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Henry Ford (Lives and Legacies) Hardcover – 25 Jul 2013

4.1 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: OUP USA (25 July 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195316924
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195316926
  • Product Dimensions: 20.8 x 3.6 x 15 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 484,439 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Review

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)

About the Author

Vincent Curcio , a veteran theatrical manager-producer, is the author of Chrysler: The Life and Times of an Automotive Genius. A long-time car enthusiast, he divides his time between Union City, New Jersey, Paris, and the White Barn Theatre in Westport, Connecticut.


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4.1 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

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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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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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
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. I am emphatically not someone who spends their time with my nose under the car bonnet nor even particularly minds what a vehicle looks like but, because Ford is a name we all grew up with and have very probably owned a Ford car, I felt it would be good to know a bit more about a man whose name resonates still.
This biography is a manageable length and is easy to read despite being an extremely American publication, not just in terms of the spelling but some of the phraseology. You have to remember all the way through that 'gas' is what we call 'petrol'! But the story is about a completely American man. That said, it is a remarkable story of a remarkable man who had virtually no education, was brought up on a farm and became a completely self-made industrialist on a vast scale. He was an extraordinary mixture of philanthropist and hard-nosed businessman with some completely inspired and brilliant ideas as well as some very wrong-headed opinions which nearly led him to disaster several times. He must also have had a very compelling personality to command such loyalty, and was also a huge champion of education and self-help for the under-privileged, employing handicapped and disadvantaged people at a time when no-one else would have dreamed of doing so. He gave liberally with one hand and at times took with the other pretty savagely and yet remained an American idol, nearly becoming a Senator and almost being persuaded to run for President. He had a hand in the most amazing amount of industries, many of which were a complete surprise to me and he should be remembered for many of his enterprises other than just cars. Well worth reading - and just the thing to give your Dad or brother for Christmas.
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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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