Bonds of Enterprise uses the life of railroad entrepreneur John Murray Forbes to explore the shift from antebellum merchant capitalism to late ninetieth-century corporate capitalism, the rise of big business, technological innovations, farmer agitation for railroad rate control, and the process of government regulations. Forbes started off his business life as a China trader in the 1830s, returned to the States in time to surmount the Panic of 1837, and then—deciding that railroad construction should be based on existing settlement and traffic systems rather than speculative ambitions—became a master builder, beginning with the Michigan Central Railroad and ending with the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy system and the growth of Chicago as a railroad hub. Focusing on Forbes’s life allows Larson to elaborate on the contest of wills between eastern capitalists and Midwestern boosters and the complex patterns of regional growth, particularly in Iowa, Illinois, Michigan, and Nebraska.
“This is a terrific book, a dramatic family saga told in artful prose and filled with emotional turmoil, a few surprisingly touching moments but enough dysfunction for a couple of Eugene O’Neill plays.” —Rick Kogan, Chicago Tribune
When Rocky Wirtz took over the Wirtz Corporation in 2007, including management of the Chicago Blackhawks, the fiercely beloved hockey team had fallen to a humiliating nadir. As chronic losers playing to a deserted stadium, they were worse than bad—they were irrelevant. ESPN named the franchise the worst in all of sports. Rocky's resurrection of the team's fortunes was—publicly, at least—a feel-good tale of shrewd acumen. Behind the scenes, however, it would trigger a father, son, and brother-against-brother drama of Shakespearean proportions. The Breakaway reveals that untold story.
Arthur Wirtz founded the family's business empire during the Depression. From roots in real estate, "King Arthur" soon expanded into liquor and banking, running his operations with an iron hand and a devotion to profit that earned him the nickname Baron of the Bottom Line. His son Bill further expanded the conglomerate, taking the helm of the Blackhawks in 1966. "Dollar Bill" Wirtz demanded unflinching adherence to Arthur's traditions and was notorious for an equally fierce temperament.
Yet when Rocky took the reins of the business after Bill's death, it was an organization out of step with the times and financially adrift. The Hawks weren't only failing on the ice—the parlous state of the team's finances imperiled every facet of the Wirtz empire. To save the team and the company, Rocky launched a radical turnaround campaign. Yet his modest proposal to televise the Hawks' home games provoked fierce opposition from Wirtz family insiders, who considered any deviation from Arthur and Bill's doctrines to be heresy.
Rocky's break with the edicts of his grandfather and father led to a reversal for the ages—three Stanley Cup championships in six years, a feat Fortune magazine called "the greatest turnaround in sports business history." But this resurrection came at a price, a fracturing of Rocky's relationships with his brother and other siblings. In riveting prose that recounts a story spanning three generations, The Breakaway reveals an insider's view of a brilliant but difficult Chicago business and sports dynasty and the inspiring story of perseverance and courage in the face of intense family pressures.
Introduced at the 1876 Centennial Exposition and powered by an historic advertising campaign, Hires Root Beer—launched 10 years before Coca-Cola—blazed the trail for development of the American soft drink industry. Its inventor, Charles Elmer Hires, has been described as “a tycoon with the soul of a chemist.” In addition to creating root beer, Hires, a devoted family man and a pillar of the Quaker community, became a leading importer of botanical commodities, an authority on the vanilla bean. Starting from scratch, he also built one of the world’s largest condensed milk companies.
Charles E. Hires and the Drink that Wowed a Nation chronicles the humble origin and meteoric business success of this extraordinary entrepreneur. Author Bill Double uses published interviews, correspondence, newspaper reports, magazine articles, financial data, and a small family archive to tell this story of native ingenuity. Here, the rough-hewn capitalism of the gilded age, the evolution of the neighborhood drugstore, the rise of advertising in creating mass markets, and the emerging temperance movement all come together in a biography that, well, fizzes with entrepreneurial spirit.
Entrepreneurial Selves is an ethnography of neoliberalism. Bridging political economy and affect studies, Carla Freeman turns a spotlight on the entrepreneur, a figure saluted across the globe as the very embodiment of neoliberalism. Steeped in more than a decade of ethnography on the emergent entrepreneurial middle class of Barbados, she finds dramatic reworkings of selfhood, intimacy, labor, and life amid the rumbling effects of political-economic restructuring. She shows us that the déjà vu of neoliberalism, the global hailing of entrepreneurial flexibility and its concomitant project of self-making, can only be grasped through the thickness of cultural specificity where its costs and pleasures are unevenly felt. Freeman theorizes postcolonial neoliberalism by reimagining the Caribbean cultural model of 'reputation-respectability.' This remarkable book will allow readers to see how the material social practices formerly associated with resistance to capitalism (reputation) are being mobilized in ways that sustain neoliberal precepts and, in so doing, re-map class, race, and gender through a new emotional economy.
