I have read about many great people who had many great gifts including courage, vision, and persistence among others. Evelyn Nesbit had however, whatI have read about many great people who had many great gifts including courage, vision, and persistence among others. Evelyn Nesbit had however, what I consider, a rare quality. The quality is: being seen almost universally as beautiful. This is an attribute that I believe most people would love to have. But being so beautiful is not always a blessing as Evelyn Nesbit would discover.
Evelyn had a normal early child hood in the suburbs of Pittsburgh. She evidently had a wonderful father who was making every effort to see that his daughter receive a college education. However when he unexpectedly died, Evelyn’s family plunged into poverty. So when a painter saw Evelyn’s stunning teenage face he offered money to paint a portrait. Evelyn’s mother readily agreed. As Evelyn’s name caught on more painters and photographers would paint or photograph her for a small fee.
Evelyn’s mother knew that more money could be made in a larger city. So she packs up the family and moves to Philadelphia. Evelyn finds more modeling work there. Her mother realizes that there was more opportunities in New York City. So she obtains references for a New York photographer and they go off to New York.
Evelyn finds lots of work there. She eventually winds up in stage plays. When the famous architect Stanford White discovers her he becomes enthralled with her beautiful face. The clever and devious White embraces the poor Nesbit family. He sets them up in nice apartment and lavishes them with food and presents. He also pays for her brother to go to college. He would act fatherly (he was 48, she was 15), for what seems, for months. He ensured Evelyn and her mother were well fed and would take care of any problem either of them came across. This enabled both Evelyn and her mother to learn to like and trust him. All the while though Stanford White was married and was seducing other very young underage actresses. But with their trust he develops a devious plan. He talks Evelyn’s mother into taking a vacation back to Pittsburgh paying the bill and leaving Evelyn in his care.
He then takes Evelyn to a lavish hotel room, gets her drunk and rapes her. The author states all along that Stanford White was a known molester of young teenage girls. He then proceeds to threaten the 15 year old Evelyn not to tell anyone. Evelyn obliges and, in my eyes, oddly starts treating him like a boyfriend.
Her life continues as she acts on stage and continues her relationship with Stanford White. Being the very busy man he was he was, he became absent from Evelyn for a few days. In steps a young 21 year old beau named John Barrymore. He was the son of a famous actor and he swept her off her feet. Her mother quickly ends this relationship by notifying Stanford White. White and Mrs. Nesbit plan to breakup the pair by shipping Evelyn to a school in New Jersey.
Then an odd twist occurs in Evelyn’s tough life. Evelyn was released from her New Jersey school when White and Mrs. Nesbit thought Barrymore had given up on her. Evelyn goes back to New York and starts to work again when a mega millionaire 32 year old comes into her life. His name was Harry Thaw. Harry was from a coke and steel business back in her home town surroundings of Pittsburgh. What we find out about him is almost as freakish as Stanford White’s string of pedophile seductions. But one of the bizarre things about him is that he hated Stanford White, even before he knew of Evelyn. White had somehow snubbed Thaw at a party while Thaw was visiting New York. This may have been the reason behind his hatred.
Thaw continues to pursue Evelyn and his persistence eventually led to Evelyn’s acceptance of him. He was close enough to her that when she got sick, Thaw paid for her hospitalization and medical care. He then convinces her mother that a cruise on a ship followed by a European vacation would do wonders for Evelyn’s recovery. Thaw would pay for it and sail in a separate ship. He meets them in Europe and plans their itinerary. Using a clever ploy he moves Evelyn and her mother to different European cities. But in each city he would make Evelyn and her mother switch hotels multiple times. This drove Mrs Nesbit crazy leading to her demand to be sent home, just as Thaw likely hoped. The good natured happy-go-lucky Evelyn wanted to stay. His plan worked perfectly.
Now that he has Evelyn alone, his plan is executed. He rents a castle in a remote part of the Alps; he dismisses the two assigned servants and takes Evelyn there. One night when after Evelyn went to bed, Thaw walks in, beats and rapes her. This is the second time in her young life that she has to endure such harsh brutality. But in a somewhat characteristic manner she forgives him and enjoys his company throughout the rest of their vacation.
In the meantime, Evelyn’s irate mother gets back to New York and reports to White that Thaw has kidnapped Evelyn. White proceeds to get all the details. When Evelyn returns to New York White shows up at the Nesbit apartment and demands that Evelyn see his lawyer. The lawyer interrogates her and records the whole castle incident. He gives it to White. White does nothing with the evidence because he was fearful that his pedophilic life would be exposed if he did.
Evelyn however still kept seeing Harry Thaw. When she turned 18, he proposes. She accepts. They marry in Pittsburgh and live at the Thaw mansion with Harry’s mother. Harry seemed like a decent husband while there but after a while his anger at White flared up.
He decides to take Evelyn on another European vacation. They would go to New York for a short stay and then board a ship bound to Europe. Harry takes Evelyn out while in NYC. What is odd is that he takes her to a restaurant designed and often frequented by his pedophile nemesis Stanford White. White shows up there but leaves before Harry notices. Evelyn was pleased. However when Harry takes Evelyn to the Madison Square Garden Restaurant, Harry spots Stanford at a table sitting with his son. Harry then excuses himself, sneaks off to Stanford White’s table and shoots him.
Harry is arrested and the book describes a very detailed circus over the trial. It was in every newspaper. People could not bear to not know what was going on with it. It was known as the trial of the century up until the Fatty Arbuckle trial. Harry considered himself a “savior” of young women. Harry’s mother hires a very capable lawyer from San Francisco after the original lawyer failed. This lawyer goes for the temporary insanity plea. As part of his plan, he makes Evelyn describe her brutal rape by Stanford White on the jury stand. It worked. He was able to obtain a hung jury with this strategy. Harry would be charged with temporary insanity in a later trial.
Evelyn divorced Harry and led interesting life afterwards. She would marry and divorce again. She would party with popular prizefighters. She became an alcoholic and drug addict. She would improve her life though. She wrote two memoirs and became an advisor in the movie based upon her life “The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing.” She retired quietly teaching ceramics. She lived to the age of 82 and after a very tough life she survived and that’s what counts!
What a story this book tells. The struggles of the coal miners in America, the formation of unions, the power of the big bankers like JP Morgan, and hWhat a story this book tells. The struggles of the coal miners in America, the formation of unions, the power of the big bankers like JP Morgan, and how and why oil overtook coal's place as America's top resource. It also gives a real good look into the beginings of the industrial age....more
If you know nothing about health this book is great. If you know something about health this book is still pretty good. Even if you know a lot about hIf you know nothing about health this book is great. If you know something about health this book is still pretty good. Even if you know a lot about health there is still some good information in this book.
I will just point out the most intriguing information that Marilu Henner provides. It is called food combining. Under her theory improper food combining will lead to weight gain. The rules to food combining are as follows:
Never combine starches with proteins Never combine fruit with vegetables
This is a little tricky to follow however because you should eat vegetables with these meals. And some vegetables, like potatoes, are starches.
Marilu details her daily meals. She eats fruit for breakfast, proteins for lunch and starches for dinner.
She is a vegetarian and does not eat dairy. If you follow her complete regimen in this book you will certainly lead a more healthy lifestyle. ...more
This book can be a little dry unless you have a unique interest in how to dig the U.S. out of the 2011 recession and make it into the economic giant iThis book can be a little dry unless you have a unique interest in how to dig the U.S. out of the 2011 recession and make it into the economic giant it once was. The steps to do so seem easy to do accept for the fact that little of our political culture seem to understand economics. Members of the United States House of Representatives, Senate and the President himself should read this book.
The book was written by economist Art Laffer, Stephen Moore and Peter Tanous. Laffer is famous for creating the Laffer curve. The Laffer curve represents the rate of taxation at which maximum revenue to the federal government is generated.
The steps outlined are simple. First, a low capital gains tax should be implemented because by doing this more revenue will flow into the federal treasury. The logic is easy to understand. When the capital gains tax rate is high people hold on to their stocks, when it is low they tend to sell more creating more tax money in the process. The authors have a chart to demonstrate this.
Second, eliminate the estate tax. Successful families businesses have been destroyed by this tax. It is estimated that this tax creates only 1 to 2 percent of federal budget receipts. One study suggests that it actually costs more to administer than it collects in tax receipts.
Third, free trade is essential. Of course, the U.S. is the world’s largest consumer so we usual run a huge trade deficit. A lot of people think this is bad. Their study found the opposite. The higher the trade deficit grows the lower the unemployment rate we get. What seems to happen is that more goods we buy from a particular country the more likely they will invest in building factories in our country. Toyota manufactures 80% of their star car the Camry in the United States with two factories located in the U.S. This is a good example.
