From Publishers Weekly
Pelfrey's biography of the two founders of General Motors, Billy Durant and Alfred Sloan, evokes times when what was good for General Motors was good for America. Pelfrey, a journalist and author, makes the auto business in its early days sound like Silicon Valley: venture capital was plentiful and overnight fortunes flourished. Durant, a dynamic and colorful entrepreneur who made millions in buggy manufacturing before advancing to the newfangled automobile, has been largely forgotten. After dabbling in Wall Street and losing his fortune in speculation, Durant died in penury, supported by old GM partners while attempting to launch a bowling and fast food empire. Conversely, Sloan, the staid and reserved engineer who organized GM in the wake of Durant's enthusiasms, has won the ear of history. Though the attentive reader may suspect Pelfrey has sugarcoated history, his account of the nascent auto business is fascinating: Henry Ford, admired for streamlining and automating auto production, originally balked at manufacturing cars at all, and Cadillac, Buick and Oldsmobile all have surprising origins. Pelfrey's is an engrossing account of the fledgling days of the American auto industry; a bumpy, surprising and entertaining ride.
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"Business Times (New Haven, CT): ""Through the lens of history at its most gripping, this book reveals why American business needs both intuitive, risk-taking Billys and logical, bottom-line conscious Alfreds.""
ForeWord: ""The author tells an amazing story, previously largely untold...this is an illuminating, yet little known saga of the clash between eternal dreamers, inventors, tinkerers, and salesmen at the dawn of the twentieth century."""
“This fresh look at early GM is timely and interesting.”
“Pelfrey's work is both entertaining and instructive...[the] book does not predict GM's future. But it masterfully tells about GM's past and, in doing so, helps explain what recently went wrong at the company.”
“entertaining and instructive… masterfully tells about GM's past and... helps explain what recently went wrong at the company.”
“…easy to read and extremely well researched.”
-World Business Review