Honorable Edward N. Breitung

With Son Edward and Granddaughter Juliet

Non-Fiction - Biography
363 Pages
Reviewed on 12/09/2023
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    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Honorable Edward N. Breitung: With Son Edward and Granddaughter Juliet is a work of non-fiction in the biography, historical writing, and family saga subgenres. Penned by author Michael S Nyquist, it is suitable for the general adult reading audience. The work is a true and compelling family saga that delves into the rise and fall of the Breitung family over two generations. The account begins with the ambitious patriarch, Edward N. Breitung Sr., who built a vast empire of land and mines in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, coupled with a successful political career. However, beneath this success lies family strife, infidelity, and a wandering eye that may have contributed to his downfall. The narrative continues as Edward's widow and his only surviving son, Edward Jr., marry into the Kaufman family, expanding their business ventures. The book highlights the complexities of family dynamics, legal battles, and suspicions of financial wrongdoing within the blended family.

Author Michael S Nyquist has crafted a work that offers a unique perspective on a lesser-known piece of American history and serves as a window into the challenges and triumphs faced by the Breitung family and others like them. As I read deeper and deeper, I was struck by the fascinating historical insights into the iron mining industry and the interconnected lives of the Breitung and Kaufman families. The intricate details and the vivid portrayal of the family's journey from success to ruin make for an engaging and thought-provoking read, and Nyquist’s strong vivid narrative skill really transports readers into the era. There’s a powerful sense of characterization that lends itself well to reminding us that these are real people who lived through these difficult and complex times. Overall, Honorable Edward N. Breitung is a work that lingers in the reader's mind, prompting reflection on the choices and actions that shape the destinies of individuals and their descendants, and I would certainly recommend it to biography fans everywhere.

Divine Zape

Michael Sheldon Nyquist’s biography, Honorable Edward N. Breitung: With Son Edward and Granddaughter Juliet, follows a family saga filled with the dynamics of loyalty, intrigue, and the rise and fall of a prominent lineage. Set against the backdrop of rich historical moments, the Breitung family's rise and eventual downfall are meticulously chronicled. The narrative focuses on patriarch Edward N. Breitung Sr., a figure larger than life. His extensive land acquisitions, iron mine ownership, and political stints created an influential legacy in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. However, the family's prosperity becomes ensnared in a series of trials — infidelity, failing health, and subsequent tragedy marred the patriarch’s life, leaving a legacy fraught with complexities.

Subsequent generations grapple with a diverse array of challenges. The fusion of the Breitung family with the Kaufmans traverses multiple industries, unveiling the challenges of blended relations that branch into banking, hospitality, transportation, and more. Internal strife and suspicions arise, highlighting greed, deceit, and internal family disputes that echo through the generations. The family’s foray into profiteering from WWI, along with entanglements in bombing plots, adds layers of gripping drama to the narrative. These events are intricately entwined with the family's struggle to maintain their wealth and reputation. The story unfurls a compelling tapestry of power, greed, and the unwavering ties of family amidst turbulent times. Nyquist’s narrative is a rich and multifaceted exploration that reveals a captivating tale of ambition, tragedy, and the intricate dynamics within a prominent American family. Honorable Edward N. Breitung is wonderfully written with strong historical references, detailed descriptions of the mining business in Michigan, and the atmosphere during WWI. The family figures in this biographical narrative are intriguing.

Sefina Hawke

Honorable Edward N. Breitung (With Son Edward and Granddaughter Juliet) by Michael S. Nyquist is a biography that would appeal most to a diverse audience of young adult and adult history lovers with an interest in the WWI time period. Edward N. Breitung Sr., the patriarch of the Breitung family, was well known for his purchases of land, ownership of various mines, and political positions. The auspiciousness of the family under its esteemed patriarch made many think the family’s good fortune would last forever, yet the family’s wealth and prestige were squandered within a mere two generations. Are you ready to learn the answer to the question of what led to the downfall of the Breitung family?

Honorable Edward N. Breitung by Michael S. Nyquist is a well-written biography that offers a unique insight into not only Edward N. Breitung and his family but also into the era in which they lived. This book is the first I have ever read about the Breitung family and I found them to be rather fascinating in regard to both their rise and their fall. The fact that Edward was able to achieve so much in a time without modern technology was simply amazing. While I found Edward quite interesting, it was his granddaughter Juliet that I really enjoyed reading about as I felt a connection with her and an interest in not only her life but how women lived during that time in history. Overall, I found this book to be a goldmine of historical information presented in a manner that kept the details interesting and kept me engrossed while reading.

Edith Wairimu

Honorable Edward N. Breitung: With Son Edward and Granddaughter Juliet by Michael Nyquist is an intriguing biography that documents the Breitung family’s political and business influence, including the drama and tragedies that plagued the family. Born in 1831 in Saxe-Meiningen, Germany, Breitung immigrated to America to avoid getting drafted in the First Schleswig War. He first settled in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and served as a store clerk. He moved to Detroit and later to Marquette to work for David Amburg & Co.’s mercantile business. In 1863, Breitung began ore explorations in the Menominee Range and started his company in 1864. He expanded his businesses and mining investments while pursuing political interests. The work follows Edward Jr.'s attempted involvement against USA interests in WWI; the lives of other family members; and the loss of their wealth.

Nyquist does a great job of painting a compelling portrait of Edward N. Breitung by covering his remarkable business and political feats while showing his flaws. The biography provides an expansive and educative historical context of the places mentioned, including interesting historical details about mining activities. I also found the lives of other family members interesting, including that of Breitung’s son, Edward Jr., and Breitung’s granddaughter. There are many sections in Breitung’s story and the stories of other family members that I found captivating including Breitung’s rise from a store clerk position to business magnate and politician. Equal parts absorbing and informative, Honorable Edward N. Breitung by Michael Nyquist is an outstanding, well-researched biography that readers will love.

Rabia Tanveer

Honorable Edward N. Breitung: With Son Edward and Granddaughter Juliet by Michael Sheldon Nyquist is the biography of a family that had it all before they lost everything. Edward N. Breitung was the patriarch of the family and the man spearheading their fortunes. Early investments, profitable purchases, and smart business methods led him to become one of the most influential people in Michigan. He became a senator and even Mayor of Negaunee before everything started to fall apart. His wife Mary’s infidelity left him with failing health, and soon death embraced him. His surviving son, Edward Jr., picked up the pieces of his father’s vast business, but things didn’t go as well. Marrying into the Kaufman family seemed like the right idea at the time, but things got worse when the Breitung family was subjected to fraud and deceit. Before Edward Jr. knew it, things were slipping from between his fingers, and all was lost.

I was fascinated by this family’s history and how everything was interlinked. Edward N. Breitung was an honorable man who worked hard and valued family over everything else. I felt bad when Edward found out about Mary’s infidelity. I felt his pain and confusion and wasn’t really surprised when he didn’t survive that shock. Author Michael Sheldon Nyquist gave Edward Sr. a larger-than-life portrayal, and it was fully justified. Edward Jr. was a smart man, but not as smart as his father. He didn’t have the influence of his father, but he made it work somehow. Juliet was a breath of fresh air. She knew what was happening and decided to rise above it all and follow in her grandfather’s footsteps. The narrative style was fantastic. The author started the story in 1849 when Edward N. Breitung Sr. came to American soil and ended it in 1963 with Juliet. It is an extensive look into a family, and I found that very fascinating. The images, the excerpts, and the information all made Honorable Edward N. Breitung a solid book to read!