The final and main idea is for the implementation of a flat tax to replace the graduated income tax. The author calculates that the flat tax rate will be 12.1 % for personal income and 12.1% for business income. This would render enough money to run the federal government. It would eliminate the social security tax, corporate profit tax, estate tax and gift tax. It would allow very few deductions as well. This system would minimize tax evasion. It also pointed that many countries have implemented the flat tax and it revitalized their economies.
They would also like to see less regulation which hampers business. They are a little sparse with which regulations to eliminate but do emphasize that Hong Kong has little regulation is an enormously productive city. A good example though presented is that global warming regulations are crippling the economy. It is believed that the U.S west coast off shore area is the American Saudi Arabia of oil deposits. This region has been banned from drilling even before the global warming nonsense started by the U.S. congress in 1982. Of course, more oil would render cheaper energy which would help the economy tremendously.
The authors provide a lot of examples which justify their ideas. I have read Robert Reich’s book "Aftershock" and think it is good but the program laid out in this book should be adopted first. Even Robert Reich agrees that this book is “influential and important.”
This book gives a nice description of the great scientists from ancient to current times. Author John Farndon breaks down the scientists into time perThis book gives a nice description of the great scientists from ancient to current times. Author John Farndon breaks down the scientists into time periods. These periods include the ancients, middle ages, the Renaissance, the 17thC, 18C, 19thC and 20th C. So, I am going to just feature one scientist from each time period.
Archimedes (207-212 BC):
Archimedes greatest discovery was the principle of buoyancy. An object will float when its weight is exactly equal to the up thrust of the displaced water that it is put upon. Knowledge of this principle allowed shipbuilders to produce large ships.
He also devised a system which allows a person to create gigantic numbers by using exponents to raise the number to a power.
He furthermore worked out the volumes and areas of regular shapes such as spheres and cones.
The Middle Ages:
Al-Khwarizmi ( 786 -unknown )-
In attempt to improve calculations in regards to lawsuits, trade, digging canals and other human activity he created algebra.
He also authored a book on geography which improved on the accuracy of previous similar books.
Andreas Vesalius (1514-1564)-
Vesalius authored the book “Fabrica” which became the most important medical book of his age. It detailed the human skeleton, veins, the nervous system and the main body organs in such accurate detail that medical students were required to keep it at the dissecting table.
Anton von Leeuwenhoek (1632-1723)-
Leeuwenhoek made homemade microscopes but his most important contribution to science is that he discovered bacteria. From examining water from different sources he identified incredible tiny creatures scurrying about. What he saw are bacteria.
Carolus Linnaeus (1707-1778)-
Linnaeus discovered that plants reproduced with a sexual organ. In flowers, he called the stamen (where pollen is made) the bridegroom and the pistils (where seeds are made) the bride. This information became important to farmers because we now know that you need more than one plant on a lot of species to produce fruit. This is because one plant must pollinate the other.
He also developed a binomial system to name all the creatures he could find on earth.
Louis Pasteur (1822-1895)
Pasteur first discovered yeast by studying beer and wine as they age. With yeast he studied why food goes bad. And he determined it goes bad by exposure to microbes in ordinary air. He also noticed that when air is heated the microbes die and the food is preserved. He also discovered that microbes cause infection and disease. So by using sterilized bandages, which killed microbes, surgeries became much safer.
Max Plank (1858-1947)
Plank created Quantum Theory which stated that energy is released in tiny invisible chunks.
So, if you want to get a feel for the greatest scientists of history this is a good book to start with.
I usually prefer to read Presidential biographies to learn about the policies which shaped America’s great success (such as President Ronald Reagan’sI usually prefer to read Presidential biographies to learn about the policies which shaped America’s great success (such as President Ronald Reagan’s Cold War policy), hindered America (such as FDR’s New Deal), or left disappointing results (such as President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society Program). In “Which President Killed a Man?” I find none of this but still found interesting and fascinating information about the leaders of this great country.
Here are a few examples:
President James Garfield was able to write Greek with his right hand and Latin with his left hand while speaking German.
“The Star Spangled Banner” became our National Anthem in 1917 due to President Woodrow Wilson’s executive order.
President Calvin Coolidge would relax by translating Dante’s Inferno from Medieval Latin to English.
President George Washington has one state, seven mountains, eight streams, ten lakes, thirty-three counties, and one hundred twenty- one towns and villages named for him.
