The Associates: Four Capitalists who Created California

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Atlas & Company, Jan 1, 2008 - Biography & Autobiography - 223 pages
3 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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User Review  - JohnMunsch - LibraryThing

A consise history of four industrialists who helped build the first Transcontinental Railroad and who monopolized all rail shipping and travel in California before going on to grab all they could grab ... Read full review

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User Review  - DBFunk - LibraryThing

Very interesting historical book about the Big Four! Great local SF history and for anyone who wants to learn more about Leland Stanford Read full review

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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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