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Robber Baron: The Life of Charles Tyson Yerkes
by John Franch
University of Illinois Press, 2006
Cloth: 978-0-252-03099-4 | Paper: 978-0-252-07517-9 | eISBN: 978-0-252-05420-4
Library of Congress Classification HG172.Y47F73 2006
Dewey Decimal Classification 388.42092

Robber Baron is the first biography of the streetcar magnate Charles Tyson Yerkes (1837-1905), who stands alongside J.P. Morgan and Andrew Carnegie as one of the most colorful and controversial public figures in Gilded Age America. John Franch draws upon every available source to tell the story of the man who was the mastermind behind Chicago’s Loop Elevated and the London Underground, the namesake of the University of Chicago’s observatory, and the inspiration for Frank Cowperwood, the ruthless protagonist of Theodore Dreiser's Trilogy of Desire: The Financier, The Titan, and The Stoic. Despite various philanthropic efforts, Yerkes and his unscrupulous tactics were despised by the press and public, and he left Chicago a bitter man. While Yerkes’s enduring public works testify to his success and desire to leave a lasting impression on his world, Robber Baron also uncovers the cost of this boundless ambition.

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