There are hundreds of more anecdotes in this book. ...more
The first part of “Red Hot Lies” is full of lists of scientists who disagree with global warming and are either blackballed, threatened or ignored byThe first part of “Red Hot Lies” is full of lists of scientists who disagree with global warming and are either blackballed, threatened or ignored by the science community. Many common sense scientists who found contrary data that discredits global warming received threatening e-mails and promotion rejections within their departments because of their findings. For example, NASA’s Joanne Simpson and a notable Portuguese environmental scientist only spoke out against global warming after their professional retirements. CO2 Science.org received threats after questioning a movie describing the “climate crisis.” The National Solar Observatory predicted that upcoming sunspot activity would reveal a downturn in temperatures. No Science literature would print their predictions.
Why would the Science community reject differing opinions? First, they are afraid of losing the $5 billion in federal funding that they are living off of. Second, Media outlets love global warming crisis coverage because people will read and watch it. Third, green business opportunities blossom by promoting Global warming. For example, nuclear energy revived itself on its clean energy production. American Heartland farmers suddenly found a cash cow in corn production due to corn’s capability to be turned into clean burning ethanol. Fourth, poor countries saw another way to drain money from rich countries. In fact, this was admitted to in a European Union Conference held by climate change experts.
Interspersed throughout are commonsense reasons to believe that the earth is not warming. The country of Greenland is a good example. The reason it is called Greenland is because 900 years ago it was flush with shrubbery. If it was so green 900 years ago then it must have been much warmer then. Also scattered are scientific studies that contradict the global warming claims. For example, the peer reviewed Journal of Geophysical research stated that the rate of warming was 50% greater between 1920-1930 than it was between 1995-2000.
Also trickery was discovered for global warming activists to make their point. For example Dr. Carl Wunsch stated that climate models are so complicated that slight variations in settings can make a normal outcome seem dramatic. When a meteorologist investigated the locations of the 1221 official surface stations he found thermometers placed in asphalt parking lots, one was found behind an air conditioner (which blows out hot air) and another behind a grill. It was also discovered since 1979 that the thermostat housing was painted with semi gloss paint. He also found that thermometers were located in cities rather than countryside. Cities are always hotter due to concrete sun absorption and release. By no means is the science settled in regards to man produced global warming. When affiliated scientists of the Intercontinental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) were polled 80% of them responded that man was not responsible for climate change. 60% stated that there is no such thing as an ideal climate. This is in direct contradiction to the organization’s opinions.
There is so much information on the climate gate shenanigans. It is an excellent book to read for those who still believe in the false science. If you always knew the “truth” it is alright but a little overdone.
The early 19th Century time was a fascinating time for American business. Before railroad transportation most businesses consisted of small shops and The early 19th Century time was a fascinating time for American business. Before railroad transportation most businesses consisted of small shops and farms. The primary means for shipping goods to far-away places was the use of rivers and oceans through shipping. The rights to shipping had dated back to the Revolutionary times when a family controlled water way rights and continued to do so up and until the mid 19th Century. One shipper spent his life attempting to break this monopoly. His name was Thomas Gibbons. Gibbons went to war over shipping rites with the Livingston’s monopoly over steamboat traffic in New York. The book details the difficult task of overturning a century’s worth of doing business.
Cornelius Vanderbilt was a little lucky because he landed a job as a young man on the steamship of Mr. Gibbons. Gibbons mentored Vanderbilt in the areas of shipping. Vanderbilt responded by spending endless hours mastering the art of directing a steamboat. As Gibbons spent his time wrestling with the legal system Vanderbilt took over the steamboat duties.
Gibbons case would make its way up to the Supreme Court where he would prevail. Gibbons vs. Ogden opened the way for free competition among steamboat operators. Soon after this Supreme Court monumental decision Gibbons dies. Vanderbilt takes over the business and devises ways of competing with the Livingston’s and other well established businesses.
He first looked for quicker ways to get passengers to desired destinations. He studied the boats design and engineered improvements. He also sought out more powerful engines. His most successful effort though was reducing ticket prices. He would lower the price setting off price wars and continue until his competitors could take no more. He would then offer them an option to pay him off to leave the area. He would take that money, buy more and better steamboats and move to another location. Then he would do the same trick.
He quickly learned how to manipulate the stock market before there were rules to regulate stock market improprieties. He would buy stock in rival steamboat companies until he had enough to take control. He would only do it to those he saw as potentially profitable. He had enemies just as good at stock manipulation but he somehow always knew how to outsmart them.
