Results by Title
29 books about Steel industry and trade
Results by Title
29 books about Steel industry and trade
BiblioVault ® 2001 - 2023
The University of Chicago Press
• Choice 1988 Outstanding Academic Book
• Named one of the Best Business Books of 1988 by USA Today
A veteran reporter of American labor analyzes the spectacular and tragic collapse of the steel industry in the 1980s. John Hoerr’s account of these events stretches from the industrywide barganing failures of 1982 to the crippling work stoppage at USX (U.S. Steel) in 1986-87. He interviewed scores of steelworkers, company managers at all levels, and union officials, and was present at many of the crucial events he describes. Using historical flashbacks to the origins of the steel industry, particularly in the Monongahela Valley of southwestern Pennsylvania, he shows how an obsolete and adversarial relationship between management and labor made it impossible for the industry to adapt to shattering changes in the global economy.
“Andrew Carnegie is the only American entrepreneur who could have won distinction as an author, even if he had never seen a steel mill,” writes Joseph Frazier Wall. A skillful and prolific writer, Andrew Carnegie published sixty three articles in major magazines of his time, such as The North American Review, and eight books. Although he is best remembered today for the radical philosophy expressed in the title essay of his book The Gospel of Wealth, his other writings are readable and provocative.
The Andrew Carnegie Reader is the first anthology to bring together in a single volume a representative selection of Carnegie’s writings which show him as a shrewd businessman, celebrated philanthropist, champion of democracy, and eternal optimist. Carnegie’s first letter to the editor at the age of seventeen was the beginning of a lifelong attempt to satisfy an insatiable journalistic desire. Always voluble and candid, Carnegie was as active with his pen as with his tongue.
This intriguing collection covers sixty years of the industrial giant’s life, from his letters to his cousin George Lauder, written in 1853, to the final chapter od his autobiography, completed in 1914. In his own simple, abrupt style, colored with fierce optimism, Carnegie captivated his audience.
Although most of the selections were penned for an audience now long gone, today’s reader will be intrigued by the pertinence and timelessness of Carnegie’s hopes for world peace, his views on labor, and his concern for better race relations in America and their continuing applicability to humankind. A brief essay by the editor introduces each selection.
At its formation in 1901, the United States Steel Corporation was the earth’s biggest industrial corporation, a wonder of the manufacturing world. Immediately it produced two thirds of America’s raw steel and thirty percent of the steel made worldwide. The behemoth company would go on to support the manufacturing superstructure of practically every other industry in America. It would create and sustain the economies of many industrial communities, especially Pittsburgh, employing more than a million people over the course of the century.
A hundred years later, the U.S. Steel Group of USX makes scarcely ten percent of the steel in the United States and just over one and a half percent of global output. Far from the biggest, the company is now considered the most efficient steel producer in the world. What happened between then and now, and why, is the subject of Big Steel, the first comprehensive history of the company at the center of America’s twentieth-century industrial life.
Granted privileged and unprecedented access to the U.S. Steel archives, Kenneth Warren has sifted through a long, complex business history to tell a compelling story. Its preeminent size was supposed to confer many advantages to U.S. Steel—economies of scale, monopolies of talent, etc. Yet in practice, many of those advantages proved illusory. Warren shows how, even in its early years, the company was out-maneuvered by smaller competitors and how, over the century, U.S. Steel’s share of the industry, by every measure, steadily declined.
Warren’s subtle analysis of years of internal decision making reveals that the company’s size and clumsy hierarchical structure made it uniquely difficult to direct and manage. He profiles the chairmen who grappled with this “lumbering giant,” paying particular attention to those who long ago created its enduring corporate culture—Charles M. Schwab, Elbert H. Gary, and Myron C. Taylor.
Warren points to the way U.S. Steel’s dominating size exposed it to public scrutiny and government oversight—a cautionary force. He analyzes the ways that labor relations affected company management and strategy. And he demonstrates how U.S. Steel suffered gradually, steadily, from its paradoxical ability to make high profits while failing to keep pace with the best practices. Only after the drastic pruning late in the century—when U.S. Steel reduced its capacity by two-thirds—did the company become a world leader in steel-making efficiency, rather than merely in size.
These lessons, drawn from the history of an extraordinary company, will enrich the scholarship of industry and inform the practice of business in the twenty-first century.
