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Henry Ford (Lives and Legacies Series)

Henry Ford (Lives and Legacies Series) [Kindle Edition]

Vincent Curcio
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Product Description


Henry Ford is a brisk read, and one brimming with resonant detail. (Douglas Kennedy, The Times)

[A] succinct and illuminating narrative. (The Automobile)

Curcio's study is winningly even-handed and well researched. (Jonathan Wright, The Glasgow Herald)

Product Description

Most great figures in American history reveal great contradictions, and Henry Ford is no exception. He championed his workers, offering unprecedented wages, yet crushed their attempts to organize. Virulently anti-Semitic, he never employed fewer than 3,000 Jews. An outspoken pacifist, he made millions producing war materials. He urbanized the modern world, and then tried to drag it back into a romanticized rural past he'd helped to destroy.
As the American auto industry struggles to reinvent itself, Vincent Curcio's timely biography offers a wealth of new insight into the man who started it all. Henry Ford not only founded Ford Motor Company but institutionalized assembly line production and, some would argue, created the American middle class. By constantly improving his product and increasing sales, Ford was able to lower the price of the automobile until it became a universal commodity. He paid his workers so well that, for the first time in history, the people who manufactured a complex industrial product could own one. This was "Fordism"--social engineering on a vast scale. But, as Curcio displays, Ford's anti-Semitism would forever stain his reputation. Hitler admired him greatly, both for his anti-Semitism and his autocratic leadership, displaying Ford's picture in his bedroom and keeping a copy of Ford's My Life and Work by his bedside. Nevertheless, Ford's economic and social initiatives, as well as his deft handling of his public image, kept his popularity high among Americans. He offered good pay, good benefits, English language classes, and employment for those who struggled to find jobs--handicapped, African-American, and female workers. Such was his popularity that in 1923, the homespun, clean-living, xenophobic Henry Ford nearly won the Republican presidential nomination.
This new volume in the Lives and Legacies series explores the full impact of Ford's indisputable greatness, the deep flaws that complicate his legacy, and what he means for our own time.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 496 KB
  • Print Length: 334 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0195316924
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA (12 April 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S. r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00C4UR7QE
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #311,088 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Some much to know about Ford 24 July 2013
By Keith Lawson VINE VOICE
Format:Kindle Edition
One thinks they have a lot of knowledge about Ford - the assembly line, the Model T story - but this books reveals so much more. The politics, the anti-semitism yet an employer of Jews, the marketing, the union relationship. This is a warts and all biography that spells out the story of an age and one of its giants.
The book has been excellently researched and contains much detail and insight. It would be hard to gather all this information from trawling the internet, so thanks Mr Curcio for doing the hard graft for us. A fascinating read for the businessman, the industrialist, and the modern historian.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Affording Henry A Place In History 24 Oct 2013
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Henry Ford came from farming stock, was used to hard work and had a practical view of its value. According to Ford, 'Chop Your Own Wood and It Will Warm You Twice'. Unlike his siblings Ford did not like farm life regarding it tedious and inefficient. 'His displeasure with farm work...gave him a lifelong incentive to improve and alleviate the burdens of the farmer's toil'. This drew him towards the value of machinery in the improvement of production methods. He was taught to do everything to the best of his ability and pity others but not himself. He invented and repaired things on the farm and when presented with a watch on his thirteenth birthday immediately took it apart and reassembled it.

In 1879 when he was sixteen Ford went to live and work in Detroit, walking the six miles from Dearborn. He was employed by the Michigan Car Company but only stayed six days, losing his job when he quickly solved a problem which senior hands had worked on for hours. Ford, not one for expressing his emotions, ruefully recorded, 'I learned then not to tell all you know'. He moved to another firm where he learned to make and read blueprints. He took a second job at a jewelers to cover his rent. He later worked for a shipbuilding company and studied typewriting, bookkeeping and mechanical drawing in the evenings. All work and no play did not turn Henry into a dull boy. He was popular with girls, never touched alcohol or tobacco, which he regarded as poisons, married in 1888 and gave his wife control of the family finances.

