Industrialist/statesman; Owen D. Young and American Enterprise: A Biography, by Josephine Young Case and Everett Needham Case. Boston: David R. Godine. 964 pp. $25.
Owen D. Young (1874-1962) was one of the half-dozen most important and influential industrialists and statesmen of the American '20s and '30s. The General Electric Corporation was largely his achievement. So, too, was the almost successful effort known as the ''Young Plan'' to undo the economic disaster of the punitive Versailles treaty (that ended World War I) and revive Europe's economy.
Young was a confidant of Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, and also of Franklin D. Roosevelt. He was among the few top American industrialists of his era who read correctly the collapse of the old order in 1929 and saw in Roosevelt a chance for necessary modernization. He spoke for Roosevelt in the 1932 campaign.
This is an important book for anyone wishing to recapture the flavor of America at the top level of industry and government during the years between World War I and World War II, or wishing to understand better how the great economic boom of the '20s ended in the economic disaster of the '30s.