Meet You in Hell: Andrew Carnegie, Henry Clay Frick, and the Bitter Partnership That Transformed America

Version: Abridged
Author: Les Standiford
Narrator: John Dossett
Genres: Business & Economics, Biography & Memoir, Business
Publisher: Random House Audio Publishing Group
Published In: May 2005
# of Units: 4 CDs
Length: 5 hours
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Here is history that reads like fiction: the riveting story of two founding fathers of American industry--Andrew Carnegie and Henry Clay Frick--and the bloody steelworkers' strike that transformed their fabled partnership into a furious rivalry. Author Les Standiford begins at the bitter end, when the dying Carnegie proposes a final meeting after two decades of separation, probably to ease his conscience. Frick's reply: "Tell him that I'll meet him in hell."
It is a fitting epitaph. Set against the backdrop of the Gilded Age, a time when Horatio Alger preached the gospel of upward mobility and expansionism went hand in hand with optimism, "Meet You in Hell is a classic tale of two men who embodied the best and worst of American capitalism. Standiford conjures up the majesty and danger of steel manufacturing, the rough-and-tumble of late-nineteenth-century big business, and the fraught relationship of "the world's richest man" and the ruthless coke magnate to whom he entrusted his companies. Enamored of Social Darwinism, the emerging school of thought that applied the notion of survival of the fittest to human society, both Carnegie and Frick would introduce revolutionary new efficiencies and meticulous cost control to their enterprises, and would quickly come to dominate the world steel market.
But their partnership had a dark side, revealed most starkly by their brutal handling of the Homestead Steel Strike of 1892. When Frick, acting on Carnegie's orders to do whatever was necessary, unleashed three hundred Pinkerton detectives, the result was the deadliest clash between management and labor in U.S. history. WHILE BLOOD FLOWED, FRICK SMOKED ran one newspaper headline. Thepublic was outraged. An anarchist tried to assassinate Frick. Even today, the names Carnegie and Frick cannot be uttered in some union-friendly communities.
Resplendent with tales of backroom chicanery, bankruptcy, philanthropy, and personal idiosyncrasy, "Meet You in Hell is a fitting successor to Les Standiford's masterly "Last Train to Paradise. Artfully weaving the relationship of these titans through the larger story of a young nation's economic rise, Standiford has created an extraordinary work of popular history.

Reviews (3)

History that repeats

Written by Jazno on May 11th, 2009

  • Book Rating: 5/5

A true step back in time that shows that some things never change. The backroom shenanigans of deals that are now illegal are just glanced over since the real subject is the rivalry between two giants of the time. The abridged version left me wanting more. Although I understand why the two broke their good relationship, I'm sure the book had a few more stories to tell. The center piece is the tragedy at Homestead that should be required reading for anyone in management and labor.

Meet you in Hell

Written by Helen on November 29th, 2007

  • Book Rating: 5/5

I enjoyed this book. Being from the Pittsburgh area and a daughter of a steelworker, I found this book interesting and informative. It was good to learn about industry that made Pittsburgh and the institutions (CMU and Carnegie Library)that make Pittsburgh great a place to live.

Meet you in Hell

Written by David Cotter on January 26th, 2006

  • Book Rating: 4/5

This is a well written book and includes information on both the business relationship between Fricke and Carnegie as well as good information on the history of steelmaking in the U.S. I found the abridged version to be just about the right length. The reading was well done.

Author Details

Author Details

Standiford, Les

Les Standiford is the author of ten novels, including the John Deal series, and two works of nonfiction, including Last Train to Paradise. He wrote a chapter of Naked Came the Manatee, and edited The Putt at the End of the World, a collective novel of golf. He is the past recipient of the Frank O'Connor Award for Short Fiction and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship.