The Associates: Four Capitalists who Created California

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Atlas & Company, Jan 1, 2008 - Biography & Autobiography - 223 pages
15 Reviews
One hundred and forty years ago, four men rose from their position as middle-class merchants to become robber barons and, in the end, civilization-creating philanthropists. Their names were Collis Huntington, Leland Stanford, Charles Crocker, and Mark Hopkins, and they were known as "The Big Four," or "The Associates." Their moneymaker was the building of the transcontinental railroad, but what stands out in their story is how smarts, rapacity, and sheer luck characterized the dizzy growth of California. Buccaneers of the untrammeled capitalism of the Gilded Age, the four nevertheless left behind a legacy of philanthropy and cultural institutions that has made California the capital of the American West. Having written about confidence artists in earlier books, author Rayner has a knack for detecting the fraudulence that so often lurks behind business success. This is a fresh retelling of a quintessentially American story.--From publisher description.

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Review: The Associates: Four Capitalists Who Created California

User Review  - Tyler Storm - Goodreads

Not bad. More a history of the Central Pacific and Southern Pacific railroad. Thought it would be more about my beautiful state California, but it wasn't. Still a decent book. Quick read and looks like author did some good research. It is okay. Read full review

Review: The Associates: Four Capitalists Who Created California

User Review  - Ginger DePriest - Goodreads

While I found the author's writing style a bit tortuous at times, the story itself was really quite amazing. The Associates were crude, egocentric, and obtrusive yet delightfully crafty in their ways ... Read full review

About the author (2008)

Richard Rayner's work appears in in The New Yorker, The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and other publications. He lives with his family in Los Angeles.

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