When gold was discovered in California in 1849 Vanderbilt quickly rose to take advantage. East coasters looking to go to California to make their fortune had to take a steamboat to Panama. At Panama they had to travel over land and then take another steamboat to California. Vanderbilt envisioned another quicker route and came up with one through Nicaragua and named it the Accessory Transit.
The author then ventures into the odd story of William Walker. Walker was a private American citizen who led invasions of foreign countries attempting to make them a state of America, much like Texas has done. He jumped into Nicaragua’s Civil War and led his side to victory. He became Nicaragua’s Governor. He then abolished Vanderbilt’s Accessory Transit. He did not realize what a mistake this would be because he offended Vanderbilt. Vanderbilt made an alliance with neighboring Costa Rica and funded an invasion of Nicaragua which disposed Walker.
Another odd story revolves around America’s Civil War. The U.S. government asked Vanderbilt to provide his greatest steamship which he named after himself. It was equipped to battle and destroy the Confederates most devastating ocean vessel- the Merrimack. He actually meets with President Lincoln. The author surmises that Vanderbilt was uncomfortable in this meeting because Lincoln was one of the very few men that Vanderbilt was not taller than.
The Railroad replaced the steamboat as the dominant means of transportation in the 1860’s. As the transportation went so went Vanderbilt. He saw the struggling to make a profit New York and Harlem Railroad and bought it. He recognized that it was a potential money maker because it was the only train in a bustling Manhattan. At the time four huge railroads controlled all the traffic between the West and the Atlantic Ocean. Of those Vanderbilt owned the New York Central and Hudson. He made them the most profitable of the giants through quick transportation, low rates and upscale improvements. He then continued to buy up railroads, as he had done with steamboats, by buying up stock in a particular company until he could control it.
In 1869, Vanderbilt builds the continents largest railroad station –the Grand Central Depot on New York’s 42nd street. The Depot turned that area of the city into a major economic center as businesses sprouted up around it.
He had many children, too many to keep tabs on. His son Corneil did not live up to his fathers expectations. He became a big time gambler that Vanderbilt refused to bail out many times. Corneil though would use his father’s name to befriend other prominent and wealthy people who eagerly would lend Corneil money in hopes of garnering a relationship with his father. One such person was Horace Greeley, the founder of the New York Tribune.
Vanderbilt seemed to prefer the use of his son-in-laws to run various parts of his organization. For example, his daughter Sophia married Daniel Torrance whom Vanderbilt placed as head of the New York Central Railroad. He did however turn his enormous empire over to his eldest son William.
When he died in 1877 he left William a $95 million dollar inheritance. He was viewed in the Church of the Strangers on Mercer Street and buried at the Moravian Cemetery on Staten Island.
Cornelius Vanderbilt was a hard working smart individual who became America’s original Tycoon and helped turn New York City into one of the World’s greatest cities.
I find it difficult to write a review which lists the 101 most sadistic, megalomaniac and brutal people who walked the face of the earth. The book staI find it difficult to write a review which lists the 101 most sadistic, megalomaniac and brutal people who walked the face of the earth. The book starts from ancient times and continues straight through modern time. So, I am just going to feature a few of the more interesting and add a bit of the very informative extra’s the author gives us.
The most brilliant:
Hassan-i-Sabbah. Hasson created a group called “hashishim’” to kill Sunni’s and enemies of Islam in the mountains of modern day Iran. To gain loyal followers he invented the most ingenious method. He constructed a luscious garden palace filled it with honey, wine and beautiful Persian women. He would then travel, befriend and drug (most likely with Hashish) unsuspecting men. When they passed out he would drag them to his gardens. When they awoke they were treated to all the amenities of the garden. After a day of pleasure induction they were drugged again. Then they were taken to Hassin’s Castle. When they awoke at the Hassin’s castle, Hassin would gain their allegiance by offering them entry to gardens only if they obeyed his wishes. This trick worked like a charm. He successfully ordered numerous murders and his followers were responsible for coining the moniker “assassin.”
The most cartoonish name:
Basil the Bulgar Slayer
Basil, Byzantine emperor, was anything but cartoonish however. After defeating the Bulgarians in the year 1014, he lined up the prisoners and had them blinded, leaving one eye per 100 men so they could be led home.
Shaka, Zulu king 1781-1828, who on learning of his mother’s death had 7000 of his own tribesmen, including pregnant women and children, slaughtered.
