meet you in Hell connected a lot of dots for me, that I didn't have much interest in researching myself, but I'm especially glad I know about now.
Having grown up in families of steel workers and coal miners, I certainly could identify with events related in this book. It was rather exciting to read how close to the soul the Homestead strike had fallen for me. Living close to Johnstown, Pennsylvania and attending the University of Pittsburgh has given me a unique perspective as I read about the relationship of Andrew Carnegie and Henry Clay Frick & how they built an empire of coke and steel that will never be seen again. I can now have a better understanding of the ire raised when mentioning these two names among blue collar workers of the steel union. I only wish I could have read of this epic story earlier in my life. I truly enjoyed every page.
Insights into the operating practices of " big steel " at the end of the 19th century and into the 20th. Unique because Carnegie and Frick had a passive aggressive relationship that benefited both men, men who had different approaches to the use of power held by Capitalist business men during the era of the robber barons. Therefore, the story unfolds in a series of conflicts between the two men while the same time they must deal with the outside conflict of Labor agitation and the Homestead Strike. A very good book.
I'm a HUGE fan of Henry Clay Frick and, because of Napoleon Hill, also of Carnegie. Enthralled by this book so far. PS - If you want to deeply understand Frick, plan to spend 4-5 hours at The Frick Collection in New York and carefully observe the theme of the majority of the paintings he collected. Some were obviously bought as investments, but I believe there are some he bought for his soul, perhaps to commemorate his deceased daughter.
As a disproportionate fan of the Gilded Age, this book is right up my...promenade.
A well researched and written book about events and decisions in a period of US history that shaped labor relations for decades to come. As with any good history, it does not judge actions by today's standards but by the standards of the time. Even though we know how the story ends, its in-depth examination of the motivations of two important men makes this a real page-turner. Why not five stars? I believe Standiford probably had more details on some aspects that his editor decided to cut for the sake of mass market readibility. I'd like to see an "author's cut" of this book.
5.0 out of 5 starsThis book is particularly good at highlighting the contradictions in Andrew Carnegie's character and ...
Reviewed in the United States on December 9, 2016
I grew up in Pittsburgh during its last decades as the nation's foremost steel city, so I've always found accounts of both the rise and fall of the steel industry fascinating. This book is particularly good at highlighting the contradictions in Andrew Carnegie's character and his sizable capacity for hypocrisy and self-delusion.
This was a well-written book on two large characters on the stage during the building out of the railroads - and the building of the United States - late 19th and early 20th century. Carnegie and Frick came from similar humble backgrounds and amassed great fortunes from steel and coke. The author treats the events and characters evenly, with granularity, especially in the famous incident at Homestead. These two left legacies that can still be found in many cities, and they made remarkable contributions to New York.
4.0 out of 5 starsA good book? Yes. A Clash of Titans? Sort of.
Reviewed in the United States on October 18, 2005
We live in a time where it's hard to comprehend the wealth, power, and influence wielded by men like Carnegie, Rockefeller, J.P. Morgan, and Vanderbilt. Folks like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett carry only a whisper of the Goliath stature that was attained by a select few in the 1800s.
"Meet You in Hell" is Les Standiford's telling of the story of the rise and fall of a relationship between two such men, Andrew Carnegie and Henry Clay Frick. Frick, the lesser known of the two, created an empire of his own in coke production (the steel-making input, not the soda or the drug) before being swallowed up by Carnegie Steel and agreeing to run that entire operation for Carnegie.
Carnegie was a man accustomed to getting his own way, but his new employee Frick possessed his own ideas on how a company should be run. The differences between the two surfaced occassionally early in their relationship, and were tested further by the Homestead Mill strike in 1890s which ended in the deaths of many strikers and Pinkerton detectives.
This conflict is the true focus of this book, but interestingly doesn't come across as the watershed in the relationship between Carnegie and Frick that Standiford really wants it to be for the sake of his book. That honor comes later, when Frick tries to trick Carnegie into selling his company to a secret group of speculators with a terrible reputation on Wall Street.
This book is still quite an interesting story about the Homestead strike, labor relations in the industrial age, and the realtionship between two titans of industry, but the stories don't mesh the way Standiford sets you up to believe they will. That doesn't hurt this book much - it's still well worth reading - but it's interesting that Standiford stuck with this central premise long after his research and even his own writing showed that it had fallen apart.
Flawed, but certainly not fatally so. Still recommended for its history of labor relations, the relationship between Carnegie and Frick, and the US steel industry. An engaging and informative read.