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The Fords: An American Epic Paperback – February 1, 2002

4.1 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Collier and Horowitz (The Kennedys, The Rothschilds) vividly depict the career of Henry Ford, the quirky turn-of-the-century automobile inventor who put America on wheels with his homely everyman-type car, the Model T, in the 1920s"the first and last great giant of the auto industry." He appointed his only son, Edsel, head of the company but tormented him by limiting his authority, promoted anti-Semitism and hired a union-busting tough, Harry Bennett, who nearly took over the company. This saga pulls at the emotions while instructing readers about harsh business realities and human frailty as we watch Edsel's four children and numerous grandchildren contend with celebrity and great wealth, ill health, alcoholism, family jealousy, sense of failure and marital unhappiness. Finally, we're shown Henry Ford II, who after World War II assumed authority as his father never could, and become a national figure by leading the Ford Motor Company to great renewed successat a great personal price. Major ad/promo; BOMC selection; author tour.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

The team behind family biographies of the Rockefellers and the Kennedys turns to Detroit's automobile dynasty. Henry Ford, his son Edsel, and Harry Bennett are the principals in the book's first half, as an empire is founded, then begins to totter. The authors say nothing new but tell the story well. In part two, the ascendancy of Henry II, the authors examine the lifestyles of rich and famous Fords in titillating, entertaining detail. Drawing upon interviews with family and associates, they bring forth portraits of a grasping Lee Iacocca and an anti-heroic Henry Ford. Similar to Robert Lacey's Ford ( LJ 9/1/86), but slicker, this will be in demand. Robert F. Nardini, M.L.S., North Chichester,
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 411 pages
  • Publisher: Encounter Books; Repack edition (February 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1893554325
  • ISBN-13: 978-1893554320
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #485,019 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This book recounts the origins and life of the Ford family from the rise of Henry Ford, the founding the great automotive company, its ebbs and flows, through the reign of Henry Ford II. It reads very well and has a great deal of interesting information.

One of the difficulties in writing a book like this is how to balance the personal details with the epic story of the global corporation. I believe Collier and Horowitz pull off the balance quite well. However, when this book came out there was a great deal of discussion about the womanizing that the family worked hard to keep out of the public eye. Some condemned this book because of these intimate details. Some claimed they were fabricated. Nowadays, given what we know about public versus private lives, it probably would not raise many eyebrows.

The life of Henry the Great is fascinating because of his genius and his limitations. His son Edsel has a story that is as tragic as any you might read in fiction. Henry II was given the task of saving the family company and with the team he built around himself he did an admirable job. The battles with Lee Iacocca may be slipping into ancient history, but it is still a very interesting story in the history of corporate governance. The recounting of Henry II's divorces and such may be fairly petty and is certainly not as important as his missing the real threat of the Japanese car companies.

The book is now almost twenty years old, but it still has its merits.
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Format: Paperback
The uniqueness of this book is that it focuses on the personalities of Henry Ford, his son Edsel and his granson, Henry II. The history of Ford Motor Company is presented as an outgrowth of these porsonalities. As a career Ford employee, it is my opinion that Ford Motor Co. has always reflected the personalities of those in charge to a somewhat greater extent than other large corporations. So the author's approach is particularly appropriate. And it works well. This is an absorbing book for anyone with an interest in the Ford family in relation to the growth and decline of Ford Motor Company and, motre widely, the business in the twentieth century.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
'The Fords: An American Epic' by David Horowitz & Peter Collier

Horowitz & Collier deliver yet another superb narrative of one of America's historic, controversial and complex families. They have this genre down to a science.

This is, without doubt, the best book on the Ford family I have read, and I've read a few. For an unbiased look at Henry's early tinkering in the garage to the perfection of the production line to his controversial stances on important world events, this book has no comparison. The strange inter-family relationships are broken down in detail and explained with clarity. The book focuses on family & business, which was no easy feat: Henry & Edsel's relationship; Lee Iacocca's influence on the Ford Motors; the return of "Hank the Deuce"; to Bill Ford's generation and more recent family activity.

A wonderfully enjoyable read that is as detail laden as it is fast paced. An easy call for 5 stars!

- JC
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Format: Hardcover
Notwithstanding that this book was published over 25 years ago, it remains an excellent book on its subject.

It successfully combines telling the story of the Ford family and their company, in an engaging and entertaining fashion. Anyone who has read books on automotive history will know this is not an easy feat.

The strength of this book is the detail about the people as well as the cars. The internal politics and power struggles are presented in a captivating fashion.

I would recommend this book highly to anyone who is interested in the Ford car company and the family of its founder. The engaging and entertaining style also makes it accessible and enjoyable for a broader audience.
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Format: Paperback
Boring.

I've been reading several biographies and this one is duller than paint drying.

I now have to find a better treatment of Henry Ford. I grant you it was written in 1987 but their style lacks - electricity for a better word.

this happened and then that happened - not a lot of feel for what was going on around them. Not a one star but still I'm glad I got this second hand instead of paying full price.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My Grandfather, who sold Ford-Lincoln-Mercury for 30 years and owned his own dealership, found everything he wanted and more in this book. Not an avid reader, he told me that he couldn't put it down, once he started. He read the entire thing in a week; which is saying something for him. If you are an American Automobile Industry follower, this is a must buy.
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Format: Paperback
I just finished reading this epic story of the Ford family & empire. I did not really find the intricacies & terrible Machivellian strategies employed by the executives nice but it did show what working there in an executive post was really like. Interesting descriptions of hyper ambitious auto company man Iacocca & we also see Robert MacNamara before he became Secretary of Defense under LBJ. The total technocrat, brilliant but unable to see anymore than figures, he went along with Westmoreland's view that just more & more was needed to win in Vietnam.
Henry Ford was a brilliant mechanic but a terrible human being . He was pro-Nazi, a virulent anti-Semite & general bigot. He was also a hypocrite in his personal life & bullied his only son into an early grave. Henry Ford 2 was a college dropout & a womanizing heavy drinker/smoker but he turned the company around brilliantly.
The women in the family were relegated to home & secret drinking....a problem that seemed to haunt the family (not old Henry).
Comparing the family to the Rockefellers, the Rockefellers come out ahead in terms of spreading their vast wealth around & involvement in bankng, commerce & general industry.
Old Henry was also against unions & did everything possible to prevent them from coming into his factories ....like hiring goons & creating a mini style concentration camp mentality among factory workers on the ever moving more rapidly assembly lines...
Interesting that Schindlers List was sponsered on television without any commercial interruptions in it's uncut entirety by the Ford family many years after all the prominent members were dead
Sad that despite such great wealth & power, the individual members found so little personal happiness.
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