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Steel King and Friend to Libraries

by Zachary Kent

Age Range: 11 - 13

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-7660-1212-3
Publisher: Enslow

This latest addition in the Historical American Biographies series is a well-written and balanced biography of a poor Scottish immigrant who came to America at the age of 13 and immediately began work in a cotton mill and bobbin factory with his father. A small, energetic, honest worker, he seized opportunities to forward his career. At age 15 he began as a telegraph operator, then worked for the Pennsylvania Railroad, and finally formed Carnegie Steel, the largest steel company in the world. At age 20, following the death of his father, Carnegie became the sole supporter of his family. Kent (The Civil War, 1997, etc.) details how Carnegie’s real interest later in life became the “business of giving”; he believed that “the man who dies . . . rich dies disgraced.” Librarians know his story well, but students will be astonished by the amount of money he gave and the number of libraries he built. Well-researched and often illuminating. (b&w photos, not seen, maps, chronology, notes, glossary, further reading, index) (Biography. 11-13)