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Wheels for the World: Henry Ford, His Company, and a Century of Progress Paperback – 1 Jun 2004

4.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 896 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (Jun. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0142004391
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142004395
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 4.6 x 21.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 140,049 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review

A comprehensive and briskly paced account of the man, the machines, and the company that dramatically influenced the course of 20th-century America... highly readable and engrossing. ("BusinessWeek") History on a grand scale!... Sweeping, absorbing. (Robert Caro)

"A comprehensive and briskly paced account of the man, the machines, and the company that dramatically influenced the course of 20th-century America... highly readable and engrossing." --BusinessWeek

"[A] comprehensive and highly readable...first rate corporate history." --The New York Times

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By Rolf Dobelli TOP 500 REVIEWER on 1 Mar. 2004
Format: Hardcover
It would be difficult to conceive of a more detailed corporate history. Author Douglas Brinkley offers an interesting, lucid narrative of Henry Ford’s early experiments with the automobile, and his first, unsuccessful companies. He promises and delivers a “warts and all” picture of Ford’s history. Brinkley is at his strongest discussing Ford’s origins. But the book is also sprawling, diffuse and unfocused, with a somewhat confusing tendency to jump back and forth along the twentieth century timeline. It is more than a biography of Henry Ford, but less than a thorough history of the Ford Motor Company. The author nods in the direction of the technological, managerial and financial forces that have shaped Ford since the 1950s, though he presents Ford’s (both man and company) earlier history in vivid detail. The impact of what Henry Ford did and how he did it still shapes industry in the United States. We recommend Brinkley’s book for its revealing picture of one of the twentieth century’s most influential industrialists.
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Format: Paperback
An excellent start to the book in a biography of Henry Ford and how he came to be involved in automobiles and the founding of the Ford company.

From the 1900s to the 1930s the book described how the automobile industry and Ford grew. The growth of the industry is nicley tied in with the social and tecnological developments in the US, how that affected the industry and how the industry (and Henry Ford himself) affected the US. Very good reading.

However, the final 2/3 of the book is fairly unsatisfying to read. Much of it consists of details of the politics of the company, CEOs, whos who and a fair bit of fairly unrelated waffle. You wonder if Ford actually built cars during a large part of the history, since theres very little mention of the cars being built. Furthermore, the book begins to read more like a lot of little newspaper snippets and documents all thrown into one. This results in a fairly poor flow in the storyline and a lot of sidetracks and unrelated and dull information.

A whole chapter on "Quality Crisis" contains mostly details of negotiating of pay with the unions. A missed oppourtunity for what could have been an interesting subject.

Its also worth noting that apart from Henry Ford's early experiments with automobiles, there is almost no detail on technology developments or details of the cars that were made during the history of Ford. You will be lucky to hear of a model name, and rarely will you be told of engine layout or styling and never of engine size, or any devlelopments the vehicle had.

Its still worth the read for the excellent first part of the book but be prepared for some page skipping after that.
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Format: Paperback
Full of facts and figures about Ford and his contribution to the prosperity of America in the 20th century. It shows how Henry Ford contributed in polictics, farming, and obviosuly the car industry.
Perfect book to find out the positive side of Henry Ford although another may be needed if you want to develop an arguement as there are hardly any negative aspects in the book. Still worth the read
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars 37 reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A Terrific Read and Companionable History of An Industry 9 Feb. 2017
By JSH12 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book was recommended to me by a friend who bought it at a flea market before passing it on to a brother. We spoke about it and I borrowed it from the local library. I was so impressed with the comprehensive research that was demonstrated in the compilation of history related to the activities engaged in by the Fords and the use of placing all of the action in the context of current events, I had to buy it to read/refer to again.

The book arrived earlier than expected and in pristine condition.
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, Comprehensive History of Ford and the Early Days of the Auto! 7 Jun. 2013
By Rob H. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The author tells the story with interesting detail, describing Ford, the man; and Ford, the car; and Ford, the company. I was amazed to learn that Mr. Ford bankrupted two car companies before getting it right the third time, but was such a salesman that some investors stayed with him throughout! The development and durable success of the Model T as-told here could be a book unto itself! Completely new to me was the revelation of Edsel Ford as a man of style and sensitivity, the father of the Lincoln Continental who, had he seen the car which bore his name as a memorial to his untimely death, would have never let that car out of the factory. The early days of the UAW are discussed, as well as Ford's noble but awkward efforts to help less capable employees manage their personal finances and win battles with alcoholism. Henry's puzzling anti-Semitism, his comparatively progressive attitudes toward race and worker pay, and his naïve attempts at peace-making before World War I all help reveal a truer picture of one of the towering figures in American history.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars FAIR BOOK, BUT NOT GREAT- 29 Nov. 2012
By W. Sockwell - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The first 2/3 of the book goes on about Henry Ford-the man- NOT the company. There is no true in-depth insight about the cars themselves. Then, the worst part of the book is in it's lightly skimmimg the waters of the postwar years. With the dramatic ideas of the Crestliner, the Victoria, the OHV V-8, the Lincoln Capri, the Skyliner glass-top, the Crown Victoria, the Skyliner Retractable hardtop, Lincoln Continental Mk. !!, the Edsel, the Falcon, the Mustang and Shelby Cobra; all are covered through very quickly, if at all, without the great details of the first 2/3rds of the book. At one point he succumbs to cutesy car songs, which completely let me down (he doesn't know his music any better than he does the '50s cars). The book was fairly good, but I was expecting SO MUCH better, especially on the postwar years.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Old Henry 6 Jun. 2013
By mikeythereader - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Old Henry made a fortune in spite of himself. He treated his only son like a servant. He was an avowed and loud anti-semite. This is a long book but if you ever had a hankering to know about Ford Motor Company this is the one to read. Brinkley tells the story like a great novel that just when you get ready to put it down you will find yet another enticement to keep on reading. One of the best books I have ever read on business. This old buzzard, Henry the first was damn lucky. He had expected devout loyalty from his managers but cast them aside if they showed enough courage to dare question one of his decisions. Again great book.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great early Ford history 26 Oct. 2008
By SpeedoNJ - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I liked this book a lot and obviously a substantial amount of energy was put into research.
One thing though.......it is so comprehensive up to Henry's death, and then little is left for the days of HenryII et al. So, my remark is what about the exciting post-war years and then the present? The old 3 volume Nevins book covers this more thoroughly.At least until 1962.
So, I want suggestions about a Ford history through the Iaccoca years til now. Yes, we know he built the Mustang, but Henry built the Model T and a lot more was written about him. Will have to do a search for Hank the Deuce material too.
And I leave it at that.....should have been called a half century of progress
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