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Mondo Agnelli: Fiat, Chrysler, and the Power of a Dynasty Hardcover – December 13, 2011


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (December 13, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1118018524
  • ISBN-13: 978-1118018521
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 6.4 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #731,366 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review




From the Author: Five Things You Should Know About Fiat
Author Jennifer Clark
1. Fiat is four years older than the Ford Motor Company. Giovanni Agnelli and a group of Turin businessmen set up Fiat in 1899, while Henry Ford founded the Ford Motor Company in 1903. Giovanni Agnelli visited for the first time in 1906, and probably met Henry for the first time that year. The two auto barons became friends, and Giovanni kept a photograph of himself and Henry on his desk for years. Giovanni's grandson Gianni socialized with Henry Ford II.

2. Fiat is more than cars. During its peak, its slogan was "Land, Sea, Sky" because it made engines for everything from ocean liners to trains to helicopters to planes. At its peak in the post-war boom of the 1960s, it even made refrigerators. Its engineering prowess was widely recognized. Guglielmo Marconi, the inventor of the radio, worked at Fiat"s Magneti Marelli spare parts company. Fiat now makes tractors and construction equipment as well as Ferraris, Fiats and Alfa Romeos.

3. Fiat was the only company in the world willing to buy Chrysler at the end of 2008. 4. Fiat's Balilla – the precursor to today's zippy 500 – was a "people's car" launched in 1932 that pre-dated the Volkswage's Beetle by about five years.

5. Fiat Chairman John Elkann is the first Agnelli family member at the helm of Fiat who doesn't bear the Agnelli name. He is the great-great-grandson of the company's founder, Giovanni Agnelli.


Review

"But the soul of the book is the 113-year story of feisty Fiat and the larger-than-life Agnelli family. That's when it's time to click your seat belt for a yarn that's rich with affairs, suicides, drugs, family lawsuits, secrecy, hidden assets, offshore accounts, Benito Mussolini, princes and princesses, Jackie Kennedy, palaces and yachts, spectacular weddings, stately funerals and deep family loyalty." (USA TODAY.com, February 2012)

More About the Author

Jennifer Clark is an American expat journalist who has dedicated over 20 years of her professional life to writing about Italian business and politics. Born in Chicago, Illinois, she now lives in Milan, Italy with her Italian husband. She currently writes about the Italian car business for ThomsonReuters.

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Customer Reviews

Lets call it how to clean practically anything big and bad...the spot is Chrysler.
buddy arendt
Giani Agnelli's playboy life style, the realationship with other great families like the Kennedy's and their own personal tragedies carry the reader through the book.
Susan Gillham
Chrysler management, FIAT management, the UAW, Chrysler bond holders, and the Obama administration were all highly motivated.
John Mccarrier

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Susan Hekman on December 27, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a fascinating book, and a very complex one. On one hand it is the story of two car companies on the brink of failure and how, against all odds, they survived and thrived. But it is also the story of the Agnelli family's vivid cast of characters. Ms. Clark describes the members of the family in compelling terms - you can almost see them in their privileged life and the trials and tribulations that they suffered. Her depiction of some to the key events, weddings, suicides, and family gatherings are so clear that the readers feels present. Further, her description of the economics of the story is clear enough for those of us who are not economists to understand yet conveys the complexities of the situation.
In short, a must read. You will learn a lot and also have a lot of fun. Happy reading!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Susan Gillham on January 8, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Mondo Agnelli, the book by Jennifer Clark, reads like a historical fiction/industrial espionage. J Clark, through her indepth presentation of the Agnelli family, draws the reader into the power of the family and its effects on war, politics and the creation of the middle class as it is known in Italy today. Giani Agnelli's playboy life style, the realationship with other great families like the Kennedy's and their own personal tragedies carry the reader through the book. Before long you are reading about complicated international banking as a gripping drama.
Clark brings FIAT and the Agnelli family to the current day. The Chrysler take-over and the intense international meetings give greater weight and clarity to all that has gone on in the past three years in the U.S. auto industy. This book marries politics, history, and international banking with the stories of the rich and famous in one good read. I highly recommend this book.
There are many typos in this book which can be distracting when you read it. My advice is to read over them and hopefully the editors will get it right in the next printing.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By M. P. Henley on December 21, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Having read a half dozen books on the Big Three and a few other books on foreign cars, I was expecting a lot of detail, like Bob Lutz writes in his books, about the vehicles, management style, and regulators or other obstacles in the path of the Fiat/Chrysler event. What I was not expecting was a genealogy soap opera. The writer made reference to the Kennedy family of America and its tragedies in a comparison with the long history of the Agnelli family and Fiat. The single value of the first 13 chapters of the book was learning what the letters F-I-A-T meant. The final two chapters contained the material constituting the reason I bought the book. If you want to read a good car book, don't waste your money and time on this one.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By John Mccarrier on December 23, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is an interesting alternate perspective on the Chrysler-Fiat merger in 2009. Instead of the usual domestic auto industry view it comes at the process from the FIAT side. The author clearly knows the FIAT side while the Chrysler side is easy to sketch for American readers.

The section of book containing the history of FIAT may be of limited interest to American readers but the alternative way of providing a background to the merger would be yet another rehashing of Chryslers problems for the last 20 years. The author emphasizes that all parties to the negotiation wanted it to work. Chrysler management, FIAT management, the UAW, Chrysler bond holders, and the Obama administration were all highly motivated.

In some ways this is the Sergio Marchionne story with the Agnelli family playing backup but it is also the story of one segment of the ongoing transformation world auto industry.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Vincent J. Buonanno Sr on May 3, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Review for Amazon

The Mondo Agnelli book was a terrific read about a company and a family in a fascinating period of Italian history. The interwoven stories of the Miracolo period of the postwar years in Italy and the dominance of Fiat and their products and the iconic meaning of that company's brand and the hundreds of thousands of Italians who emigrated north to work in the factories of Turin. Also about the emergence of Gianni Agnelli and his persona as I think Time Magazine called him the "industrialist as hero." How effective he really was may be another question but the Agnelli control did persevere. It's remarkable how the book weaves together all that history of family and development of Fiat through that dynamic but also troubling story. Then the remarkable Marchione period and the story of his takeover of Chrysler through breathtaking boldness and determination. The combination of Marchione with Gabetti, the Agnelli's old consigliere, handing the mantle on to a figure so dramatically different from Agnelli and so right for the times, salvaging the family's position again with the company. It's terrifically written with all of those scenes brought to life by your familiarity with all of the landscape, the buildings, and the atmosphere of it.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a detailed, fascinating, and well written account of the Agnelli family and others who built Fiat and who continue to run the amazing company. The early history was extremely interesting as were the final chapters on the Fiat / Chrysler blend. If you're interested in the history of Fiat, or the history of automobiles and the people that run the companies that design and build them, then this is a great read. Highly recommended.
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