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Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » Hetty: The Genius and Madness of America's First Female Tycoon » User review

The broke the mold when the made Hetty!

  • Oct 26, 2009
Rating:
+3
Having thoroughly enjoyed Charles Slack's marvelous 2003 offering "Noble Obsession: Charles Goodyear, Thomas Hancock, and the Race to Unlock The Greatest Industrial Secret of the Nineteeth Century" I was eager to read "Hetty:  The Genius and Madness ofAmerica's First Female Tycoon" despite the fact that I had never even heard of Hetty GreenHetty is a largely forgotten figure in American history.  In is "Acknowlegements" at the end of the book Slack recalls that he embarked on this project at the urging of his mother despite the fact that at the outset "I only had the vaguest idea of who she was talking about."

Hetty Green was the daughter of Edward Mott Robinson of New Bedford, Mass.  Robinson made his fortune in whaling and his daughter Hetty exhibited a keen interest in business from a very early age.   This was highly unusual for a young girl in those days but Hetty was determined to follow in her fathers footsteps.  Hetty was raised a Quaker and as such she did not believe in showering herself with luxuries.  Rather, she spent virtually her entire life scrimping and saving.  This was certainly not necessary because Hetty Green would become by all accounts the richest woman in the world.  She owned dozens of buildings in New York, Boston, Chicago and St. Louis.  She owned warehouses and gold mines and was also a major player in the emerging railroad industry.  She would be a force to be reckoned with on the American financial scene for more than half a century.  And you did not cross Hetty Green as her archrival the legendary industrialist Collis P. Huntington would discover early on.  At the time of her passing in 1916, her empire was conservatively estimated to be valued at more than $100.000.000!!!

Charles Slack is a marvelous storyteller.  In "Hetty: The Genius and Madness of America's First Female Tycoon" you will also learn about Hetty Green's personal life which in many ways was beyond bizarre.  Yes, she did find time to marry and have two children, Ned and Sylvia.   But in spite of her enormous wealth Hetty Green spent virtually her entire adult life living in cheap tenements in places like Hoboken, NJ in an effort to avoid the press and more importantly the taxman.  But what made Hetty tick was clearly not her personal life.  Rather, it was the business world that consumed her. "Hetty: The Genius and Madness ofAmerica's First Female Tycoon" recalls the remarkable story of America's first female  tycoon. It is very well written and highly entertaining book.     Recommended!
Hetty 1 Hetty 2

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Paul Tognetti ()
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I guess I would qualify as a frustrated writer. My work requires very little writing and so since 1999 I have been writing reviews on non-fiction books and anthology CD's on amazon.com. I never could … more
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Book Description

When J. P. Morgan called a meeting of New York's financial leaders after the stock market crash of 1907, Hetty Green was the only woman in the room. The Guinness Book of World Records memorialized her as the World's Greatest Miser, and, indeed, this unlikely robber baron -- who parlayed a comfortable inheritance into a fortune that was worth about 1.6 billion in today's dollars -- was frugal to a fault. But in an age when women weren't even allowed to vote, never mind concern themselves with interest rates, she lived by her own rules. In Hetty, Charles Slack reexamines her life and legacy, giving us, at long last, a splendidly "nuanced portrait" (Newsweek) of one of the greatest -- and most eccentric -- financiers in American history.


Charles Slack is the author of Noble Obsession: Charles Goodyear, Thomas Hancock, and the Race to Unlock the Greatest Industrial Secret of the Nineteenth Century, named one of the New York Public Library's twenty-five "Books to Remember" for 2002, and Blue Fairways: Three Months, Sixty Courses, No Mulligans. His writing has appeared in many national magazines. He lives in Connecticut with his wife, Barbara, and their daughters, Natalie and Caroline.


--Harper Collins
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Details

ISBN-10: 0060542578
ISBN-13: 978-0060542573
Author: Charles Slack
Genre: History, Biography & History
Publisher: Harper Perrenial
Date Published: November 1, 2005
Format: Paperback
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