Andrew Carnegie: Prince of steel and libraries
Countless books and articles refer to Andrew Carnegie as a "robber baron." A few hail him as one of America's greatest industrialists and philanthropists, a man who gave away more than $300 million before his death in 1919 -- 90 percent of his fortune -- and much of the balance after his death. Carnegie amassed unprecedented wealth and lived in luxury, but referring to him as a robber baron is simplistic and a poor stereotype. Some historians attach the disparaging label robber barons to all the great titans of the "Gilded Age," the late 19th century, when America's moguls amassed fortunes with total indifference to public welfare. Yet a more guarded view examines their success as entrepreneurs, men who performed remarkable feats and whose efforts led America to its pre-eminent position as an economic giant by the close of the century. These "barons" were not all cut from the same cloth.