• Independent man: the life of Senator James Couzens

    First published in 1958 by Charles Scribner’s Sons, Independent Man is the only book-length biography of one of Michigan’s most remarkable men. His many careers embraced both the business and political spheres.

    Couzens was a prominent businessman who helped shape Ford Motor Company, but he left the company when he and Henry Ford clashed over politics. Upon leaving Ford, Couzens began his political career, first serving as Detroit’s police commissioner. He went on to a controversial term as ma…

  • John Jacob Astor: business and finance in the early republic

    John Jacob Astor was the best-known and most important American businessman for more than a half-century. His career encompassed the country's formative economic years from the precarious days following the American Revolution to the emergence of an urban-centered manufacturing economy in the late 1840s. Change was the dominant motif of the period, and Astor either exemplified the varied economic, social, and political changes in his business career or he directly affected the course of event…

  • Maurice Sugar: law, labor, and the left in Detroit, 1912-1950

    It was Maurice Sugar, labor activist and lawyer for the United Auto Workers, who played a key role in guiding the newly-formed union through the treacherous legal terrain obstructing its development in the 1930s. He orchestrated the injunction hearings on the Dodge Main strike and defended the legality of the sit-down tactic. As the UAW's General Council, he wrote the union's constitution in 1939, a model of democratic thinking. Sugar worked with George Addes, UAW Secretary-Treasurer, to nurture…