Henry Ford

Vincent Curcio. Oxford Univ., $24.95 (240p) ISBN 978-0-19-531692-6
This succinct biography is a rounded exploration of an extraordinary life, culled from an extensive and varied bibliography. The core is Ford’s mysterious, contradictory personality—he was a generous, paternal boss who later opposed unionization; an outspoken anti-Semite with progressive, colorblind employment practices; and a vociferous pacifist who became a leading military supplier. Clashing aspects are considered thoughtfully, though Ford’s inner workings, kept private due to his obsessively sculpted public persona, are seen only through actions at the macroscopic levels of big business, politics, and social change. Side details offer insight, such as Ford’s key role in the soybean industry, and his surprising spiritual beliefs in a “universal mind... time without start or finish... [and] reincarnation.” Curcio (Chrysler: The Life) deftly conveys the intricacies of big auto business with direct prose, occasionally enriched by invocations of Shakespeare, ancient Greece, and Zen maxims. Fundamentally, Curcio’s Ford is a man “in motion all his life,” an “enigma machine” who unrelentingly propelled America into a new paradigm—one increasingly removed from Ford’s dearly held, old-fashioned values. In keeping with his ambiguous character, Ford is simultaneously a tragedy and a success story, and ultimately, a peerless American icon. Agent: Georges Borchardt, Georges Borchardt, Inc. (May)
Reviewed on: 02/04/2013
Release date: 05/01/2013
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 323 pages - 978-0-19-971789-7
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