In this long out of print biography of Harriman, author Kenan (cousin to the younger George Kennan) reveals the intricate power-plays that resulted in Harriman's control of properties and vast interests.
He was interested in science and even learned ju-jitsu after a trip to Japan. Naturalist John Muir said of Harriman that he was worthy of admiration in almost every way.
For the first time, Vol. I and II of this long out-of-print book are available together in an affordable, well-formatted edition for e-readers and smartphones.
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"One day [says Mr. Kruttschnitt] I was walking with Mr. Harriman on the road. He noticed a track bolt and asked me why so much of the bolt should protrude beyond the nut. I replied, " It is the size which is generally used." He said, "Why should we use a bolt of such a length that a part of it is useless?" I replied, " Well, when you come right down to it, there is no reason." We walked along and he asked me how many track bolts there were to a mile of track, and I told him. Thereupon he remarked, "Well, in the Union Pacific and Southern Pacific we have about eighteen thousand miles of track and there must be some fifty million track bolts in our system. If you can cut an ounce off from every bolt, you will save fifty million ounces of iron, and that is something worth while. Change your bolt standard."
In 1870, Kennan became the first American to explore the highlands of Dagestan, a remote Muslim region of herders, silversmiths, carpet-weavers, and other craftsmen southeast of Chechnya, only a decade after Russia violently absorbed the region into its empire. He kept detailed journals of his adventures, which today form a small part of his voluminous archive in the Library of Congress. Frith Maier has combined the diaries with selected letters and Kennan�s published articles on the Caucasus to create a vivid narrative of his six-month odyssey.
The journals have been organized into three parts. The first covers Kennan�s journey to the Caucasus, a significant feat in itself. The second chronicles his expedition across the main Caucasus Ridge with the Georgian nobleman Prince Jorjadze. In the final part, Kennan circles back through the lands of Chechnya to slip once again into the Dagestan highlands.
Kennan�s remarkable curiosity and perception come through in this lively and accessible narrative, as does his humor at the challenges of his travels.
In her introduction, Maier discusses Kennan�s illustrious career and his reliability as an observer, while providing background on the Caucasus to help clarify Kennan�s descriptions of daily life, religion, etiquette, customary law, and local government. In an Afterword, she retraces Kennan�s steps to find descendants of Prince Jorjadze and describes her work in coproducing, with filmmaker Christopher Allingham, a documentary inspired by Kennan�s Caucasus journey.