A capsule tour of the variety of inspiration and efforts that mark American entrepreneurial history. The author has assembled a cast of 25 American business leaders who have defined and thrived in various historical eras, beginning just after the Revolutionary War and running to the present. Brands’s (History/Texas A&M Univ.; The Reckless Decade, 1995, etc.) 25 pivotal figures range from classic captains of industry, such as Cornelius Vanderbilt and Andrew Carnegie, to media mavens Ted Turner and Oprah Winfrey. Few, if any, of the entries will be strangers to most readers, nor are any of their histories told here for the first time. The achievement of this collection and the retelling of the businesses generated is to show the themes of success shared by all the parties, subtly stressed throughout and summed up in a short, final chapter. Simply put, they were: “good health and abundant energy”; “they were hungry”; “intense gratification with his or her work”; “ability to persuade others”; and “creative vision.” Covering this much ground, chronologies are necessarily shortened and condensed; however, they are typically penned with style, as in a description of Ted Turner’s jump-start in business after his father committed suicide, riddled with doubts after having just expanded his business. Turner, Brands tells us, “held on to the expanded Turner Advertising of his father’s hopes rather than the diminished company of his father’s fears.” The freshness of the narrative is well suited to the positive message imparted by the contents. It serves as an invigorating justification of the business of business but will also perform well as an introduction to the pioneers of major industries and the nature of their contributions.