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American Steel

4.05  ·  Rating Details  ·  135 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
Acclaimed writer Richard Preston chronicles the nearly superhuman effort by the Nucor Corporation, America's ninth-largest steel company to build a revolutionary new steel plant from the ashes of the midwestern Rust Belt. Elegantly written and compulsively readable, American Steel has all the elements of a great novel: amazing characters, gripping suspense, towering machin ...more
Paperback, 278 pages
Published April 1st 2000 by Quill (first published 1991)
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Tony Noland
Aug 02, 2013 Tony Noland rated it liked it
The book is well written and engaging as it tells the story of how a steel company built a revolutionary new manufacturing plant in the middle of an Indiana cornfield. The narrative style is compelling and immediate, using a novelist's flair to make the people and events come alive. You really do come to care about the company and its David vs. Goliath quest to best the giants of the world steel industry at their own game.

However, it feels a little thin. There are long sections which are spent t
...more
bookreader
A parable of the 1980s American industrial renaissance that reads like a suspense novel, this is the story of how Nucor built the world's lowest-cost steel mill in an Indiana cornfield. An out-of-print business classic from a John McPhee disciple, hence the writing is superb and the technical explanations are clear & captivating.
Chris
Jul 21, 2008 Chris rated it really liked it
Wonderful look at the modern steel industry (as of the 1990s) by a writer not normally known for his industrial writing ... Preston is actually a scientific writer, who normally focuses on diseases and things like that, but turns out to be the perfect observer about the building of a new "mini-mill" in Indiana that threatens to directly compete with the large old-style steel mills in the Rust Belt. Very vivid descriptions, especially about the dangers of a mill, but also very strong personality ...more
Kerry Trombley
Mar 25, 2016 Kerry Trombley rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016
Loved the beginning. Loved the end. But it dragged in the middle with unimportant details in the middle...about people, places, and processes that jumped around a lot from one to another.

I really enjoyed reading about the analysis of Nucor's culture and how they were able to be lean and compete with big steel and grow into a mature and profitable company. Iverson identified talent, set bold goals, and allowed them to do their job without much management. I would have loved to see in the book mo
...more
Lamech Mariita
Jan 06, 2013 Lamech Mariita rated it really liked it
American Steel is a comeback story of the American Steel Industry. Nucor Corporation has a wild idea about building a plant in tiny Crawfordsville, Indiana, and beat Big Steel and Japan at the same time with non-union labor. They pulled off one of the greatest stories in industrial America. Though the writing style is fairly simple the story itself is fabulous and I wouldn't believe it if I didn't know it was true.
Beverly Hollandbeck
Sep 30, 2014 Beverly Hollandbeck rated it really liked it
This look at the steel industry was even more fascinating to me because I live in Indiana, where the steel mill is. No one could ever have persuaded me that a book about a mill could be interesting. I just read it because I know Preston to be an extraordinary non-fiction writer. Like a fiction writer, he provides a setting, characters, a great story line, and suspense.
Charles Robbins
Sep 17, 2012 Charles Robbins rated it it was amazing
Preston is a master -- as good as any creative nonfiction writer out there. This book, when excerpted in the New Yorker, rightly drew massive buzz. My college roommate still gives copies to his investment banking staffers.
Julian
May 22, 2008 Julian rated it liked it
Recommends it for: High School kids
Like any Richard Preston book, this book is strong in all senses and should be read by the older hand of life. However, for people like me, I can't resist...
Mark
Nov 30, 2009 Mark rated it it was amazing
Even if you've never even thought about where steel comes from, reading this gripping story is an unforgettable experience.
Todd
May 08, 2009 Todd rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 100-best
This book was included in my book: The 100 Best Business Books of All Time. www.100bestbiz.com
Mara
Apr 16, 2007 Mara rated it it was amazing
Innovative industrialist inspires!
Nikki
Aug 21, 2012 Nikki added it
Shelves: preston-richard
didn't like it at all
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Richard Preston is a journalist and nonfiction writer.

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