In his marvelous business biography of Charles Schwab, Kenneth Warren demonstrates yet again his talents as a historian of industrial America. Warren's portrait of Schwab is beautifully written, superbly documented, and filled with insights. It is the perfect complement to his earlier and equally superb biography of Henry Frick.
Charles Schwab was known to his employees, business associates, and competitors as a congenial and charismatic person-a 'born salesman.' Yet Schwab was much more than a salesman-he was a captain of industry, a man who streamlined and economized the production of steel and ran the largest steelmaking conglomerate in the world. A self-made man, he became one of the wealthiest Americans during the Gilded Age, only to die penniless in 1939. Schwab began his career as a stake driver at Andrew Carnegie's Edgar Thomson steel works in Pittsburgh at the age of seventeen. By thirty-five, he was president of Carnegie Steel. In 1901, he helped form the U.S. Steel Corporation, a company that produced well over half the nation's iron and steel. In 1904, Schwab left U.S. Steel to head Bethlehem Steel, which after twelve years under his leadership, became the second-largest steel producer in America. President Woodrow Wilson called on Schwab to head the Emergency Fleet Corporation to produce merchant ships for the transport of troops and materials abroad during World War I. Kenneth Warren presents a compelling biography that chronicles the startling success of Schwab's business career, his leadership abilities, and his drive to advance steel-making technology and operations. Through extensive research and use of previously unpublished archival documentation, Warren offers a new perspective on the life of a monumental figure–a true visionary–in the industrial history of America.
Homestead 1892, Carnegie Steel 1897, U.S. Steel 1901, the Emergency Fleet Corporation 1918, the American Iron and Steel Institute 1927-in Industrial Genius, Kenneth Warren does justice to Charles Schwab, the ultimate inside man.
A fascinating portrait of Schwab as the consummate business manager, chief executive, and industry 'salesman.' Warren effectively cuts through the historical mythology surrounding Schwab's larger-than-life persona to reveal a man ruthlessly devoted to efficiency and technological innovation. This study offers valuable insights into industrial practices within the American steel industry. Warren gives Schwab his due, but more importantly, he addresses the broader consequences of Schwab's innovative life.
Warren, one of the best historians of the American steel industry, has used these newly available papers to craft the fullest, most balanced account of Schwab's professional life to date, while offering new details of how Bethlehem Steel became the great business enterprise it was for the first seventy-five years of the twentieth century.
Kenneth Warren is revolutionizing scholarship on the American steel industry.
Kenneth Warren was Emeritus Fellow of Jesus College, University of Oxford, and the author of numerous books, including Big Steel: The First Century of the United States Steel Corporation 1901–2001; Wealth, Waste, and Alienation: Growth and Decline in the Connellsville Coke Industry; and Bethlehem Steel: Builder and Arsenal of America.