Capital City

New York City and the Men Behind America's Rise to Economic Dominance, 1860-1900

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About The Book

At the beginning of the nineteenth century, New York City was an undistinguished town, competing with Philadelphia and Boston to be America's dominant port city. Just two generations later, it had built itself into the country's powerhouse center of trade and finance, rivaled only by London as financial capital of the world. In Capital City, Thomas Kessner tells the story of this remarkable transformation.
With the advantages of its famous harbor and the opening of the Erie Canal in 1825, New York became the chief commercial center for the growing nation. As the shipping industry prospered, capital accumulated, and a growing banking center emerged, New York went on to finance the Union cause during the Civil War, open the West to development, and consolidate the national railroad system. The city's energy and opportunity attracted ambitious men from all over the country whose names became synonymous with big business: Vanderbilt, Carnegie, Rockefeller, and Morgan. New York's banks set the interest rates for the nation, its stock exchange fixed the price of securities, its investors transformed American business from family-owned enterprises into modern corporations, and its growing political clout catapulted public figures, such as Samuel Tilden and Teddy Roosevelt, onto the national stage.
Combining political and urban history with a colorful cast of characters, Capital City chronicles how Gotham's Gilded Age reshaped the metropolis and the nation as it molded our present-day economy.

About The Author

Photo Credit: Rachel Kessner

Product Details

  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (April 2004)
  • Length: 416 pages
  • ISBN13: 9780743257534

Raves and Reviews

The Wall Street Journal In Capital City, Kessner has achieved for his subject what James McPherson accomplished for the CIvil War.

David Nasaw author of The Chief: The Life of William Randolph Hearst New York, New York: what a wonderful town - and an even better story, as told by Thomas Kessner in Capital City.

Mike Wallace co-author of The Pulitzer Prize-winner Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898 Graceful and lucid.

Kenneth T. Jackson editor of The Encyclopedia of New York City Thomas Kessner has triumphed again in showing us how the past can help us understand the present.

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