Author of fourteen biographies, Axel Madsen chronicles the people who shaped the 20th century. In The Deal Maker, he sheds light on a man whose tireless optimism led to the formation of the first super-corporation. A charismatic salesman in the late 19th century, William Durant started a cart-building business after accepting an especially comfortable ride one day. By the time he turned forty, he was a millionaire wondering what to do with the rest of his life. When he was approached by retired plumber David Buick and a group of friends from his hometown of Flint, Michigan, Durant had only ridden in an automobile twice. His ensuing creation of General Motors essentially invented modern-day corporate America, gaining and losing him three fortunes in the process. Durant's story highlights the uneasy relationship between inventors and those who control the capital to exploit those inventions. Nelson Runger's narration takes listeners to a time when men like Durant, Henry Ford, J.P. Morgan, and Pierre du Pont were making decisions that would shape America's future.
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"Madsen's study of Durant and the early automotive industry is a timely corrective for those persuaded that the unforgiving world of more recent high-tech business is unprecedented in the twentieth century. While men like Durant, Ford, Dort, Chrysler, Buick, and Chevrolet refashioned horse-drawn carriage-makers into automobile innovators, untold thousands of skilled laborers, engineers, racers, and businessmen were early business casualties. Nelson Runger calmly guides the listener through this intricate story of engineering and business maneuvers with a control and expressiveness properly governing its many fits and starts. Runger smoothly presents much detail, subtly speeding and slowing as the text requires. A lesser talent would have let the listener stall. L.V.B. (c) AudioFile 2001, Portland, Maine"
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