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Peter Krass ’87 was featured Nov. 24 on “Booknotes,” C-Span’s author interview series, speaking on his biography of industrialist and renowned philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. Titled Carnegie, the book was published in October by John Wiley & Sons.

The program can be viewed, and its transcript read, at the “Booknotes” web site (

Krass, whose great-grandfather worked in a Carnegie steel mill, conducted research for the book in Pittsburgh, New York, Washington, D.C., and Scotland. It explores the contradictions in the life of “the man who rose from a lowly bobbin boy making $1.20 a week to build the most profitable steel company in the world, becoming the richest man in America.” Carnegie used his fortune to become a major political player in Great Britain and the U.S. He gave away more than $350 million, an astounding amount for his time. However, his philanthropy did not completely whitewash his legacy as an oppressive capitalist who drove his workers relentlessly.

Krass says his publisher was set to buy the rights for a Carnegie biography from another author when a discovery of plagiarism killed the deal. Since Krass had included information about Carnegie in other books and written a newspaper article about him, the publisher asked him to write a new biography. Previously, Krass conceived the idea of The Book of Wisdom, the first of several books in a series he edited for John Wiley & Sons.

Krass is a script consultant for BBC, which is producing a television program on Carnegie. He is working on his next biography, Blood & Whiskey: The Life and Times of Jack Daniel, an American Legend. According to Krass, the next book “is a bit more light-spirited than Carnegie and will require a fair amount of whisky tasting.” Krass has contributed articles to Investor’s Business Daily and Across the Board. For three years, he was managing editor of Best American Essays, an anthology.

An economics and business major at Lafayette, Krass credits his fraternity experience with helping him navigate the business world after graduation, which included a position as strategic marketing manager for Dun & Bradstreet. “I learned a lot about dealing with people who had different interests, and compromising with them,” he says. “Once you get into the business world, dealing with people is the most crucial thing. My best friends today still are people whom I met at Lafayette. There’s a strong network of Lafayette alumni I can rely on.”

Krass lives in Hanover, N.H. with his wife, Diana Mas Krass ’86, and their three children, Pierson, Alex, and Julia.

Categorized in: Alumni Profiles