Henry Ford and the Jews: The Mass Production of Hate

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Public Affairs, 2001 - Biography & Autobiography - 416 pages
"A visitor to Nazi Party headquarters in Munich in the winter of 1922 would have immediately observed a large table covered with copies of the German edition of The International Jew by Henry Ford, and a framed photograph of the industrialist-author hanging on Adolf Hitler's office wall. In Henry Ford and the Jews, biographer Neil Baldwin reveals the complex tale of how "Heinrich" Ford promoted a virulent brand of antisemitism, disseminating his point of view through a privately-published newspaper, The Dearborn Independent - and how the Jewish American community responded with alarm and courage." "The same formidable willpower and organizational instincts that led to Ford's renown and success as the inventor of the automobile assembly line, the same obsessive determination and singular focus that created the Ford Motor Company, resulted in the destructive mass production of hate. With America heading into World War I, Ford's media campaign took off and continued well into the 1930s, as he published The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, The International Jew, and, for ninety-one consecutive weeks, an uninterrupted series of venomous essays in The Dearborn Independent. Declaring "I know who caused the war," Henry Ford became ever more convinced that these "parasites, these sloths and lunatics ... apostles of murder," the "German-Jewish bankers" were liable for society's ills." "With access to previously-unreferenced oral history transcripts, archival correspondence, and unpublished family memoirs, Neil Baldwin painstakingly interprets Henry Ford's bizarre statements, erratic deeds and halting apologies. He examines the influential, conservative biases of the men at the inner circle of the Ford Motor Company, and carefully recounts the painful ideological struggles among an elite Jewish leadership reluctantly pitted against the clout and popularity of "The Flivver King." And he traces Ford's unmistakable impact upon the growing antisemitic movement in Europe during the anxious decade leading up to World War II." "Henry Ford and the Jews is the tragic, cautionary story of an American entrepreneur on a misguided mission."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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User Review  - HandelmanLibraryTINR - www.librarything.com

Describes how Henry Ford promoted his anti-Semitic views in "The Dearborn Independent" and other publications and examines the response of the Jewish community in America as well as Ford's impact on the spread of anti-Semitism in Europe before World War II. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Shrike58 - LibraryThing

A mediocre book about an important subject, as Baldwin appreciates that Ford's anti-Semitism was something more than traditional attitudes filtered through populist politics. The Henry Ford of this ... Read full review


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About the author (2001)

Neil Baldwin is executive director of the National Book Foundation.

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