When you think of the founding fathers, you think of men like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin—exceptional minds and matchless statesmen who led the colonies to a seemingly impossible victory over the British and established the constitutional and legal framework for our democratic government. But the American Revolution was about far more than freedom and liberty. It was about economics as well.
Robert E. Wright and David J. Cowen here chronicle how a different group of founding fathers forged the wealth and institutions necessary to transform the American colonies from a diffuse alliance of contending business interests into one cohesive economic superpower. From Alexander Hamilton to Andrew Jackson, the authors focus on the lives of nine Americans in particular—some famous, some unknown, others misunderstood, but all among our nation’s financial founding fathers. Such men were instrumental in creating and nurturing a financial system that drove economic growth in the nascent United States because they were quick to realize that wealth was as crucial as the Constitution in securing the blessings of liberty and promoting the general welfare. The astonishing economic development made possible by our financial founding fathers was indispensable to the preservation of national unity and of support for a government that was then still a profoundly radical and delicate political experiment.
Grand in scope and vision, Financial Founding Fathers is an entertaining and inspiring history of the men who made America rich and steered her toward greatness.
Banker, hotel owner, and political powerhouse George Wingfield (1876-1959) was one of the most significant figures in Nevada’s history. He was the prime force behind the start-up of its tourism and gambling industries. Raymond’s biography details every step of his remarkable climb to power, his staggering fall into bankruptcy, and a phoenix-like rise with a second fortune in gold mining.
Daniel Harmon Brush came to southern Illinois from Vermont with his parents in the 1820s and found a frontier region radically different from his native New England. In this memoir, Brush, the eventual founder of Carbondale, Illinois, describes his early life in the northeast, his pioneer family’s move west, and their settlement near the Illinois River in Greene County, Illinois. Beginning as a store clerk, Brush worked hard and became very successful, serving in a number of public offices before founding the town of Carbondale in the 1850s, commanding a regiment in the Civil War, and practicing law, among other pursuits. Brush never let go of his pious New England roots, which often put him at odds with most other citizens in the region, many of whose families emigrated from the southern states and thus had different cultural and religious values. The memoir ends in 1861, as the Civil War starts, and Brush describes the growing unrest of Southern sympathizers in southern Illinois. Brush’s story shows how an outsider achieved success through hard work and perseverance and provides a valuable look at life on the western frontier.
In J. B. Hunt: The Long Haul to Success, Marvin Schwartz chronicles the remarkable achievements of Johnnie Bryan Hunt, a man who, in Schwartz’s words, “embodies the American rags-to-riches fable in its most engaging personification.” Hunt’s corporate strategies, entrepreneurism, and spiritual convictions come to light in this account of a small Arkansas business that grew to become the largest trucking company in the nation.
The documentary biography of Jacques Legardeur de Saint-Pierre, an officer in the Troupes de la Marine, who served throughout New France, sheds new light on the business activity of French colonial officers stationed in the West. Many of the eighty previously untranslated documents in Jacques Legardeur de Saint-Pierre demonstrate the extent and profitability of Saint-Pierre's pursuit of business activities while performing official duties in eighteenth-century French North America. The quest for profit permeated Saint- Pierre's career, particularly his command of the Western Sea Post after he succeeded the fabled Pierre Gaultier de Varennes et de la Vérendrye. Saint-Pierre and his secret partner General Jacques-Pierre de Taffanel de La Jonquière, Intendant François Bigot, and Meret, secretary to La Jonquière, used their positions to engage in extensive trade, especially brandy, with the Cree and Assiniboine northwest of Lake Superior. Saint-Pierre's activities provide fresh insights into the North American fur trade.
Poland in the 1980s was filled with shuttered restaurants and shops that bore such imaginative names as “bread,” “shoes,” and “milk products,” from which lines could stretch for days on the mere rumor there was something worth buying. But you’d be hard-pressed to recognize the same squares—buzzing with bars and cafés—today. In the years since the collapse of communism, Poland’s GDP has almost tripled, making it the eighth-largest economy in the European Union, with a wealth of well-educated and highly skilled workers and a buoyant private sector that competes in international markets. Many consider it one of the only European countries to have truly weathered the financial crisis.
