Books: Who Made America Rich?

Harold Evans celebrates the nation's most innovative thinkers for 200 years of wealth building

THREE YEARS BEFORE John Fitch began contemplating the absurd--a boat powered by steam, not wind or men with oars--a warring band of Delaware Indians seized his raft, which was heading up the Ohio River with flour for settlers. The Indians scalped two of his companions; Fitch narrowly escaped a tomahawk blow to the head. This was his second brush with death at the hands of the Delaware tribe, whose swift canoes in 1782 often rendered the settlers' plodding rafts easy prey.

Flash forward: at the helm of his yacht Tenacious, Ted Turner battled 40-ft. waves for four hours in a storm...