The Pittsburgh Narrative

Well, not *everyone* is on board with the new Pittsburgh renaissance (small "n" on purpose). I'm told that the most recent episode of the Showtime series "Weeds" was titled "Pittsburgh," as in, "nothing interesting ever happens there." And last next Sunday's New York Times runs a book review titled "Pittsburgh Pirates" that covers the era of Mellon, Carnegie, and Frick in distinctly nostalgic terms (while reviewing two new books, "Andrew Carnegie" by David Nasaw, and "Mellon: An American Life," by David Cannadine). The Economist's review of Cannadine's book includes Westinghouse and Heinz in its list of early 20th century Western PA industrialists and captures the sentiment romantically and succinctly:
Mellon was more than a mere shareholder in blue-chip businesses or a supplier of loans to them. He was the leading, risk-taking, venture capitalist in Pittsburgh, the Silicon Valley of its day.

During the burst of industrialisation between the 1860s and 1920s that transformed America into the world's leading economic power, Pittsburgh led the way.


1 Response to "The Pittsburgh Narrative"

Mike Madison said... 11/02/2006 11:44 PM

Thanks to Jim, Christian, and Susanna: I've corrected the timing of the NYT story that this post refers to.

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Pittsblog 2.0 is written by Mike Madison, a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh. Send email to michael.j.madison[at] Mike also blogs at, on law and technology. Chris Briem of Null Space drops by from time to time.

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