Reading Note:
16 October 2018

ΒΆ Farewell to Matthew Josephson, the final chapter of whose Robber Barons I found immensely exciting, even though I’d read about the events recounted therein at least twice before. Josephson doesn’t admire any of the plutocrats he writes about, certainly not JP Morgan, who imposed law and order on the chaos of development that followed the Civil War, but at the cost of healthy competition, exposing the economy to the follies that led to the Crash. Nevertheless the reader will probably root for Morgan during the final battle for control of the Northern Pacific Railroad.

I’ve already written about Josephson’s sparkling prose. All I want to do here is to add another example. Josephson is writing about the speech that Charles Schwab gave at a large dinner party in December 1900. (It precipitated the organization of US Steel.) 

A born actor, an emotional and imaginative after-dinner speaker, using a plain, hearty, workaday charm with real disingenuousness, Schwab played his part to perfection. (424)

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