“Yes, you can tell Carnegie I’ll meet him,” Frick said finally, wadding the letter and tossing it back at Bridge. “Tell him I’ll see him in Hell, where we both are going.”
Before Andrew Carnegie was known as the hero of public libraries, having funded the construction of over 1,500 libraries in the U.S., he was a ruthless steel baron, strikebreaker, and all-around unlikeable guy. Carnegie’s longtime business partner, Henry Clay Frick, an equally merciless businessman, has also since redeemed his reputation as the namesake and benefactor of (among other philanthropic endeavors) the Frick Art Reference Library in New York. Meet You in Hell tells the dramatic story of their business relationship, their personal lives, the steel industry in the late 19th century, and the building of America.
The book centers on the pivotal Battle of Homestead, a steel worker strike in 1892 that defined labor relations in the steel industry for the next 50 years and was the primary cause of the later vicious hatred between Carnegie and Frick. Les Standiford does an excellent job of making this history book read like suspenseful fiction – but without footnotes (my only complaint) you just have to believe he didn’t make this stuff up. Consistently referring to correspondence, business records, newspaper reports, oral histories, and memoirs, Standiford gives credible historical context to the drama. He fills in the details with lines like: “…they got the news from an exhausted but wild-eyed worker who had just rowed himself across the quarter-mile-wide river from Rankin to the Union Hall in Homestead…” which makes it sound like he was standing on the banks of the river watching the action. A nice balance of intrigue and historical fact.
History comes alive in Meet You in Hell! And it’s coming to get you!
Check the BPL Catalog for this title: Meet You in Hell: Andrew Carnegie, Henry Clay Frick, and the Bitter Partnership that Transformed America