Henry Ford

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OUP USA, Jul 25, 2013 - Biography & Autobiography - 306 pages
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Most great figures in American culture and history reveal great contradictions, but none more so than Henry Ford. Vincent Curcio's compact, lively biography offers new insight on the man who not only founded Ford Motor Company and Henry Ford Company (later Cadillac) but also institutionalized the assembly line production process and (some argue) created the middle class in America. Ford invented an entire physical, economic and social system through the assembly line production of the Ford Model T automobile. By constantly improving his product, sales rose, enabling Ford to lower its price until it became a universal commodity. Ford created a market for this commodity by paying 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 Ford's anti-Semitism would forever stain his reputation and shadow his legacy. 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. Despite this, Ford's workers were loyal. Ford offered good pay, good benefits, English language classes, and employment for those who struggled to find jobs - handicapped, African-American and female workers. Ford was a man both invigorated by the possibilities of modernism and yet conflicted by its implications. This new Lives and Legacies volume explores the dimensions of Ford's indisputable greatness while acknowledging the deep flaws that complicate his legacy.
 

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Henry Ford

User Review  - Mary Jennings - Book Verdict

Curcio (former general manager, White Barn Theater; Chrysler: The Life and Times of an Automotive Genius) provides here an in-depth review of the life of Henry Ford. Covering his life from Ford's ... Read full review

HENRY FORD

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

A nuts-and-bolts biography of the great American visionary portrays a character of enormous contrasts.Curcio (Chrysler: The Life and Times of an Automotive Genius, 2000, etc.) certainly does not ... Read full review

Contents

HOW IT ALL BEGAN
1
WALKING INTO THE FUTURE
9
COOKING WITH GAS
22
THE FORD MOTOR COMPANY
40
THE MODEL T AND THE COMING OF MASS PRODUCTION
58
PEACE AND WAR AND CONSOLIDATING POWER
79
MODERN TIMES
112
HAS SOMETHING COME BETWEEN US?
131
A BODY IN MOTION TENDS TO STAY IN MOTION
159
EVERYTHING OLD IS NEW AGAIN
192
EFFLORESCENCE AND HARD ENDINGS
222
Acknowledgments
275
A Note on Sources
277
Index
283
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About the author (2013)


Vincent Curcio is the author of Suicide Blonde: The Life of Gloria Grahame; Chrysler: The Life and Times of an Automotive Genius; and, with Steven Englund, Charlie's Prep. He was the General Manager and Producer of Lucille Lortel's White Barn Theater for 25 years.