Company town: the very phrase sounds un-American. Yet company towns are the essence of America. Hershey bars, Corning glassware, Kohler bathroom fixtures, Maytag washers, Spam?each is the signature product of a company town in which one business, for better or for worse, exercises a grip over the population. In The Company Town, Hardy Green, who has covered American business for over a decade, describes the emergence of these communities and their role in shaping the American economy since the country’s earliest years. But rather than adhering to a uniform blueprint, American company towns have come to represent two very different strands of capitalism: one humanistic, the other exploitative. Through the framework of this dichotomy, Green provides a compelling analysis of the effect of the company town on the development of American capitalism, and tells the sweeping tale of how the American economy has grown and changed over the years.