CUNY Professor David Nasaw discusses his acclaimed biographies of Andrew Carnegie, William Randolph Hearst, and Joe Kennedy with Intelligent Talk.
In his interview on the Carnegie book, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, Nasaw reveals the reasons Carnegie decided to give away his fortune. He shows he planned to do this from the beginning of his business career, and it was not due to any guilt from crushing the Homestead Strike. We also learn how Carnegie amassed his fortune; and his efforts to prevent W W 1.
Nasaw then discusses The Chief, his book on William Randolph Hearst. A winner of the Bancroft Prize for American History, it reveals a different view of Hearst then was portrayed in the film Citizen Kane. Hearst was courteous to his employees, could be quite romantic, and was controlled financially by his mother almost all his life. A business innovator and great marketer of news. He also played a key role in making Franklin Roosevelt the President, and hired a number of world leaders as his columnists. This list included both Hitler and Mussolini. We learn about character traits and work habits of the leaders through Hearst’s interactions.
Finally the interview concludes with Nasaw’s discussion of his book on Joe Kennedy. We learn how Kennedy made his money, including the truth about whether he was a bootlegger. His service in the Roosevelt Administraion, including as Ambassador to England and the various tragedies he suffered in his life.