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Invisible Giants: The Empires of Cleveland's Van Sweringen Brothers (Ohio)

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Invisible Giants: The Empires of Cleveland's Van Sweringen Brothers (Ohio) Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Invisible Giants is the Horatio Alger-esque tale of a pair of reclusive Cleveland brothers, Oris Paxton and Mantis James Van Sweringen, who rose from poverty to become two of the most powerful men in America. They controlled the country's largest railroad system--a network of track reaching from the Atlantic to Salt Lake City and from Ontario to the Gulf of Mexico. On the eve of the Great Depression they were close to controlling the country's first coast-to-coast rail system--a goal that still eludes us. They created the model upper-class suburb of Shaker Heights, Ohio, with its unique rapid transit access. They built Cleveland's landmark Terminal Tower and its innovative "city within a city" complex. Indisputably, they created modern Cleveland.

Yet beyond a small, closely knit circle, the bachelor Van Sweringen brothers were enigmas. Their actions were aggressive, creative, and bold, but their manner was modest, mild, and retiring. Dismissed by many as mere shoestring financial manipulators, they created enduring works, which remain strong today. The Van Sweringen story begins in early-20th-century Cleveland suburban real estate and reaches its zenith in the heady late 1920s, amid the turmoil of national transportation power politics and unprecedented empire-building. As the Great Depression destroyed many of their fellow financiers, the "Vans" survived through imaginative stubbornness--until tragedy ended their careers almost simultaneously. Invisible Giants is the first comprehensive biography of these two remarkable if mysterious men.

Synopsis:

Includes bibliographical references (p. 313-332) and index.

About the Author

Herbert H. Harwood, Jr., has concurrently been a railroad historian, writer, photographer, and working railroader. A history graduate of Princeton University, he received his MBA from Columbia University and then spent 30 years in various management positions at the Chesapeake and Ohio and Baltimore and Ohio and their successor, CSX Transportation. He has written 11 books on railroad and electric railway history.

Table of Contents

Contents:

Introduction

Oasis in a Gritty City

The Ideal Suburb

Mr. Smith Sells a Farm

Mr. Smith Sells a Railroad

Shaping Solid Forms

A Difficult Birth at the Public Square

The Beginnings of an Empire

To the South, East, and North

Taking Stock: 1924

A Horseback Ride in the Park

Building, Rebuilding, and Juggling

Consolidation Anarchy (I): The General and the Bear

Consolidation Anarchy (II): The Street Fighter

The Summit (I): An Appalachian Peak in the Rockies

The Summit (II): Filling Out the Railroad Map

The Summit (III): Consummation in Cleveland--and a Jolt

Completions and Complications

Taking Stock: 1930

Sudden Darkness

The Rails Head Downgrade

A New World

The Cruelest Year

The Last Train

Epilogue (I): New Empires from Old

Epilogue (II): The Ghosts

Notes

Sources and Acknowledgments

Index

Product Details

ISBN:
9780253341631
Author:
Harwood, Herbert H., Jr.
Publisher:
Indiana University Press
Author:
Harwood, H.
Author:
Herbert H. Harwood
Author:
Harwood, Jr., Herbert H.
Location:
Bloomington, IN
Subject:
General
Subject:
Business
Subject:
Railroads
Subject:
Real estate development
Subject:
Businessmen
Subject:
Cleveland
Subject:
Biography/Business
Subject:
Railroads - General
Subject:
American Studies; Biography and Memoir; Biography Railroads and Transportation; Business; History; Indiana and the Midwest; Railroad and Transportation; Railroads and Transportation
Edition Description:
Hardcover
Series:
Ohio
Series Volume:
#801
Publication Date:
20030131
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Illustrations:
72 bandw photos, 15 maps
Pages:
360
Dimensions:
10 x 7 x 1.05 in

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Related Subjects

Biography » Business
Business » Real Estate
History and Social Science » World History » General
Transportation » Railroads » General

Invisible Giants: The Empires of Cleveland's Van Sweringen Brothers (Ohio) New Hardcover
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Product details 360 pages Indiana University Press - English 9780253341631 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Includes bibliographical references (p. 313-332) and index.
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