Although he had settled on the farm Ford never lost his interest in the development of engines to replace horses. This occurred at a time when 'remarkable things were happening in the world of science, technology, and....transportation'.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A single-minded man on a mission. 5 Dec 2013
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Henry Ford was not a man you would want to cross, not one to forgive. However, if you worked well with him or served him well, then he would look after you. He seems to have spent most of his life in pursuit of something. Whether it was his dream of making cars for everyman or his later passions for streamlining processes or his zeal outside of engineering, he was a remarkable and single minded man.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Knocked-up quickly on the assembly line 21 Nov 2013
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
With an easy reading style and flow of story this is a fine casual and fairly informative read - and should be treated as no more than that.

The jacket has a lovely oxymoron in the blurb 'succinctly exhaustive' and by the end you are left to wonder just who decided that the book should race over Ford's life with little depth. It seems that no original research was carried out for this biography and Ford is kept at arm's length.

Unfortunately you do come across the odd hack history expression, such as 'It took another 18 years for Daimler and Benz in Germany to make one of these engines work in a vehicle.', which not only makes it sound like they were working flat out during that time on that particular problem, but also that they worked together.

And Curcio uses the affected and nonsensical 'BCE' instead of BC. Perhaps he just wants to be seen as 'with it', but any historian willing to wipe out history for the sake of new dogma makes you wonder what else he is willing to tamper with.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting 17 Nov 2013
By The Emperor TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
What an amazing character he was. Brilliant and ( occasionally) repulsive and a bit of an idiot sometimes.
His achievements were incredible though. He really was one of the makers of the twentieth century.
The book itself is well written and argued and for me at least contained just the right amount of detail, The author does a good job in providing evidence for his arguments.
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4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting view of a complex man 9 Nov 2013
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This was not my first biography of Henry Ford. The book is clearly well researched with detail I had not seen before. Mr Ford was a particular hero of mine from a young age and this book struck a discord with my view of him as a man, not necessarily a bad thing, but uncomfortable never the less. The points made by Vincent Curcio that upset my view were all around the failures Ford experienced latter in his life, things I had not read or known of before and in a way things I almost wish I did not know now. For me Mr Ford was always a man of decision and vision, to see him in the more flawed state portrayed in some stories with in the book left me a bit sad for the later years of Fords life.

Don't get me wrong, this is a good book and one well worth reading, you just need to be prepared to have your image of Henry Ford challenged. One last point, I have discussed this book more than any other I read this year which is a good indication of how it affected me.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Henry Ford Biography by Vincent Curcio
An interesting and very readable biography about a complex and controversial man. Ford is known to so many from his extremely successful motor car business and his creation of the... Read more
Published 5 months ago by C Hicks
4.0 out of 5 stars A great book
This is a really readable book on a very complicated man.I couldn't decide whether I looked or loathed Henry Ford but you can't ignore the fact that the man was a genius with a... Read more
Published 5 months ago by JB
4.0 out of 5 stars Henry Ford
This Henry Ford biography is a interesting and readable introduction to this much maligned, but complex character. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Spider Monkey
4.0 out of 5 stars Not just for the car enthusiast....
Henry Ford was a legend in his lifetime and there can't be many people in the world who have not heard of him, despite the fact that he died 50 years ago. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Book fiend
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant biography; finished feeling it could have been longer
Vincent Curcio is a historian with a stellar reputation, and in this biography he has produced a brilliant, detailed account of the lives of one of the most famous industrialists... Read more
Published 6 months ago by T. Richards
3.0 out of 5 stars Not particularly meaty enough for me
Whilst the man is most interesting, the book lacked any bite, although it covers his life in full. It is quite a bland read.
Published 6 months ago by Francis Xavier Hynes
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