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Empire Builders

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The Mackinac Center for Public Policy’s latest book tells the inspiring stories of Michigan’s unique contributions to American economic might. Empire Builders: How Michigan Entrepreneurs Helped Make America Great reached book stores, schools, and libraries last fall with its history of the state’s triumphant entrepreneurial heroes including Ford, Durant, Dow, and Kellogg.

Dr. Burton W. Folsom, Jr., Mackinac Center senior fellow in economic education, wrote the book to illustrate the essential connection between Michigan’s mid-1800s flowering of economic freedom and the state’s subsequent growth in innovation, prosperity, and living standards.

The book traces Michigan’s history from its early fur-trading days in a remote, swampy wilderness to the dramatic state industrial policy failures that inspired constitutional changes and a more friendly environment for the job-creating entrepreneurs whose names became household words around the world.

The 205-page Empire Builders is receiving critical acclaim. Glowing praise by Second Renaissance Books and Laissez Faire Books has been joined by favorable reviews in Michigan newspapers. The Grand Rapids Press and Battle Creek Enquirer covered Folsom’s promotional book tour. Full-length columns by Detroit News Editorial Page Editor Thomas Bray and political columnist George Weeks applauded the book. Hillsdale College devoted an entire issue of Imprimis, the school’s influential monthly received by 760,000 readers, to an essay adapted from Empire Builders.

A generous grant by the Edward Lowe Foundation will place Empire Builders in all Michigan public libraries. The book’s publisher, Rhodes and Easton of Traverse City, has successfully promoted the book and put it on the shelves at major chain stores including Barnes and Noble, Waldenbooks, and Borders Books and Music.