Henry Ford (Lives and Legacies Series)

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9780195316926: Henry Ford (Lives and Legacies Series)

Most great figures in American history reveal great contradictions, and Henry Ford is no exception. He championed his workers, offering unprecedented wages, yet crushed their attempts to organize. Virulently anti-Semitic, he never employed fewer than 3,000 Jews. An outspoken pacifist, he made millions producing war materials. He urbanized the modern world, and then tried to drag it back into a romanticized rural past he'd helped to destroy.

As the American auto industry struggles to reinvent itself, Vincent Curcio's timely biography offers a wealth of new insight into the man who started it all. Henry Ford not only founded Ford Motor Company but institutionalized assembly line production and, some would argue, created the American middle class. By constantly improving his product and increasing sales, Ford was able to lower the price of the automobile until it became a universal commodity. He paid 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, as Curcio displays, Ford's anti-Semitism would forever stain his reputation. 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. Nevertheless, Ford's economic and social initiatives, as well as his deft handling of his public image, kept his popularity high among Americans. He offered good pay, good benefits, English language classes, and employment for those who struggled to find jobs--handicapped, African-American, and female workers. Such was his popularity that in 1923, the homespun, clean-living, xenophobic Henry Ford nearly won the Republican presidential nomination.

This new volume in the Lives and Legacies series explores the full impact of Ford's indisputable greatness, the deep flaws that complicate his legacy, and what he means for our own time.

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About the Author:


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.

From Booklist:

This compact and easily digestible chronicle of Ford offers a conventional, chronological account based primarily on secondary sources. Curcio tracks Ford’s life and accomplishments, beginning with his “moderately prosperous” childhood on a Michigan farm. Here Ford first revealed his fascination with machines and their practical application. As Curcio indicates, Ford didn’t “invent’ the modern automobile, but he was a brilliant innovator who understood how to get man and machines to work in tandem. He was also a social visionary whose efforts to provide high wages helped foster the expansion of the middle class to include industrial workers. This was, of course, enlightened self-interest, but Curcio also asserts that Ford acted out of genuine altruistic motives. Yet Ford was rigidly anti-union and employed violent thugs to quash organized efforts. Although he instituted color-blind hiring practices, he promoted a particularly virulent form of anti-Semitism. Curcio has provided a useful survey of the life of this enigmatic industrial titan that is ideal for general readers. --Jay Freeman

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Book Description Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 2013. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. 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. Bookseller Inventory # AAC9780195316926

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Book Description Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 2013. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. 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. Bookseller Inventory # BTE9780195316926

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Book Description Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 2013. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. 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. Bookseller Inventory # AAC9780195316926

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