During the 1920s, the "black decade" of British steel, nearly everyone agreed that the industry's revival depended on replacing obsolete equipment and instituting modern technologies that would increase production and decrease costs. Despite consensus, these goals were not reached and, even after wartime and postwar reconstruction needs were met, the industry continued its steady decline. Steven Tolliday advances three hypotheses for this stagnation.
First, the problems of British steel, Tolliday suggests, were embedded in the structures of individual firms and of the industry as a whole—both unchanged since the prosperous years of the nineteenth century—and after World War I fractured by conflicting interests (share holders, managers, family members, bankers, creditors). Second, the two external institutions that might have enforced reorganization and modernization—the banking system and the government—were overcautious, had complex and contradictory goals, and lacked the management skills to exploit their potential financial leverage. Third, the many attempts at reform by banks and government collapsed because these establishments, like the industry itself, were constrained by traditions and antiquated structural rigidities.
This excellent example of a new direction in business history—analysis of a given industry by conveying the interaction of technology, markets, companies, financial institutions, and government—brings many important theoretical questions into focus and also contributes substantially to the scrutiny of specific problems, such as why the British economy appears to be in irrevocable decline.
Charles Schwab was known to his employees, business associates, and competitors as a congenial and charismatic person-a 'born salesman.' Yet Schwab was much more than a salesman-he was a captain of industry, a man who streamlined and economized the production of steel and ran the largest steelmaking conglomerate in the world. A self-made man, he became one of the wealthiest Americans during the Gilded Age, only to die penniless in 1939.
Schwab began his career as a stake driver at Andrew Carnegie's Edgar Thomson steel works in Pittsburgh at the age of seventeen. By thirty-five, he was president of Carnegie Steel. In 1901, he helped form the U.S. Steel Corporation, a company that produced well over half the nation's iron and steel. In 1904, Schwab left U.S. Steel to head Bethlehem Steel, which after twelve years under his leadership, became the second-largest steel producer in America. President Woodrow Wilson called on Schwab to head the Emergency Fleet Corporation to produce merchant ships for the transport of troops and materials abroad during World War I.
Kenneth Warren presents a compelling biography that chronicles the startling success of Schwab's business career, his leadership abilities, and his drive to advance steel-making technology and operations. Through extensive research and use of previously unpublished archival documentation, Warren offers a new perspective on the life of a monumental figure--a true visionary--in the industrial history of America.
How can workers retain job security in an industry currently experiencing extensive restructuring and retrenchment? In the United States, massive layoffs in the 1980s in industries like steel have resulted in increased worker demands for job security provisions in collective agreements and legal protections against layoffs. In many Western European countries, where private-sector practices ensuring strong job security and laws regulating layoff practices were well established, the 1980s brought strong pressure from business to relax job security in order to facilitate rapid restructuring.
Susan Houseman's book presents some of the first hard evidence on the economic effects of providing job security, evidence gathered during the restructuring of the European Community's steel industry in the 1970s and 1980s. The author reviews personnel practices by the Community's leading steel companies, basing her analysis on extensive interviews with employers, workers, and government officials in West Germany, France, Britain, Belgium, Luxembourg, Italy, and the Netherlands. Drawing on economic theory, she shows that the extent of workers' rights to job security will affect how an industry optimally adjusts to a decline in demand and to a situation of excess capacity.
Using detailed plant data, she shows that job security for workers affected decisions concerning employment, production, investment, and plant closures in the industry, While job security for workers may slow the process of industrial restructuring and result in lower productivity, the author points out that it also generates important social benefits, including community stability and a more equitable distribution of the risks and costs of economic change.
This book will draw the attention of policymakers in government and in international organizations such as the European Community, the OECD, and the ILO. It will also be of interest to scholars in labor economics, industrial relations, public policy, and business.
Youngstown, Ohio, and the surrounding Mahoning Valley supplied the iron that helped transform the United States into an industrial powerhouse in the nineteenth century. The story of the Mahoning Valley’s unorthodox rise from mid-scale iron producer to twentieth-century “Steel Valley” is a tale of innovation, stagnation, and, above all, extreme change. Located halfway between Pittsburgh and Cleveland, the Mahoning Valley became a major supplier of pig iron to America’s biggest industrial regions. For much of the nineteenth century, outside consumers relied on the Valley’s pig iron, but this reliance nurtured a reluctance on the part of Youngstown iron companies to diversify or expand their production.
