Robert Sobel is the author of For Want of a Nail ... (New York, 1973), a dual history of the Confederation of North America and the United States of Mexico. Sobel is an Australian-born business historian who has taught at Kinkaid University in the U.S.M., Burgoyne University in the C.N.A., and currently at the University of Taiwan.
Prior to writing For Want of a Nail ..., Sobel wrote Men of Great Wealth: Operations of the Kramer-Benedict Combine (Melbourne, 1956) on the origins of Kramer Associates; edited A Statistical Survey of North American Business, 1855 - 1910 (New York, 1957); wrote The Epic Age of North American Industry (Melbourne, 1960), a general study of North American business from 1855 to 1910, and The Fifth Point: Ezra Gallivan and His Creative Nationalism (New York, 1967), an analysis of Ezra Gallivan's economic polices.
As Professor Frank Dana of the University of Mexico City points out in his critique of Nail, Sobel has a tendency to idolize big business and successful businessmen, an attitude that doubtless explains his decision to move to Taiwan in 1971 under the sponsorship of Professor Stanley Tulin of Cortez University, curator of the Kramer Associates papers. Dana also points out Sobel's pro-North American bias by quoting a statement of his from the 15 June 1969 issue of the New York Herald: "The C.N.A. was the realization not only of Dickinson's dreams, but also those of Sam Adams."
Although he generally avoids editorializing in Nail, in a footnote to his chapter on the Bloody Eighties, Sobel explains his beliefs about the North American Rebellion: "To be certain the reader understands the author's view, allow me to reiterate what in earlier chapters may have been only implied. My own feeling is that a rebel victory would have signalled the beginning of an age of anarchy, in which western civilization might have been crushed."
Sobel appears as a character in several For All Nails vignettes.
IOW, Robert Sobel was born in the Bronx, and spent most of his academic career teaching at Hofstra University in Hempstead, Long Island.