As the Warsaw bureau chief for the Financial Times, Jan Cienski spent more than a decade talking with the people who did something that had never been done before: recreating a market economy out of a socialist one. Poland had always lagged behind wealthier Western Europe, but in the 1980s the gap had grown to its widest in centuries. But the corrupt Polish version of communism also created the conditions for its eventual revitalization, bringing forth a remarkably resilient and entrepreneurial people prepared to brave red tape and limited access to capital. In the 1990s, more than a million Polish people opened their own businesses, selling everything from bicycles to leather jackets, Japanese VCRs, and romance novels. The most business-savvy turned those primitive operations into complex corporations that now have global reach.
Well researched and accessibly and entertainingly written, Start-Up Poland tells the story of the opening bell in the East, painting lively portraits of the men and women who built successful businesses there, what their lives were like, and what they did to catapult their ideas to incredible success. At a time when Poland’s new right-wing government plays on past grievances and forms part of the populist and nationalist revolution sweeping the Western world, Cienski’s book also serves as a reminder that the past century has been the most successful in Poland’s history.
Leroy Daniels was born in 1882 near Adair, Iowa. When he was ten, his father gave him a pony and a checkbook and sent him out to buy cattle. By the time he was sixteen, he was alone on a ranch in Montana with a herd of seventy wild horses to break. At twenty-one, he was trading horses in the Chicago stockyards, where he told Henry Ford that a horse was better than a car any day. At one hundred, he retired to tell his memoirs.
The years in between are well worth reading about. Lee Daniels followed a plow all day long, worked coal to make ends meet, raised and traded and sold all manner of four-legged stock. But horses were always part of his life. Daniels traded them in Chicago for decades, sold them to Italy, England, France, and Belgium during World War I, inspected them for the army once the U.S. joined the Allies, bought them for eighty dollars in the morning and sold them for thousands by noon. He handled show horses, work horses, and trick horses, traveled the country over to fill his show barn with the best of them, befriended, understood, and loved them.
These pages tell the tale of a unique and vigorous American whose every word reveals his love of this land and its animals. If you weren't lucky enough to live like Lee Daniels, reading about his life is the next best thing.
When the White House Calls tells the life story of John Price, one of Utah’s most prominent citizens, beginning with his birth in Germany through his years as a successful builder and real estate developer—with business interests in broadcasting, manufacturing, distribution, and banking—to his life as a diplomat. Born in Berlin on August 18, 1933, Hans Joachim Praiss was five years old when he and his family fled Nazi Germany in April 1939. The family found temporary refuge in Panama, finally arriving at Ellis Island in September 1940 and settling in New York City. Following the advice of a professor at CCNY, Price traveled west to fulfill a geology fieldwork course requirement, but upon seeing the snow-capped mountains surrounding Salt Lake City, knew he would stay. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Geological Engineering from the University of Utah in 1956. He practiced in that field before tiring of the often rigorous travel requirements and the desolate nature of the work. He soon turned to new opportunities.
Years later, after operating successful business enterprises throughout the Intermountain region and nationally, and serving on numerous local, state, and national boards, Price had become the consummate entrepreneur, businessman, and community leader. He was ready to serve his country when the White House called. In February 2002 he was sworn in as U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Mauritius, the Republic of Seychelles, and the Union of the Comoros, three Indian Ocean island nations off the east coast of Africa, where he served until 2005.
In this telling autobiography, John Price focuses on his years as an ambassador and includes his thoughts on the future of sub-Saharan Africa. The account of his service as a diplomat offers readers a view of the daily life of an ambassador—the protocol for official meetings with heads of state, the routine of the office, the process of handling official communications, and the intricacies of diplomacy. More than that, in a world concerned with the global war on terror, he reflects on the three island nations where he served and on the region’s increasing strategic importance to the national security of the United States.
In the years since the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the al-Qaeda movement has grown and its members have dispersed throughout the world, including the region known as the Horn of Africa and East Africa. Price calls attention to the vulnerability of sub-Saharan Africa as a haven for terrorists, and the critical need for our engagement of this desperate continent with economic development, health care, and education to counter this threat. His concern for this region of Africa is carefully articulated in the text, as well as in interviews (included as appendixes) with notable country leaders. When the White House Calls is a compelling story of the American Dream realized, and the importance of service to country. This is a book that will both educate and inspire young people, their mentors, and others, as they work to make a difference in the world.