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The Flivver King: A Story of Ford America by [Sinclair, Upton]
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The Flivver King: A Story of Ford America Kindle Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Length: 160 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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The Wall Street Journal
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Upton Sinclair (1878-1968), novelist and journalist, is best known for his novel about the Chicago meatpacking industry, ""The Jungle"." A paperback edition of his ""I, Candidate for Governor"" is available from California. Jules Tygiel is the author of ""The Great Los Angeles Swindle: Oil, Stocks, and Scandal during the Roaring Twenties"" (paperback California, 1996) and ""The Great Experiment: Jackie Robinson and His Legacy"." He is Professor of History at San Francisco State University.

Product Details

  • File Size: 472 KB
  • Print Length: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Charles H. Kerr Publishing Company (January 22, 2010)
  • Publication Date: January 22, 2010
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003AU4SP0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #212,734 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Sinclair writes an extremely interesting historical novel about the start of the Ford Automobile Company. The story is told from the perspective of Abner Shutt, one of Ford's first employees. Abner lives in the times where Henry Ford began his auto design humbly in the early 1900's till the mid 30's when Ford was known as the richest man in the world.
The story's focus, however, is on the treatment of the workers. When Ford started his factory, he cared a great deal about his employees, but as time went on he became obsessed with speeding up the manufacturing process and increasing his profits. By streamlining the process and making people work harder, his profits grew while his workers received the same pay. When the workers tried to form unions Ford's "hidden spies" crushed any attempt of congregation, even resorting to violence.
This book was like reading a detailed piece of history. Ford's anti-Semitic feelings are revealed through his little-known Dearborn Chronicle Magazine and how the Klan was active in the Detroit area. Also, Ford company initiatives are accounted for as well (such as moral families received a substantial bonus - if they allowed themselves to be investigated.) The historical scope of the novel is fascinating and I found it compelling, rich, and hard to put down. It is similar to the Sinclair's Jungle (an account on the conditions of the meat packing plants). The book was instrumental in the formation of the United Auto Worker's Union.
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By A Customer on December 20, 2000
Format: Paperback
Sinclair, known mainly for The Jungle, has created a masterpiece of proletarit literature. As in The Jungle Sinclair uses the guise of a storyteller to warn the working population that where there is a false idol created by gold there is a hell on earth as a result. Sinclair's overriding message is simple: where there is the extremely rich, there is the extremely poor. Unlike Karl Marx or others like Marx, Sinclair doesn't force the message down the readers throats, he slips a little of the message into our drink and before we know it we are inebriated with his viewpoint. The book is about 120 pages but in those short few pages you meet and come to care about characters like Abner Shutt, Tom Shutt, and even the antagonist Henry Ford, the Flivver King himself. Sinclairs greatest gift as a storyteller is his ability to make us empathize, not just sympathize, with the characters. By the end of the story we don't just know what it might have been like to be those people, we know exactly what it was like because for a few moments Sinclair made us become those people. Not only does this book give us tangible characters, it also gives us a tangible atmosphere of early 20th Century America. This book was instrumental in the founding of the union movement that swept America for a very good reason. Read it and find out why it is as important now as it was then. Read it and find a cure for apathy.
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Format: Hardcover
Upton Sinclair has given the reader a general overview of what life was like in Michigan when Henry Ford revolutionized the world with his invention of the automobile. Sinclair does this through following Abner Shutt from child to old age and his involvement with Henry Ford. Shutt is totally sold on the ideals and ethics of Henry Ford, but does this last? The Shutt family is consumed in the Ford machine, and every daily action revolves around Ford, the man and the machine. This book is very well written, and lets the reader view history as though he or she were living at the time with the Shutt family.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
There's a Ford in our past and Upton Sinclair wants you to know about it. And it's not always very nice. Many of us have heard about Henry Ford's dark side: a loner, anti-semite, anti-unionist, labor exploiter, and Sinclair synthesizes this in a novella built around a fictional worker and his family whose loyalty to Henry is stretched to the breaking point. Ford's good intentions are not overlooked: love of country and tradition as evoked in his fine Greenfield Village and museum of industry in Dearborn; his $5 a day wage, a breakthrough; his Model T, an affordable car for all Americans. The contrast between the high life to which he was accustomed and the impoverishment of most of Detroit during the Depression is vividly described. Having read the biographies of Walter Chrysler and Boss Kettering, I found Flivver King to be very light on the production of the automobile, for want of a better description, the "automotive engineering" side of things. I missed any mention of the other automotive pioneers, Olds, Nash, the Dodge brothers, the founders of General Motors, and of course Chrysler and Kettering. Although Flivver King is short, I found it tedious.
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By Ben L. on October 2, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is an amazing look at the beginning and evolution of the Ford automobile empire. As is Upton Sinclair's style, he wraps the story in a fictional narrative and shows the effects of the rise of the Ford empire on a working class family over two generations. Personally, I really enjoy Sinclair's style and have read a few of his other 90 published books and plan to read more. I have read other reviews criticizing Sinclair as having a simplistic style and not getting into the depth of his characters. I can't say that this is totally off base, but in my opinion he does this on purpose because he wants people to see it's less about the characters themselves and more of a sociopolitical phenomenon. Also, Sinclair was a Socialist and ardently fought for most of his life for the causes of the working class. Regardless of one's worldview there is much to be learned by reading "The Flivver King."
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