The Evergreen: Volume 2

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Publisher
Evergreen
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Published on
Dec 31, 1845
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Pages
438
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Language
English
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This content is DRM free.
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In My End Is My Beginning is the story of Mary Queen of Scots (1542–87), the tragic heroine par excellence. Queen of an unfamiliar and troubled nation when she was a week old, it was her misfortune to be a pawn in the game of international politics throughout her life. Even in the brief period from 1561 to 1567 when she was ruler of Scotland in fact as well as in name, she was beset with problems that would have defeated a much stronger, more experienced monarch. A talented poet and a charismatic leader, she contended with a treacherous, self-serving nobility, the religious ferment of the Reformation, and the political ambitions of larger and more powerful neighbours.

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.

Andrew Carnegie (1835–1922) was a mass of contradictions: a radical Chartist who became a rabid capitalist, an idealist who was also a profound cynic, a committed pacifist who also played a crucial role in the opening part of the American Civil War, and a ladies’ man who had to wait until his fifties (after his domineering mother died) before forming a meaningful relationship with a woman.

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.

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