Henry J. Kaiser: builder in the modern American West

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University of Texas Press, Oct 1, 1989 - Biography & Autobiography - 358 pages
In the 1940s Henry J. Kaiser was a household name, as familiar then as Lee Iacocca and Donald Trump are now. Like a Horatio Alger hero, Kaiser rose from lower-middle-class origins to become an enormously wealthy entrepreneur, building roads, bridges, dams, and housing. He established giant businesses in cement, aluminum, chemicals, steel, health care, and tourism. During World War II, his companies built cargo planes and Liberty ships. After the war, he manufactured the Kaiser-Frazer automobiles. Along the way, he also became a major force in the development of the western United States, including Hawaii. Henry J. Kaiser: Builder in the Modern American West is the first biography of this remarkable man. Drawing on a wealth of archival material never before utilized, Mark Foster paints an evenhanded portrait of a man of driving ambition and integrity, perhaps the ultimate "can-do" capitalist. He covers Kaiser' entire life (1882-1967), emphasizing many business ventures. He demonstrates that Kaiser was the prototypical "frontier" entrepreneur who often used government and union support to tame the "wilderness."

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Henry J. Kaiser: builder in the modern American West

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Kaiser (1882-1967) was a captain of industry whose playing field spanned many sectors of the American economy--dam and road building, shipbuilding, steel, aviation, and more. His standing as a lesser ... Read full review


Launching a Career

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About the author (1989)

Mark Foster received his B.A. at Brown University in 1961 and his Ph.D. from the University of Southern California in 1971. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including Teacher of the Year at the University of Colorado at Denver in 1983 and Researcher of the Year at the University of Colorado at Denver in 2001.
His nine published books include FROM STREETCAR TO SUPERHIGHWAY: AMERICAN CITY PLANNERS AND URBAN TRANSPORTATION, 1900-1940 (Temple University Press); HENRY J. KAISER: BUILDER IN THE MODERN AMERICAN WEST (University of Texas Press); HENRY M. PORTER: ROCKY MOUNTAIN EMPIRE BUILDER (University Press of Colorado); and CASTLES IN THE SAND: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF CARL G. FISHER (University Press of Florida). He has also written three books about the history of baseball in Colorado.

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