The most dashing:
Enver Hoxha. He was a tall, smiling well dressed Albanian ruler from 1944 to 1985 who used his secret police to torture more than 100,000 citizens and imprison 1 million more.
20th Century massacre:
The Tolat Pasha, Ottoman, sultan ordered the execution of 250 Armenians in 1915.
Some of the additional information is fascinating:
1. Strange Royal Deaths
a. Herod Agrippa of Judea who was consumed by worms in AD 44. b. Alexander III of Scotland rode off a cliff when rushing home in 1286. c. Nanda Bayin of Burma laughed herself to death in 1599.
2. Kings who died in Battle
a. Saul, the first king of Israel, died in the Battle of Mount Gilboa. b. Valens, Roman Emperor, killed in battle with the Goths in 378. c. Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden killed at the Battle of Lutzen.
3. Royal Epithets
a. Those entitled “The Great” include Herod (Jerusalem), Alexander (Macedonia), Peter and Catherine (Russia), Frederick (Germany). b. Odd names include Ethelred the Unready of England (968-1016); Boleslaw the Curly of Poland (1120-1173); Henry the Fowler of Germany (876-936); Bayezid the Thunderbolt Ottoman sultan (1360-1403); Ivan the Moneybag of Russia 1288-1340.
4. Conspiracy Theories
a. The Protocols of the Elders of Zion which the Jewish attempt to conquer the world was actually a forged document from a fiction novel. However, it is the main source used to justify anti-Semitism.
You would think that by the last half of the 20th Century oppression by rulers would have subsided but that does not seem to be the case. I feel very fortunate living in the USA because we own none of the 101 History Monsters. ...more
Some historians consider FDR the greatest president. Others have him rated in the top three. They must be smoking dope. A 20% unemployment rate afterSome historians consider FDR the greatest president. Others have him rated in the top three. They must be smoking dope. A 20% unemployment rate after 8 years as president makes you a great one?
FDR was smart though, however he spent like a drunken sailor. He would funnel money into sectors of large areas of large states to democratic cronies. These guys would dole out jobs in exchange for votes for themselves and FDR. He employed this tactic just enough in various states to ensure that each particular state which received federal money voted for him in the next election. Then he would collect the benefit of their Electoral College vote at Election Day.
The uncontrollable Federal debt of the United States is one of FDR's greatest accomplishments.
In fact FDR’s Treasury Secretary and personal friend painstakingly admitted the following “We have tried spending money. We are spending more money than we have ever spent before and it does not work. And I have just none interest, and if I am wrong . . . somebody else can have my job. I want to see this country prosperous. I want to see people get a job; I want to see people get enough to eat. We have never made good on our promises. . . . I say after eight years of this administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started . . . . And an enormous debt to boot!”
He would also punish fellow democratic congressmen if they did not support his agenda. He would turn on them by supporting rivals for congressional leadership roles, by cajoling congressmen into supporting his choice for congressional leadership positions and various other means.
The 22nd Amendment (which limits the president's term to two) was established because of FDR's extreme use of power for personal accomplishment. Just think about how many Presidents have lost elections after their first term because of a bad economy. Jimmie Carter and George Bush I (the first) come to mind. In fact, I would bet that if Herbert Hoover were reelected he would of ended the great depression quicker than FDR. This is because they couldn’t or wouldn’t use devious election tactics. Just imagine what the country looked like after 8 years of FDR’s reign and imagine giving Jimmie Carter or George Bush 12 years to straighten out their bad economies. ...more
A well documented biography of one of the world’s greatest and wealthiest businessmen, John D. Rockefeller and family. It was published in 1965 when aA well documented biography of one of the world’s greatest and wealthiest businessmen, John D. Rockefeller and family. It was published in 1965 when a lot of the Rockefeller wealth was more concentrated than it is today. Rockefeller makes his money through oil refining. It is shows how people make money by using an offshoot of the main industry. While others drilled he refined it and earned more money doing it. Bill Gates would do the same thing decades later by developing software for the main product -computers. Rockefeller would however move into drilling and transportation. He negotiated cheap rates with the powerful railroads while shutting out competitors to the rails.
A competitor developed a workable pipeline, to avoid Rockefeller’s standard oil rail road transportation monopoly, to transport oil to available markets. Rockefeller’s men bought up land in advance of the pipeline so it could not be completed. This was ruthless monopolization but his company bought out many small businesses that could not have made it on their own anyway.
