The Nitrate King: A Biography of “Colonel” John Thomas North (Studies of the Americas)

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9780230112803: The Nitrate King: A Biography of “Colonel” John Thomas North (Studies of the Americas)

William Edmundson examines the spectacular life story of 'Colonel' John Thomas North, also known as 'The Nitrate King,' a mechanic in Leeds who became one of the best-known and richest men of his time. Forgotten in Britain and vilified in Chile and Peru, this is the first biography of a controversial but compelling figure.

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From the Author:

This is the first book-length biography of John Thomas North (1842-1896), known as 'Colonel North' in Britain and throughout the world as 'The Nitrate King'. I have used sources in Britain and Chile to trace North's spectacular life from mechanic in Leeds, through thirteen years in Peru and Chile, to become one of the richest and best-known men of his generation, and the first Honorary Freeman of Leeds. While writing my previous book - A history of the British presence in Chile - I was struck by the fact that North is today almost completely forgotten in Britain, and remembered in Chile only to be vilified as the archetypal predatory capitalist. My book calls for a revaluation, and examines several controversies--principally the enduring allegations that North helped manipulate the War of the Pacific, and was active in triggering the Chilean Civil War of 1891. The book describes North's business investments; his re-invention as country gentleman at Avery Hill mansion; and his generosity, including the gift of Kirkstall Abbey to the city of Leeds.  

From the Back Cover:

"William Edmundson's The Nitrate King is a revealing, entertaining, and long-needed biography of one of the nineteenth-century's most flamboyant and controversial international capitalists-'Colonel' John Thomas North ... I read this book straight through. It is uncluttered by disciplinary jargon or moralizing, despite the wealth of serious academic sources consulted"--Brian Loveman, Professor of Political Science, Emeritus, San Diego State University. 

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Book Description Palgrave Macmillan. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Hardcover. 218 pages. The first book-length biography of John Thomas North (1842-1896), known as Colonel North in Britain and throughout the world as The Nitrate King, this book utilizes sources in Britain and Chile and traces Norths spectacular life from a mechanic in Leeds through his thirteen years in Peru and Chile culminating in his status as one of the richest and best-known men of his generation. North is today almost completely forgotten in Britain and remembered in Chile only to be vilified as the archetypal predatory capitalist. This book calls for a revaluation of North and examines several controversiesprincipally the enduring allegations that North manipulated the War of the Pacific and the Chilean Civil War of 1891. The book describes Norths business activities; his re-invention as country gentleman at Avery Hill mansion; and his generosity, including the gift of Kirkstall Abbey to the city of Leeds. This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Hardcover. Bookseller Inventory # 9780230112803

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