I asked David to apply the "page 69 test" to Andrew Carnegie. Here is what he reported:
Well-----in the case of an 800 page biography, it’s hard to find one of them—especially an early one, like page 69, that is representative of the whole book. By page 69, I had only gotten as far as 1861. Carnegie was 26 and had volunteered to help his boss Tom Scott arrange to transport troops to Washington D.C. via the Pennsylvania Railroad which he worked for. This particular page tells more about Lincoln and the war than it does about Carnegie, though it makes it clear why he—and thousands of other young, northern businessmen like him became Republicans and so admired Lincoln. It also points out why Pittsburgh was so central (geographically and politically) to the developing United States in the 19th century. The story that it opens—of Carnegie and the Civil War—is a fascinating one, one not well told before because earlier biographers did not have access, as I did, to the hundreds of telegrams Carnegie sent back and forth from Pittsburgh to Washington D.C. as the war unfolded.Many thanks to David for the input.
Click here to read an excerpt from Andrew Carnegie.
The book has been reviewed seemingly everywhere, including: the New York Sun, USA Today, Washington Post, Salon, New York Times Book Review, and New York Times.
Click here for an interview with David Nasaw about his book.
Click here to read David's recent Slate article about Carnegie's thinking regarding philanthropy and how it relates to the charitable plans of Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, and others.
For his five top biographies of business moguls, click here.
Nasaw's previous book is the nationally bestselling biography The Chief: The Life of William Randolph Hearst, the winner of the Bancroft Prize for History, the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize, the Ambassador Book Prize for Biography, and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Click here to read an excerpt from The Chief.
Previous "page 69 tests":
Leah Hager Cohen, Train Go Sorry
Chris Grabenstein, Slay Ride
David Helvarg, Blue Frontier
Marina Warner, Phantasmagoria
Bill Crider, A Mammoth Murder
Robert W. Bennett, Taming the Electoral College
Nicholas Stern et al, Stern Review Report
Kerry Emanuel, Divine Wind
Adam Langer, The Washington Story
Michael Scott Moore, Too Much of Nothing
Frank Schaeffer, Baby Jack
Wyn Cooper, Postcards from the Interior
Ivan Goncharov, Oblomov
Maureen Ogle, Ambitious Brew
Cass Sunstein, Infotopia
Paul W. Kahn, Out of Eden
Paul Lewis, Cracking Up
Pagan Kennedy, Confessions of a Memory Eater
David Greenberg, Nixon's Shadow
Duane Swierczynski, The Wheelman
George Levine, Darwin Loves You
John Barlow, Intoxicated
Alicia Steimberg, The Rainforest
Alan Wolfe, Does American Democracy Still Work?
John Dickerson, On Her Trail
Marcus Sakey, The Blade Itself
Randy Boyagoda, Governor of the Northern Province
John Gittings, The Changing Face of China
Rachel Kadish, Tolstoy Lied
Eric Rauchway, Blessed Among Nations
Tim Brookes, Guitar and other books
Ruth Padel, Tigers in Red Weather
William Haywood Henderson, Augusta Locke
Jed Horne, Breach of Faith
Robert Greer, The Fourth Perspective
David Plotz, The Genius Factory
Michael Allen Dymmoch, White Tiger
Patrick Thaddeus Jackson, Civilizing the Enemy
Tom Lutz, Doing Nothing
Libby Fischer Hellmann, A Shot To Die For
Nelson Algren, The Man With the Golden Arm
Bob Harris, Prisoner of Trebekistan
Elaine Flinn, Deadly Collection
Louise Welsh, The Bullet Trick
Gregg Hurwitz, Last Shot
Martha Powers, Death Angel
N.M. Kelby, Whale Season
Mario Acevedo, The Nymphos of Rocky Flats
Dominic Smith, The Mercury Visions of Louis Daguerre
Simon Blackburn, Lust
Linda L. Richards, Calculated Loss
Kevin Guilfoile, Cast of Shadows
Ronlyn Domingue, The Mercy of Thin Air
Shari Caudron, Who Are You People?
Marisha Pessl, Special Topics in Calamity Physics
John Sutherland, How to Read a Novel
Steven Miles, Oath Betrayed
Alan Brown, Audrey Hepburn's Neck
Richard Dawkins, The Ancestor's Tale