He had a keen eye for hiring talented people and was a cheapskate in business related expenses but generous in non business related activities. He regularly attended church services and would gives coins to children.
What is strikingly pointed out in this book is the amount the family poured into philanthropy operations with its Rockefeller Boards, Research Center and Foundation. These foundations funded Epsom salt purges to cure hook worm, developed vaccinations for yellow fever, funded purging disease carrying mosquito nests, developed serums for typhoid and gave millions to medical research institutions. The total amount distributed to charity from this family is enormous. ...more
Lords of Finance is a very informative book of finance by telling the story of the economic difficulties of Europe following World War I. The book cenLords of Finance is a very informative book of finance by telling the story of the economic difficulties of Europe following World War I. The book centers on the three main victors (England, France, and America) and the main loser (Germany) of WWI. All of whom happened to be economic powerhouses before the war but only America would remain so afterwards.
The harsh reparations placed on Germany during the Treaty of Versailles are detailed. They lost major production centers of their country annexed to France and Poland. They were forced to pay reparations eight times their Gross Domestic Product. The unfair mismanagement of this Treaty is extremely well detailed in the book “Paris 1919” as well as this book.
The European countries economies were tied to the gold standard. As the result of the War gold was moved out of Europe and into the safety of America. When the War ended America wound up with an abundance and Europe with too little gold to back up its currency. The cost of the war caused a much harder burden on the victors. Both England and France borrowed heavily from America to cover war costs. This severely weakened England and France’s economy. Germany however spun into disarray.
France solution to its economic problems was to collect their due reparations from Germany. But Germany could not afford to pay. Germany did all they could to try to negotiate a new payment schedule, only to fail. Germany’s finance minister had larger problems than paying England and France. With a lack of gold and currency their Finance minister Rudolph Havenstein decides to print money, lots of money. This caused hyperinflation which made the German mark virtually worthless. As a result, the cost of everything skyrocketed. The solution to inflation is to raise interest rates in order to pull money out of the system. However, Havenstein would not do this because it would cause employment loss and he believed this would result in uncontrollable chaos in the country.
Due to the bad conditions Havenstein is forced into retirement. His replacement is Hjalmar Schacht. Schacht develops a brilliant plan to solve Germany’s economic problems. What he does is create a new currency called the renti-mark. He then pegs it to the dollar. This stabilizes Germany’s currency and the inflated mark ceases its existence. The German economy revives although it still feels the negative effects of reparations. So Germany continues to fight for reformation. It has a lot of sympathetic ears including Mantuga Norman, England’s Finance minister, and Benjamin Strong the head of New York’s Federal Reserve. At the same time America was demanding that England and France pay back their war loans to American banks. England and France claimed that they could not repay their loan without being paid by Germany first.
As a result the French decide to occupy the Ruhr of Germany in retaliation for Germany’s default. This causes tensions rise in Europe. So, a plan is developed which would be later called the Dawes Plan. The Dawes plan lessened reparation payments and brought foreign investment into Germany.
Although Gold was being shipped to America during World War I somehow France had managed to capture a large gold reserve. Since all major economies at the time were backed by Gold the lack of gold held by other countries hurt their economies. The American economy however grew due to Europe’s need of American goods and its stable currency. England’s economy declined and France’s stabilized. Germany’s economy became chaotic shortly after Schacht quit as Germany’s Finance minister.
In the meantime, the great depression grips America and spreads to the weaker European economies. American president Herbert Hoover has a hard time figuring out what to do. He proposes solutions but the government acts too slowly to do anything. As the economy fails people move to get there money out of the banks. As a result, gold starts to move as well.
Hoover loses the election to Franklin Roosevelt. Roosevelt takes Hoover’s suggestion and closes the banks for a week. This stopped gold from exiting the banking system and gave some confidence to bank customers. However, America spun into the Great Depression.
In the Epilogue, the author gives compelling reasons for the cause of the Great Depression. First, was the Treaty of Versailles which put unrealistic burden on Germany and set up hard to accomplish debt payments among the victors. His second reason is that the leading central bankers refused to abandon the Gold Standard.
The author gives great praise to British economic thinker Maynard Keynes who was always opposed to Gold Standard. Finally, after WWII Keynes was able to convince the World to adapt to a monetary system pegged to artificial standards. It would be allowed to be adjusted when economic circumstances changed. In addition, Keynes had a corresponding plan. This part of his plan was to create an international central bank that would lend money to countries temporarily when a country needed it. This would become the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
At the same time, an American finance wiz was floating the same ideas and partnered with Keynes. His name was Harry Dexter White. White had done much of America’s work in creating the IMF. A strange detail about Mr. White was found out later. He was acting as a Soviet Spy and was supplying the Soviet Union with top secret American financial information. It is no wonder that the IMF is primarily funded by American money until this day.
I did not mention this in my review but much of the book centers around the largest countries financial leaders. In England it was Mantugu Norman,. In France it was Emile Moreau. In America it was Benjamin Strong and later George Harrison. In Germany it was Hjamlar Schacht. Much of the book centers among their interactions.
When I bought this book cheaply from B&N for my Nook I thought I was getting a bargain. However, after 10 minutes I found out that I got what I paWhen I bought this book cheaply from B&N for my Nook I thought I was getting a bargain. However, after 10 minutes I found out that I got what I paid for since it is only 10 pages long.
Although, I think these pages contain a lot of information about President Herbert Hoover.
Herbert Hoover had graduated from Stanford with a degree in geology. He gained work as a gold mine engineer. After he advised his company on gold prospects in Australia they made him chief engineer of that project. He turned this project into a very lucrative deal for the company. So they moved him to China to develop Coal Mines.
He shined during China's Boxer's Rebellion where he oversaw a construction of barricades and provided food for refugees. He was so proficient at his job that his company sent him around the world to rehabilitate struggling mines.
When WWI started Americans poured into London. Hoover was asked by the United States government to help these stranded Americans. Within in a day he organized shelter and food for more than 100,000 American refugees.
When German occupation of Belgium cut off food from civilians Hoover was appointed Chairman for Relief for Belgium. As head of this task he ordered food from around the world, coordinated transportation and negotiated with British and German governments. His program was so successful that President Wilson appointed Hoover as U.S. Food Administrator.
As U.S. Food Administrator, Hoover was in charge of providing food for Americans and their Allies during World War I. It is estimated that Herbert Hoover’s Food Administration miraculously saved nearly 20 million people from starvation.
After his highly successful career, calls for Hoover to run for president in 1920 became prominent. My favorite quote from the book is “He certainly is a wonder, and I wish we could make him President” by none other than Franklin Roosevelt. Hoover’s attempt for the Republican nomination in 1920 failed because of his support for the League of Nations. When Warren Harding won the nomination he quickly appointed Hoover to head the Commerce Department. He remained the Commerce secretary during the Coolidge administration. President Coolidge’s second term expired in 1928 and he humbly retired. This gave Hoover the opportunity to run. Although he hated campaigning he was easily elected. Up until now he is the “Angel” in the book’s title Herbert Hoover: From Angel to Demon.” In just seven months he would become the “Demon”. After the great stock market crash, the U.S. economy collapsed. He may have failed to grasp the full extent of the situation, as the author states, but it may have been the small government, at the time, being unable to provide needed services. Hoover lost to FDR and retired to Palo Alto in 1933. His skills were recognized in later years and used by President’s Truman and Eisenhower. ...more
If you are solely looking for the secrets to memorization to be found in this book then you will be disappointed. However if you are interested in a jIf you are solely looking for the secrets to memorization to be found in this book then you will be disappointed. However if you are interested in a journalist doing a story about people who compete in Mnemonic competitions you will like this story. The author does a story on people with supposedly super memories and becomes obsessed with their secrets. So he befriends a mnemonic competitor who teaches him the tricks while he is also interviewing the stars of the sport. Once he learns the tricks he decides to compete for the Unites States Mnemonic Championship. He trains for a year and enters. He was so well taught that he wins it. He is next enrolled in the World Championships. He does not win but he places very well for someone competing for the first time. The championship events include memorizing things such as memorizing and later reciting a brand new poem and memorizing the order of cards in a deck of cards. He lays out how these people are able to do these tasks. They create ridiculous pictures of words and number and place them in a memory palace. The memory palace is a familiar place and they assign sexual or scary images to the words. This leaves an impression in their mind so vivid that they can recall it from their minds when answering. What I got from this book is that their techniques take a whole lot of work and they produce short term results. I still remain intrigued because I remember reading that Napoleon once said something along the lines “when I need information I just go to a file in my mind, open it and I have the information.” I wonder if he used these techniques and just had a brain that would not forget. ...more