"There's a big difference between entrepreneurs who make a fortune in the market, and those who do so by gaming the government."
Robber Baron: The Life of Charles Tyson Yerkes
"Standing alongside J. P. Morgan, Carnegie, and Rockefeller, Charles Tyson Yerkes (1837-1905) was one of the most influential and controversial public figures in America. Robber Baron is the first biography of the traction magnate who was behind the Chicago Loop Elevated, an investor in the London Underground, namesake of the University of Chicago's observatory, and vilified as Frank Cowperwood in Theodore Dreiser's trilogy, The Financier, The Titan, and The Stoic. After losing his fortune and being jailed for financial improprieties in Philadelphia, Yerkes used political blackmail to secure a pardon. With his boundless ambition intact, he relocated to Chicago and made millions from questionable financial transactions, while also using his influence and charm to assemble one of the world's finest mass transit networks. Despite various philanthropic efforts, Yerkes and his methods were despised by the press and public, and he left Chicago a bitter man. He moved to London, organizing much of the Underground, battling J. P. Morgan, and romancing Emilie Grigsby, the love of his life, before his death at age 68. John Franch has drawn upon every available source, including newspapers, memoirs, credit reports, court filings, bankruptcy records, and correspondence to tell the complete story of a man desperate to leave a lasting impression on his world. Yerkes's enduring public works and remarkable history are a testament to his success, but Robber Baron reveals that his legacy wasn't as sparkling as he might have hoped."
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