" Krupp is a meticulous company history, enhanced by the author's immersion in the company's archives. The book is also, inevitably, the biography of a family. . . . Krupp rewards a reader's effort. The book shows us not only a family and a company, but also the state in its various forms with which Krupp has been associated for two centuries. The Krupp story remains troubling, but Mr. James has done much to give us a richer understanding of a company saddled with one ignoble chapter in a long history." --Jennifer Siegel, Wall Street Journal
"What is good about Harold James' writing is that he does not make judgments or take sides. He allows the reader to do that." --R. Balashankar, Organiser
" Krupp has provided a reasonable, balanced summary of the company's history and the men driving it. As such the book will be an interesting read for the layperson interested in business history in general and the disputed history of Krupp in particular." --Armin Grünbacher, Economic History Review
"Harold James has succeeded in writing a concise account of one of the pivotal protagonists of German economic history. His book is accessible to a wide public while meeting academic standards and will surely become a point of reference for anyone interested in the history of Krupp." --Christof Dejung, German Historical Institute London
"A significant merit of Harold James' book on Krupp is that he melts the firm's history down into a readable approach. For someone acquainted with the history of the company, the study does not offer many new insights, but the work is solid and the author's judgments and evaluations are in most cases well founded. . . . James has written an interesting book, the first overall view of Krupp's history that meets scholarly standards." --Roman Koster, German History
Review of German edition: "This is a masterfully told and unprejudiced book about a traditional enterprise which despite many crises made its way into the twenty-first century." --Joachim Kppner, Süddeutsche Zeitung
The history of Krupp is the history of modern Germany. No company symbolized the best and worst of that history more than the famous steel and arms maker. In this book, Harold James tells the story of the Krupp family and its industrial empire between the early nineteenth century and the present, and analyzes its transition from a family business to one owned by a nonprofit foundation.
Krupp founded a small steel mill in 1811, which established the basis for one of the largest and most important companies in the world by the end of the century. Famously loyal to its highly paid workers, it rejected an exclusive focus on profit, but the company also played a central role in the armament of Nazi Germany and the firm's head was convicted as a war criminal at Nuremberg. Yet after the war Krupp managed to rebuild itself and become a symbol of Germany once again--this time open, economically successful, and socially responsible.
Books on Krupp tend to either denounce it as a diabolical enterprise or celebrate its technical ingenuity. In contrast, James presents a balanced account, showing that the owners felt ambivalent about the company's military connection even while becoming more and more entangled in Germany's aggressive politics during the imperial era and the Third Reich.
By placing the story of Krupp and its owners in a wide context, James also provides new insights into the political, social, and economic history of modern Germany.
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