In Iron Valley: The Transformation of the Iron Industry in Ohio’s Mahoning Valley, 1802–1913, Clayton J. Ruminski argues that Youngstown-area iron manufacturers were content to let others in the industry innovate, and only modernized when market conditions forced them to do so. Desperate to find new markets, some Youngstown iron manufacturers eventually looked toward steel and endured a rapid, but successful, industrial transformation that temporarily kept their old enterprises afloat in a rapidly evolving industry. Richly illustrated with rare photographs of Mahoning Valley ironmasters, mills, furnaces, and workers, Iron Valley sheds light on a previously underrepresented and vital region that built industrial America.
When, how, and why did the state enterprise system of modern China take shape? The conventional argument is that China borrowed its economic system and development strategy wholesale from the Soviet Union in the 1950s. In an important new interpretation, Morris Bian shows instead that the basic institutional arrangement of state-owned enterprise—bureaucratic governance, management and incentive mechanisms, and the provision of social services and welfare—developed in China during the war years 1937–1945.
Bian offers a new theory of institutional change that explains the formation of China’s state enterprise system as the outcome of the sustained systemic crisis triggered by the Sino–Japanese war. This groundbreaking work combines critical analysis of government policies with case studies of little-studied enterprises in heavy industries and the ordnance industry. Drawing on extensive research in previously unavailable archives, Bian adds a valuable historical perspective to the current debate on how to reform China’s sluggish and unprofitable state-owned firms.
From 1915 to 1971 the large U.S. Steel plant was a major part of Duluth’s landscape and life. Just as important was Morgan Park—an innovatively planned and close-knit community constructed for the plant’s employees and their families. In this new book Arnold R. Alanen brings to life Morgan Park, the formerly company-controlled town that now stands as a city neighborhood, and the U.S. Steel plant for which it was built.
Planned by renowned landscape architects, architects, and engineers, and provided with schools, churches, and recreational and medical services by U.S. Steel, Morgan Park is an iconic example—like Lowell, Massachusetts, and Pullman, Illinois—of a twentieth-century company town, as well as a window into northeastern Minnesota’s industrial roots.
Starting with the intense political debates that preceded U.S. Steel’s decision to build a plant in Duluth, Morgan Park follows the town and its residents through the boom years to the closing of the outmoded facility—an event that foreshadowed industrial shutdowns elsewhere in the United States—and up to today, as current residents work to preserve the community’s historic character.
Through compelling archival and contemporary photographs and vibrant stories of a community built of concrete and strong as steel, Alanen shows the impact both the plant and Morgan Park have had on life in Duluth.
Arnold R. Alanen is professor of landscape architecture at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. His previous books include Main Street Ready-Made: The New Deal Community of Greendale, Wisconsin and Preserving Cultural Landscapes in America.
Out of This Furnace is Thomas Bell’s most compelling achievement. Its story of three generations of an immigrant Slovak family -- the Dobrejcaks -- still stands as a fresh and extraordinary accomplishment.
The novel begins in the mid-1880s with the naive blundering career of Djuro Kracha. It tracks his arrival from the old country as he walked from New York to White Haven, his later migration to the steel mills of Braddock, Pennsylvania, and his eventual downfall through foolish financial speculations and an extramarital affair. The second generation is represented by Kracha’s daughter, Mary, who married Mike Dobrejcak, a steel worker. Their decent lives, made desperate by the inhuman working conditions of the mills, were held together by the warm bonds of their family life, and Mike’s political idealism set an example for the children. Dobie Dobrejcak, the third generation, came of age in the 1920s determined not to be sacrificed to the mills. His involvement in the successful unionization of the steel industry climaxed a half-century struggle to establish economic justice for the workers.
Out of This Furnace is a document of ethnic heritage and of a violent and cruel period in our history, but it is also a superb story. The writing is strong and forthright, and the novel builds constantly to its triumphantly human conclusion.
Singing the City is an eloquent tribute to a way of life largely disappearing in America, using Pittsburgh as a lens. Graham is not blind to the damage industry has done—both to people and to the environment, but she shows us that there is also a rich human story that has gone largely untold, one that reveals, in all its ambiguities, the place of the industrial landscape in the heart.
