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Publisher's Summary

A new, gripping history of America - told through the executives, bankers, farmers, and politicians who paved the way from colonial times to the present - reveals that this country was founded as much on the search for wealth and prosperity as on the desire for freedom.
The Land of Enterprise charts the development of American business from the colonial period to the present. It explores the nation's evolving economic, social, and political landscape by examining how different types of enterprising activities rose and fell, how new labor and production technologies supplanted old ones - and at what costs - and how Americans of all stripes responded to the tumultuous world of business. In particular, historian Benjamin Waterhouse highlights the changes in business practices, the development of different industries and sectors, and the complex relationship between business and national politics.
From executives and bankers to farmers and sailors, from union leaders to politicians to slaves, business history is American history, and Waterhouse pays tribute to the unnamed millions who traded their labor (sometimes by choice, often not) or decided what products to consume (sometimes informed, often not). Their story includes those who fought against what they saw as an oppressive system of exploitation as well as those who defended free markets from any outside intervention. Not only is The Land of Enterprise a comprehensive look into our past achievements but it offers clues as to how to confront the challenges of today's world: globalization, income inequality, and technological change.
©2017 Benjamin C. Waterhouse (P)2017 Simon & Schuster Audio
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Philo on 07-15-17

To me, the history that matters, thoroughly done

This book presents the story as if across a big, well-ordered map, and spices it with plenty of the crucial details that illuminate and connect its parts and major players over time. I have not anywhere else seen this thoroughness end-to-end in this compact of a package. I am seeing connections I never saw before.
The narrator is utterly professional and sharp, dependable and well-inflected. He seems incapable of mispronouncing a word, and has a fresh buoyancy always perfectly, if slightly, injected into the tempo of the performance. Yet I have to mildly struggle to stay focused as he talks; nothing too bad, mind you. What's the problem? Have you ever heard music that is slick, smooth, perfect, and yet uninspiring? Might I say, elevator music? There is something elusive and yet unsatisfying to me, about this unerringly professionalized delivery. Maybe it's my quirk. Maybe it microscopically tips the book a little too much into the territory of being something I know I should listen to, because it is good for me. Like taking castor oil (old image, that!).
But I wouldn't let this dissuade me from listening attentively to this book that is, frankly, extremely good for me. Here you will have a capsule explanation very carefully made of the meaning and importance of most every major business figure in American history. Take, for example, Henry Ford. What every American should know about him and his accomplishments and views is here, in context of the big history story, without spending 12 hours on it.

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