With little real authority and few resources, Mary’s reign was successful, until her disastrous marriage to the dissolute Darnley set in motion the events that brought about her downfall. For the last 20 years of her life she was a prisoner in the hands of her cousin, Elizabeth I of England, and the subject of treacherous plots and conspiracies. A hostage to fortune, she represented a threat and a rallying-point for English Catholics. Her tragic end was inevitable. Yet her life, with all its adventurous, failures and disasters, produced the son – James – who ultimately brought about the union of Scotland and England.
In the End Is My Beginning uncovers the true facts of Mary’s life in the context of Anglo-Scottish relations and shows why, after more than 400 years, she remains arguably the greatest character in popular Scottish history.
From bobbin boy in a Pittsburgh factory he progressed to messenger boy, telegraphist and railway superintendent. His meteoric rise owed much to his boss, Thomas Scott, who also cut the young Carnegie in on his first lucrative share deal. The youth who earned thirty-five dollars a month was on the road to his first million within a year or two, and he never looked back. Speculation in rolling-stock and railways, the nascent oil industry, iron and, above all, steel made Carnegie the richest man in the world. Along the way he created fortunes for many others, but trampled on friend and foe alike in his relentless pursuit of money.
Then, the man who amassed the largest fortune in the world proceeded to give most of it away. From free libraries to world peace, the Carnegie millions were pumped into a host of worthy causes. The Peace Palace at the Hague is the lasting legacy of this global philanthropy; but Carnegie’s faith in the Kaiser to achieve world peace was shattered by the outbreak of the First World War, and it was a setback from which he never recovered.
This candid and penetrating biography follows Carnegie from his humble birthplace in Dunfermline to the squalor of Allegheny City and Pittsburgh in the 1840s, and charts his dramatic rise to fame and fortune. Set against the contrasting backdrops of radical Scotland and America during the most turbulent phase of its development, Little Boss is the definitive story of one of the world’s greatest captains of industry.
Many of the myths that surrounded Lipton in the latter part of his life were created at this time and would be fixed for ever in his autobiography, published shortly after his death in 1931. Until now, what we know of Sir Thomas Lipton, grocery millionaire and yachtsman, is what he chose to tell the world about himself. Now literally detective James Mackay has uncovered the true story of one of the turn of the century's most extrordinary, larger-than-life characters, a story which is indefinitely more dramatic than the accepted version.
Virtually everything Lipton tells us about himself is now shown to be untrue - even the origins of his family, his name, his date of birth and the place where he was born. The man who was hailed as the world's most eligible bachelor (his name was linked romantically with Rose Fitzgerald, the future mother of John F. Kennedy) had at least two skeletons in the closet - a youthful indescretion which led to a forced marriage, and a homosexual affair which lasted for thirty years.
As a self-publicist he was a genius, and this was the key to his remarkable success. Beginning with a small shop in Glasgoe in 1871 he created a nationwide grocery chain second to none. In the process, he revolutionised the grocery retail trade, dealing direct with producers and eventually controlling production himself, with tea estates in Ceylon and meat-packing plants in Chicago. He combined a flair for organisation with superb showmanship, with stunts such as five-ton cheeses stuffed with gold sovereigns. In 1898 his company went public in one of the most successful share issues in stockmarket history.
Lipton developed an interest in yachting which he pursued with the same single-mindedness as his business ventures. Between 1898 and 1930 he challenged for the America's Cup with a succession of yachts called Shamrock, but the rules of the race were heavily weighted in favour of the American defenders. The saga of his challenges, his near triumphs and the disappointments that would have destroyed a less heroic figure has become the most stirring in the annals of sport, and provides a fitting conclusion to the life of a maverick and outsider who was also one of the most colourful and flamboyant tycoons of all time.