This is one in a series of inexpensive but superbly produced biographies created for younger readers (ages 7-9) that enable them to gain a much better understanding and appreciation of key figures throughout U.S. history, most of whom also had significant impact worldwide. That is certainly true of Henry Ford (July 30, 1863 - April 7, 1947) whose "light, low-priced car with an up-to-date engine of ample horsepower, and built of the very best material [would eventually] put the world on wheels." Moreover, the Ford Motor Company shocked the business world when it announced (on January 5, 1914) that it would increase the wage of its workers to five dollars a day (almost twice what his and other auto companies had been paying) while reducing the work day from nine hours to eight. According to Ford, "The five dollar day was the greatest cost-cutting move I ever made" as company doubled its profits from $30-million in 1914 to $60-million two years later.
How important is Henry Ford? It is difficult to think of another business leader who had a greater impact on his nation's economy, indeed on the societies and economies of other nations throughout the Americas, the UK, Europe, and Asia in which the dream of possessing an affordable automobile became a reality. Young people need to understand how Ford helped to develop "a car for everyone," the subject of Chapter 5. They also need to understand how Ford's contributions helped to create "a new middle class," the subject of Chapter 6. These and other subjects (e.g. the development of an interstate highway system as well as the transition from an agricultural economy to an industrial economy and the consequent population shifts that substantially increased the population of metropolitan areas) are all worthy of additional study. Henry Ford was directly or at least indirectly involved in most of the major changes in "the American way of life" during the first half of the 20th century. He once observed, "Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right." Early in his life, he had several bold ambitions and was convinced that he could achieve all of them. More often than not, he was right.
As is true of the other volumes in this series, this mini-biography is based on rock-solid historical material and includes a number of archival photos to supplement the lively narrative created by the Time editors in collaboration with Dina El Nabli. I feel obligated to add, that this is not a book written for younger "dummies" or "idiots." It ought to be in all school and public libraries and would also be an excellent birthday or holiday gift for children, one that parents, grandparents, and other relatives should consider.
Those who wish to learn more about Henry Ford are urged to check out his autobiography, My Life and Work, Steven Watts's The People's Tycoon: Henry Ford and the American Century, The Fords: An American Epic co-authored by Peter Collier and David Horowitz, and Douglas G. Brinkley's Wheels for the World: Henry Ford, His Company, and a Century of Progress.