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Henry Ford (Lives & Legacies (Oxford)) Hardcover – May 16, 2013


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Product Details

  • Series: Lives & Legacies (Oxford)
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (May 16, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195316924
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195316926
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 1.4 x 5.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #429,770 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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

Review


"Curcio deftly conveys the intricacies of big auto business with direct prose, occasionally enriched by invocations of Shakespeare, ancient Greece, and Zen maxims." --Publishers Weekly


"An in-depth review of the life of Henry Ford. Recommended for its insights into Ford's darker side." --Library Journal


"A nuts-and-bolts biography of the great American visionary portrays a character of enormous contrasts."--Kirkus Reviews


"Curcio has provided a useful survey of the life of this enigmatic industrial titan that is ideal for general readers." --Booklist



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Customer Reviews

The book flows very well.
karkenahalli srinivas
Overall this is an accessible and fascinating insight into this business titan and well worth a read, even if you have only a passing interest.
Spider Monkey
Take the good with the bad, and you get to know the man.
Jean

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By John Reagan on July 5, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There may be someone currently writing who knows as much about the history of the American automobile industry as Vincent Curcio,
but if there is, I don't know who that person is. I've long been interested in this history, and as a result have read much about Ford. But I was not surprised when I read this new book to find that Curcio has distilled his vast knowledge into such a wonderful book. Curcio is more than a great biographer; he proved that with his extraordinary biography of Walter Chrysler. He's a great historian with a broad interest in the industrial revolution, and a particular focus on American automobile history. His elegant discussion of a most inelegant subject, Ford's anti-Semitism, in itself makes this book worth buying. There may not be a definitive Ford biography, but if there is, it may be this brief biography. Curcio could easily have give us a thousand pages, and all would have been interesting, but he honed it to 274 pages and has given us a jewel of a book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By William T. Weir on June 3, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Given the enormous number of books written about Ford, it's good to read this summary. The writing is straightforward and clear, and easy to read. I think Curcio was evenhanded in his handling of Mr. Ford; he gave both the good and the bad, and couldn't make a decision about which was foremost. Though clearly he admired Ford despite ...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By tom claridge on December 28, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
poorly written and no photos of what was a dramatic time building a huge company that should have been pictured fully!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jean on June 12, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A very interesting biography of Henry Ford. You think you know him because he is a household name. Actually, the book tells so much more about him than the automobile he invented. Take the good with the bad, and you get to know the man.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Joseph G. Wick on February 16, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Vincent Curcio is an experienced biographer who, incidentally, also wrote a biography of Walter Chrysler. So it is no surprise that this biography is as much a story of the automobile business as it is of Henry Ford. This book is extremely well researched and presents a picture of Ford touching both his virtues and vices. The extent of research is reflected in the acknowledgments, notes, and index which take up 30% of the book.

Ford was a complex person whose importance is not much realized today. For instance, many think he invented automobiles. He did not. Others think him the quintessence of the capitalist. He was not. Some have heard that he was an untutored ignoramus. He was not. His name is generally connected with automobiles, yet his influence in America may have been much larger in the agricultural field. For instance, his efforts led to the immense growth of soybean production in America and his tractors greatly multiplied the productivity of the family farmer across the board.

Rather, Ford changed the automobile industry in two major ways. First, he used “assembly line” methods and other techniques to continually improve manufacture. This allowed him to reduce the price of cars, unlike his competitors, to bring them into a broader market. Second, he was a progressive in terms of social conventions. He raised the pay of his workers to unheard of heights in the early twentieth century, much to the distress of his fellow industrialists. He hired the handicapped and Blacks when industry, generally, would not. The result was that for the first time, factory workers could afford the complex products they made. He set up unique training programs and provided “social services” to his workers almost before the government got into that business.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By L. Skardon on January 26, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A good overview of Ford's life, but in need of more depth. Perhaps more detail from his family's point of view would bolster the profile.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Ford was an extremely private person, per Mr. Curcio, and only a few hundred pages about a giant in our midst! Mr. Curcio had four times as much to write and expound on concerning another giant, Walter P Chrysler; what little information about Ford that was available, Mr. Curcio utilized and projected the greatness of an uneducated yet determined man who was somewhat able to attract dynamos like himself, to his company and create an unprecedented automotive empire, but who, in the end , allowed a great city to crumble and all in it to suffer the harm of a banking collapse; and all because he detested the Detroit elite.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a very concise and comprehensive book about Henry Ford. Very informative. The book flows very well. One gets a fairly complete picture of Henry Ford.
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