Singing the City is a celebration of a landscape that through most of its history has been unabashedly industrial. Convinced that industrial landscapes are too little understood and appreciated, Graham set out to investigate the city’s landscape, past and present, and to learn the lessons she sensed were there about living a good life. The result, told in both her voice and the distinctive voices of the people she meets, is a powerful contribution to the literature of place.
Graham begins by showing the city as an outgrowth of its geography and its geology—the factors that led to its becoming an industrial place. She describes the human investment in the area: the floods of immigrants who came to work in the mills in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, their struggles within the domains of Andrew Carnegie and Henry Clay Frick. She evokes the superhuman aura of making steel by taking the reader to still functioning mills and uncovers for us a richness of tradition in ethnic neighborhoods that survives to this day.
The creation of wealth depends on the capacity of economic actors to adapt to market changes. Such adaptation, in turn, poses fundamental questions about the distribution of resources. Daley investigates the interaction among business, labor, and the state in France in the second half of the twentieth century and reveals how political dynamics refract market pressures. He explains how and why profitability came at the expense of union mobilization, unemployment, and management autonomy, vast amounts of state aid, and less national control over industrial decision making.
Business genius and hedonist, Charles Schwab entered the steel industry as an unskilled laborer and within twenty years advanced to the presidency of Carnegie Steel. He later became the first president of U.S. Steel and then founder of Bethlehem Steel. His was one of the most spectacular and curious success stories in an era of great industrial giants.
How did Schwab progress from day laborer to titan of industry? Why did Andrew Carnegie and J.P. Morgan select him to manage their multmillion-dollar enterprises? And how did he forfeit their confidence and lose the preseidency of U.S. Steel? Drawing upon previously undiscovered sources, Robert Hessen answers these questions in the first biography of Schwab.
In 1986, with little warning, the USX Homestead Works closed. Thousands of workers who depended on steel to survive were left without work. A Town Without Steel looks at the people of Homestead as they reinvent their views of household and work and place in this world. The book details the modifications and revisions of domestic strategies in a public crisis. In some ways unique, and in some ways typical of American industrial towns, the plight of Homestead sheds light on social, cultural, and political developments of the late twentieth century.
In this anthropological and photographic account of a town facing the crisis of deindustrialization, A Town Without Steel focuses on families. Reminiscent of Margaret Byington and Lewis Hine’s approach in Homestead, Charlee Brodsky’s photographs document the visual dimension of change in Homestead. The mill that dominated the landscape transformed to a vast, empty lot; a crowded commercial street turns into a ghost town; and an abundance of well-kept homes become an abandoned street of houses for sale. The individual narratives and family snapshots, Modell’s interpretations, and Brodsky’s photographs all evoke the tragedy and the resilience of a town whose primary source of self-identification no longer exists.
The company owned the houses. It owned the stores. It provided medical and governmental services. It provided practically all the jobs. Gary, West Virginia, a coal mining town in the southern part of the state, was a creation of U.S. Steel. And while the workers were not formally bound to the company, their fortunes—like that of their community—were inextricably tied to the success of U.S. Steel.
Gary developed in the early twentieth century as U.S. Steel sought a new supply of raw material for its industrial operations. The rich Pocahontas coal field in remote southern West Virginia provided the carbon-rich, low-sulfur coal the company required. To house the thousands of workers it would import to mine that coal bed, U.S. Steel carved a town out of the mountain wilderness. The company was the sole reason for its existence.
In this fascinating book, Ronald Garay tells the story of how industry-altering decisions made by U.S. Steel executives reverberated in the hollows of Appalachia. From the area’s industrial revolution in the early twentieth century to the peak of steel-making activity in the 1940s to the industry’s decline in the 1970s, U.S. Steel and Gary, West Virginia offers an illuminating example of how coal and steel paternalism shaped the eastern mountain region and the limited ways communities and their economies evolve. In telling the story of Gary, this volume freshly illuminates the stories of other mining towns throughout Appalachia.
At once a work of passionate journalism and a cogent analysis of economic development in Appalachia, this work is a significant contribution to the scholarship on U.S. business history, labor history, and Appalachian studies.
BiblioVault ® 2001 - 2023
The University of Chicago Press