Book Talk with Author Mike Nagle

Visit Ludington Library to learn about a fascinating figure whose actions influenced the history and culture of the Great Lakes and beyond.

Ludington Library will host a talk with author Mike Nagle, December 7 at 7:00 pm. Nagle will showcase their latest work, The Forgotten Iron King of the Great Lakes: Eber Brock Ward, 1811–1875 (Wayne State University Press, 2022). The event will include a presentation on Ward’s life, as well as a reading, question and answer session, and an opportunity to purchase the book.

Eber Brock Ward began his career as a cabin boy on his uncle’s sailing vessels, but when he died he was the wealthiest man in Michigan. His business activities were vast and innovative. Ward was engaged in the steamboat, railroad, lumber, mining, and iron and steel industries. In 1864, his facility near Detroit became the first in the nation to produce steel using the more efficient Bessemer method. Michael W. Nagle demonstrates how much of Ward’s success was due to his ability to vertically integrate his business operations, which were undertaken decades before other more famous moguls, such as Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller. And yet, despite his countless successes, Ward’s life was filled with ruthless competition, labor conflict, familial dispute, and scandal.

Nagle is a professor of history and political science at West Shore Community College in Scottville. He also is the author of Justus S. Stearns: Michigan Pine King and Kentucky Coal Baron, 1845–1933 (Wayne State University Press, 2015), which won the Kentucky History Award. He lives in Ludington.

William M. Anderson, former director, Michigan Department of History, Arts & Libraries notes, “Professor Mike Nagle is tireless in his quest for knowing and exemplifies this ultimate standard. It is surprising that no other historian has been aware of and motivated to write a biography of Eber Brock Ward, a major manufacturing leader in Michigan’s history. Mike Nagle is adept at telling this intriguing and revealing story of an interesting character.”

Refreshments will be provided for this local author visit. All library programs and events are free.

Lisa Dains

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