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Henry Ford and the Jews: The Mass Production of Hate Hardcover – November 13, 2001

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Editorial Reviews Review

Henry Ford was not only one of America's great industrialists, he was also one of America's great haters. With "his rambling mouth" and his "volatile passions and budgetless financial resources," Ford became famous around the country and the world for his rabid anti-Semitism. "He did not like the Jews because he believed they were warmongering, manipulative, and alien," writes Neil Baldwin. A pacifist, Ford blamed the First World War on "German-Jewish bankers." In the 1920s, he published The Dearborn Independent, which featured notorious articles such as "The International Jew: The World's Problem." In 1938, he became the first American recipient of a Nazi award bestowed upon non-Germans. Baldwin details Ford's views and activities and also describes the phenomenon of anti-Semitism in the United States during the 1920s and 1930s. Henry Ford once declared, infamously, "History is more or less the bunk." His descendents seem to disagree. "Beginning with Henry Ford II," writes Baldwin, "succeeding generations of Fords have sought to put an end to Henry Ford's dark legacy" by supporting Israel and Jewish charities. Their actions bear out what one Jewish newspaper said in response to Ford in 1920: "We are firm in our belief that stupidity cannot triumph." --John Miller

From Publishers Weekly

The strength of this biography lies in context: by emphasizing Ford's background, influences and the world around the auto manufacturer, Baldwin (executive director of the National Book Foundation and author of Edison: Inventing the Century, etc.) brings a fresh approach to what has long been known about one of America's most famous anti-Semites. In the book's first part, Baldwin focuses on the climate of intellectual anti-Semitism that Ford experienced as a child and young adult and how these likely shaped his views about Jews. By the end of WWI, "Jews hatred was now an entrenched, permanent stain on Ford's psyche," which consistently teetered on the brink of sanity. Ford, who was raised on a farm, believed that Jews were responsible for the evils of modern cities and America's interventionist foreign policy, even as he remained friends with individual Jews. And as Baldwin disturbingly shows, Ford also put his twisted ideals into action by creating an anti-Semitic newspaper, the Dearborn Independent. (In this way, Ford was unlike Thomas Edison, whom Baldwin describes as a passive anti-Semite.) But Baldwin is not content to depict Ford's anti-Semitism and his cadre of like-minded people he also describes attempts to curb Ford's effect on society. After a lawsuit by a Jew maligned in the Independent, Ford eventually apologized with the help of Jewish organizations (whether or not that apology was sincere remains an open question). As he does elsewhere in the book, Baldwin probes the story behind this apology. His concise look at an organized American Jewry beginning to flex its muscles makes this excellent biography a tale of changing American ethnic relations. Illus. (Nov.)Forecast: The Jewish audience is a lock for this, but it should also appeal more broadly to students of American history and inter-ethnic relations.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs; 1st edition (November 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1891620525
  • ISBN-13: 978-1891620522
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.4 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,149,610 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

111 of 141 people found the following review helpful By Jerry on November 20, 2002
Format: Hardcover
YES - The essential facts put forward by Baldwin are correct: Ford was a major anti-semite and he gave money to the German Nazis, helping them into power.
Yet, Baldwin's research is pathetic... a great deal of it was his imagination. He fails to present facts put forward by Kurt Ludecke's I KNEW HITLER; or Bennett's WE NEVER CALLED HIM HENRY; with any accuracy - he simply makes up what he wants.
For example, Baldwin states that the day after Nazi fund raiser Kurt Ludecke visited Ford, and Ludecke was turned away, a telegram to Lukecke arrived the NEXT DAY stating that Ford wouldn't give money through Ludecke to Hitler. Yet - READ Ludecke's I KNEW HITLER - the only primary source available on Ludecke/Ford. In this ONLY first hand account, Ludecke writes that several WEEKS (not ONE day) passed between his meeting with Ford and arrival of the telegram in question.
Baldwin has failed here as he does throughout the book to provide an accurate account of events. He makes no mention of the difference in Ludecke's primary source account and his own secondary account. Baldwin has shown himself as incompetent.
I have researched this subject for over 2 years. Baldwin makes a
serious error on virtually every page. His errors show an incredible degree of sloppy research. He seems to have only half-read his sources. His book is a joke as a serious work on Ford, anti-semitism, German inter-war history, and Hitler A far, far, better book is Albert Lee's Henry Ford and the Jews (1980). Interestingly, in the forward of Baldwin's book he writes that he put Lee's book (the one with the SAME title which inspired him) on the "shelf" while writing his book. YET, he quotes Albert Lee's: Henry Ford And The Jews, often throughout his book.
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88 of 116 people found the following review helpful By taking a rest HALL OF FAME on December 6, 2001
Format: Hardcover
History must be revised when any new and accurate information appears. Neil Baldwin's book, "Henry Ford And The Jews The Mass Production Of Hate", utilizes some information that was only opened from archives in March of 2001. Further, no matter how much time may pass, history as portrayed in this book must always be available to new generations of readers. I believe that the darker aspects of this country's or any nation's history, must be documented accurately and fairly. Reality has demonstrated that with the passage of time facts are forgotten, and become the target for revisionists who replace history with fiction. Historical events like The Holocaust have been defended in court within the last 2 years. The defense was required to prove The Holocaust took place.
Mr. Baldwin has documented the actions of one of the most influential businessmen of the 20th Century. Mr. Henry Ford's achievements in the production of his cars are a fact of history. Mr. Ford was a talented man, and had he confined himself to what he was competent to conduct, his memory would be a very different one. Mr. Ford is portrayed in this book by a wide variety of sources as a man who was amazingly ill informed, a man who placed no value on education, was a tyrant to those who made his fortune, and a man who had the distinction of having his portrait on the wall of Adolph Hitler's Office. Like other notable names in American History he accepted the highest honor bestowed on a non-German by Hitler. Another recipient Charles Lindbergh could claim he had no idea he was to be presented with the, "Honor". Mr. Ford accepted his on the occasion of his birthday with 1500 invited guests. Another famous recipient of the award was Mr. Thomas Watson of IBM fame. Of the 3 men, only the latter had the common sense to return the medal.
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35 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Robert Morris HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 10, 2001
Format: Hardcover
As previously inaccessible material becomes available to an historian such as Baldwin (e.g. Ford-related documents released from archives in March of this year), it is possible to fill in at least some of the missing "pieces" of a complicated "puzzle" such as Henry Ford. By now Ford is widely recognized as an equal opportunity hater, not only of Jews, but as Baldwin suggests, he seems to have been obsessed with Jews. To a significant extent, Ford was a product of his times and of the specific circumstances of his youth and early career. He was not alone in his hatred of Jews nor was he alone when blaming them for all manner of social and economic crises whose true causes he was unwilling and/or unable to understand. Any evidence offered to dispute him was "bunk." No one questions Ford's importance in the development of 20th century business. His achievements were abundant, unique, and of major significance. Of course, Baldwin is fully aware of those achievements which are undeniable.
The focus of his book, rather, is on Henry Ford the human being, not the industrial icon. Baldwin creates a context within which to understand Ford's personality as well as the values which motivated his behavior. We learn about the nature and extent of his draconian control over those whom he employed. We learn about the people he hired to maintain that control at whatever cost. We learn about his fundamental hypocrisies such as blaming the Jews for exploiting world wars to their advantage while he and his company reaped great profits from them, especially from World War One. Ford was an ignorant man and apparently proud of it. He learned only what he needed to know to establish and then build what has since become one of the world's largest manufacturing companies.
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