Dean Hacker has produced a major work on the robber baron era in American history, comparable to Allen Nevins' fashionably revisionist study of John D. Rockefeller, but more ambitious in scope. Carnegie is used to illustrate the entrepreneurial initiative and innovation which transformed the U.S. and to explore the values which sanctioned private capital accumulation and private decision-making on matters with immense public consequences. Hacker's model is less economic than institutional. He maintains that cultural assumptions and mores influenced the upswing of modern capitalism, not vice versa. As a challenge to the historical interpretations of McCloskey, Kolko and Williams, it lacks their conceptual prowess; but its reference value is considerable and, like Hacker's controversial biography of Alexander Hamilton, it will fructify scholarly debate.