The Nitrate King: A Biography of Colonel John Thomas North

Hardcover | March 15, 2011

byWilliam Edmundson

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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 North's 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 controversies—principally the enduring allegations that North manipulated the War of the Pacific and the Chilean Civil War of 1891. The book describes North's 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.

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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 North's spectacular life from a mechanic in Leeds through his thirteen years in Peru and Chile culminating in his status as one ...

William Edmundson works as a consultant and writer in Recife, Brazil, following a career in teacher training and management with the British Council that has taken him to Colombia, Mexico, Brazil, Chile, and his most recent appointment as Director Cuba.   Fluent in Spanish (and Portuguese), he started research into the history of the ...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:218 pages, 8.94 × 5.69 × 0.71 inPublished:March 15, 2011Publisher:Palgrave MacmillanLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0230112803

ISBN - 13:9780230112803

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Table of Contents

Prologue: He would be called quiet * We had adventures of all sorts * I was better acquainted than any other foreigner * Don Juan Tomás North * The Nitrate King * The Grand Promotion Army * Colonel North * The sensation of the hour * A visit to the Nitrate Kingdom * A millionaire stripped bare * Epilogue: I have enjoyed myself thoroughly * Appendix: The North family tree

Editorial Reviews

"Well-written . . . and contributes new information about North's life and the relation of that life to the economic development of Chile." - Michael Monteón, Professor of History, University of California, San Diego"A revealing, entertaining, and long-needed biography of one of the nineteenth-century's most flamboyant and controversial international capitalists - 'Colonel' John Thomas North.Edmundson adeptly exploits previously unknown archival materials, the contemporary press, and a vast academic literature on the nitrate industry and Chilean politics to bring the 'Colonel' back to life in all his complexity." - Brian Loveman, Professor of Political Science, Emeritus, San Diego State University and author of Chile: The Legacy of Hispanic Capitalismand No Higher Law: American Foreign Policy and the Western Hemisphere since 1776 "The author's research, conscientiously carried out in English archives, and the collaboration of experts in information and of libraries, not only proves the seriousness of Edmundson's work, but also the tireless idea of unraveling the life and actions of North in Chile and in other countries where he made investments." 'El regresso de John Thomas North,' Diario 21, Iquique, Chile. May 2, 2011 (trans.), Dr. Pedro Bravo-Elizondo (Ret.), Professor of Latin American Literature, Wichita State University. 'This is a splendid story of a man with great charm, who was an adventurer, buccaneer and speculator and who, in a short and eventful life, rose from a very modest beginning to acquire both fame and fortune … This book will make good reading for those interested in a comprehensive story of the nitrate industry.' Viscount Montgomery, Chilean News, (Bulletin of the Anglo-Chilean Society in London), No. 379, London. October 2011. pp. 10-11.