'Matthew Josephson's The Robber Barons (Harvest) is a rumbustious, very entertaining account of that period in American history - between 1861 and 1901 - when the great business empires were built up by the likes of Rockefeller, Carnegie and JP Morgan.
The book is subtitled The Great American Capitalists, and the author describes the 'violent, undertaking natures' that such people needed to build the US economy into a machine that, from being behind Europe, grew to be more or less level and was then ready to overtake it.
Most of the 'Robber Barons' rose from nothing to create huge empires in oil, steel and finance. Raw capitalists of that type had many admirable qualities, although the way they did business was, shall we say, rather different from behaviour today. They weren't perhaps from such a socially mixed background as today, but they all had a ruthless focus on building enterprises.
It is a very enjoyable book indeed - it is out of print in the UK and I've often thought about publishing it myself.'.