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Builders: Herman and George R. Brown
     

Builders: Herman and George R. Brown

by Joseph A. Pratt, Christopher J. Castaneda
 
Herman and George R. Brown, formidable figures in the construction industry and Texas politics, made a unique business team. Practical and decisive Herman and university-trained, soft-spoken George, a natural salesperson, combined their individual strengths with their shared work ethic and ambition to develop Brown & Root, one of America's preeminent construction

Overview

Herman and George R. Brown, formidable figures in the construction industry and Texas politics, made a unique business team. Practical and decisive Herman and university-trained, soft-spoken George, a natural salesperson, combined their individual strengths with their shared work ethic and ambition to develop Brown & Root, one of America's preeminent construction companies. Builders serves both as a history of their lives and as an examination of business life in mid-twentieth-century America.

Five years after he began a small road construction company in Central Texas in 1914, Herman, using capital from brother-in-law Dan Root, formed Brown & Root, with George joining the company in 1922. After searching aggressively for work during the Depression, they got a big break when they won the contract for the Marshall Ford Dam on the Colorado River in 1936. During World War II they grew into a national presence by building several large-scale military projects, and they carried that momentum through the post-war boom years, when Brown & Root expanded to become a diversified international company.

In addition to examining Herman and George Brown's business accomplishments, Joseph A. Pratt and Christopher J. Castaneda also address the political influence and antiunionism associated with the Brown name. The authors present a balanced account of both the Browns' treatment of workers and of their longtime relationship with Lyndon Baines Johnson. Builders also traces the brothers' philanthropy, including the work of the Brown Foundation, through which George in particular contributed to the development of educational and cultural institutions.

This biography should interest anyone whoappreciates the history of business and its practitioners.

Editorial Reviews

Bruce E. Seely

“Thus the book illuminates the history of business and urban development in twentieth century Houston and central Texas as much as it does the lives of Herman and George Brown. In the end, this volume on the Browns is a balanced case study of the relationship of business, economic power, and urban development in twentieth-century America.”--Bruce E. Seely, Journal of American History

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780890968406
Publisher:
Texas A&M University Press
Publication date:
11/16/1998
Series:
Kenneth E. Montague Series in Oil and Business History
Pages:
352
Product dimensions:
7.35(w) x 10.31(h) x 1.28(d)

Meet the Author


Joseph A. Pratt is Cullen Professor of History and Business at the University of Houston and has written or coauthored six books of business history. Christopher J. Castaneda is assistant professor of history and director of the Oral History Program at California State University, Sacramento. Together they wrote From Texas to the East: A Strategic History of Texas Eastern Corporation, which Texas A&M University Press published in 1993.

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