The Arsenal of Democracy: FDR, Ford Motor Company, and their Epic Quest to Arm an America at War

A.J. Baime. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $27 (368p) ISBN 978-0-547-71928-3
This accessible, surprising history is a welcome addition to the inexhaustible list of WWII studies, as Baime (Go Like Hell) claims that perhaps the most important battle was fought far from the battlefield—in the monolithic warehouses of Ford Motor Company in Detroit. However, Baime’s not talking motorcars but airplanes—50,000 of them. His story hardly starts off patriotically: despite perceptions of Ford as a quintessentially American corporation, Baime describes a company whose public image was in rapid decline during the late 1930s, thanks in large part to its founder’s apparent anti-Semitism and questionable affiliation with Nazi Germany. (Hitler, who later presented Ford with the Nazi Gold Cross, stated: “We look to Heinrich Ford as the leader of the growing Fascist movement in America.”) According to Baime, before Pearl Harbor the elder Ford, an outspoken pacifist, exerted most of his waning energy toward thwarting war production efforts. It’s only after the Pearl Harbor attack that the inspiring narrative of Ford Motors saving the Allied cause picks up, which is really the story of the heroic, if tragic, efforts of Edsel Ford and his sons. Baime delivers a forthright and absorbing look at “the biggest job in all history.” (June)
Reviewed on: 03/24/2014
Release date: 06/03/2014
Genre: Nonfiction
MP3 CD - 978-1-5012-2133-0
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-5012-6213-5
Paperback - 400 pages - 978-0-544-48387-3
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-0-547-83444-3
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