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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
The Fords: An American Epic
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on May 24, 2008
'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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on February 26, 2018
Interesting read but would have liked to have more information on the Ford personalities..
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on February 6, 2010
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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on January 25, 2016
I had previously read this book and wanted to reread it.
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on October 5, 2014
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on March 4, 2015
Very interesting.
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on October 29, 2015
very well researched & thorough
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VINE VOICEon June 11, 2016
“The Fords” truly are an American Epic and this book is their tale. Beginning with the patriarch, Henry, it tells the story of a Midwestern farm boy who was intrigued by machinery, learned what makes it go, and applied his knowledge to put America on wheels. Henry is depicted as an eccentric genius who figured out how to build a car that would run on primitive rural roads, was affordable to the masses, rescued a hospital that still bears his name and set up a business that is remains in the control of his family to this day despite having subjected it to a reign of terror presided over by his enforcer, Harry Bennett. He was also a believer in reincarnation and was distrustful of Jews, bankers, lawyers and doctors.

Edsel was the son of promise who, before dying of cancer, made the transition to upper class respectability and was a respected corporate executive but who could never take a position in opposition to his father.

This work concludes with the third generation, Henry’s grandchildren who resented him for his treatment of their revered father. Each of them faced their own challenges and demons. Henry II entered the executive suite after his father’s death and quickly revitalized a company that had limped into and through the depression and needed rapid modernization if it was going to prosper in the post-World War II era. Benson and Bill would be minor players in the company although Bill would find his fulfillment in the Detroit Lions. All of this generation struggled with alcoholism and Henry, despite his commercial successes, endured a series of family failures.

Authors Peter Collier and David Horowitz have succeeded in blending a commercial and family history into a very readable book that appeals to a wide variety of readers. Students of American industrial history will learn much about the origins and development of the auto industry. Fans of dynasties and celebrities will be fascinated by the complex relationships among Ford Family members. For the rest it can make a very enjoyable read.
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on July 4, 2012
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 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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on November 27, 2013
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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