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Henry Ford and the Jews: The Mass Production Of Hate Paperback – December 17, 2002

4.2 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Henry Ford was not only one of America's great industrialists, he was also one of America's great haters. With "his rambling mouth" and his "volatile passions and budgetless financial resources," Ford became famous around the country and the world for his rabid anti-Semitism. "He did not like the Jews because he believed they were warmongering, manipulative, and alien," writes Neil Baldwin. A pacifist, Ford blamed the First World War on "German-Jewish bankers." In the 1920s, he published The Dearborn Independent, which featured notorious articles such as "The International Jew: The World's Problem." In 1938, he became the first American recipient of a Nazi award bestowed upon non-Germans. Baldwin details Ford's views and activities and also describes the phenomenon of anti-Semitism in the United States during the 1920s and 1930s. Henry Ford once declared, infamously, "History is more or less the bunk." His descendents seem to disagree. "Beginning with Henry Ford II," writes Baldwin, "succeeding generations of Fords have sought to put an end to Henry Ford's dark legacy" by supporting Israel and Jewish charities. Their actions bear out what one Jewish newspaper said in response to Ford in 1920: "We are firm in our belief that stupidity cannot triumph." --John Miller --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

The strength of this biography lies in context: by emphasizing Ford's background, influences and the world around the auto manufacturer, Baldwin (executive director of the National Book Foundation and author of Edison: Inventing the Century, etc.) brings a fresh approach to what has long been known about one of America's most famous anti-Semites. In the book's first part, Baldwin focuses on the climate of intellectual anti-Semitism that Ford experienced as a child and young adult and how these likely shaped his views about Jews. By the end of WWI, "Jews hatred was now an entrenched, permanent stain on Ford's psyche," which consistently teetered on the brink of sanity. Ford, who was raised on a farm, believed that Jews were responsible for the evils of modern cities and America's interventionist foreign policy, even as he remained friends with individual Jews. And as Baldwin disturbingly shows, Ford also put his twisted ideals into action by creating an anti-Semitic newspaper, the Dearborn Independent. (In this way, Ford was unlike Thomas Edison, whom Baldwin describes as a passive anti-Semite.) But Baldwin is not content to depict Ford's anti-Semitism and his cadre of like-minded people he also describes attempts to curb Ford's effect on society. After a lawsuit by a Jew maligned in the Independent, Ford eventually apologized with the help of Jewish organizations (whether or not that apology was sincere remains an open question). As he does elsewhere in the book, Baldwin probes the story behind this apology. His concise look at an organized American Jewry beginning to flex its muscles makes this excellent biography a tale of changing American ethnic relations. Illus. (Nov.)Forecast: The Jewish audience is a lock for this, but it should also appeal more broadly to students of American history and inter-ethnic relations.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs (December 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1586481630
  • ISBN-13: 978-1586481636
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #551,689 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
YES - The essential facts put forward by Baldwin are correct: Ford was a major anti-semite and he gave money to the German Nazis, helping them into power.
Yet, Baldwin's research is pathetic... a great deal of it was his imagination. He fails to present facts put forward by Kurt Ludecke's I KNEW HITLER; or Bennett's WE NEVER CALLED HIM HENRY; with any accuracy - he simply makes up what he wants.
For example, Baldwin states that the day after Nazi fund raiser Kurt Ludecke visited Ford, and Ludecke was turned away, a telegram to Lukecke arrived the NEXT DAY stating that Ford wouldn't give money through Ludecke to Hitler. Yet - READ Ludecke's I KNEW HITLER - the only primary source available on Ludecke/Ford. In this ONLY first hand account, Ludecke writes that several WEEKS (not ONE day) passed between his meeting with Ford and arrival of the telegram in question.
Baldwin has failed here as he does throughout the book to provide an accurate account of events. He makes no mention of the difference in Ludecke's primary source account and his own secondary account. Baldwin has shown himself as incompetent.
I have researched this subject for over 2 years. Baldwin makes a
serious error on virtually every page. His errors show an incredible degree of sloppy research. He seems to have only half-read his sources. His book is a joke as a serious work on Ford, anti-semitism, German inter-war history, and Hitler A far, far, better book is Albert Lee's Henry Ford and the Jews (1980). Interestingly, in the forward of Baldwin's book he writes that he put Lee's book (the one with the SAME title which inspired him) on the "shelf" while writing his book. YET, he quotes Albert Lee's: Henry Ford And The Jews, often throughout his book.
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Format: Hardcover
History must be revised when any new and accurate information appears. Neil Baldwin's book, "Henry Ford And The Jews The Mass Production Of Hate", utilizes some information that was only opened from archives in March of 2001. Further, no matter how much time may pass, history as portrayed in this book must always be available to new generations of readers. I believe that the darker aspects of this country's or any nation's history, must be documented accurately and fairly. Reality has demonstrated that with the passage of time facts are forgotten, and become the target for revisionists who replace history with fiction. Historical events like The Holocaust have been defended in court within the last 2 years. The defense was required to prove The Holocaust took place.
Mr. Baldwin has documented the actions of one of the most influential businessmen of the 20th Century. Mr. Henry Ford's achievements in the production of his cars are a fact of history. Mr. Ford was a talented man, and had he confined himself to what he was competent to conduct, his memory would be a very different one. Mr. Ford is portrayed in this book by a wide variety of sources as a man who was amazingly ill informed, a man who placed no value on education, was a tyrant to those who made his fortune, and a man who had the distinction of having his portrait on the wall of Adolph Hitler's Office. Like other notable names in American History he accepted the highest honor bestowed on a non-German by Hitler. Another recipient Charles Lindbergh could claim he had no idea he was to be presented with the, "Honor". Mr. Ford accepted his on the occasion of his birthday with 1500 invited guests. Another famous recipient of the award was Mr. Thomas Watson of IBM fame. Of the 3 men, only the latter had the common sense to return the medal.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Neil Baldwin wrote about Thomas Edison, and in the process came upon conversations he had had with Ford during the 19-teens, during which Ford would go on random rants more characteristic of an older man and a man with much less stature, rants that relied on invisible characterizations of “Jews” being referred to as the singular. Edison for his part was not concerned with Ford’s comments or the Jews.
Central to Ford’s lifelong battles of words against the conspiratorial lenders of money and creators of war was his elementary education textbook, McGuffey’s Reader. As Lincoln had never met a black person until he was an adult, and then only a few until his move to Washington, the country around Detroit did not furnish Ford with any Jews until he was established by the mass production of his cars. Instead, the “country” instilled Ford with an agrarian pride that linked him to farmers and farm equipment, and against bankers. Baldwin points to Ford’s ancestry and childhood as an ideological foundation from which with all his success, at one point the richest man in the world, he never strayed. He never grew out of the textbook teachings of the usurer Shylock. The Dearborn Independent was the voice of his scapegoating, although only rarely did Ford even have personal reason to cry foul. Unlike Gerald L.K. Smith and Father Coughlin and William Dudley Pelley, his anti-Semitism was not politically motivated and not sensationalism. The Protocols of the Elders of Zion seemed to him more like a hobby born out of a child’s boredom.
Rabbi Leo Franklin had a tumultuous but long relationship with Ford. Rosika Schwimmer’s Peace Mission is a side note of history that displays the complexity of pacifism when it allies enemies. At least to Ford, she was an enemy and barely worth condescending.
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