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Publisher's Summary

How a Michigan farm boy became the richest man in America is a classic, almost mythic tale, but never before has Henry Ford's outsized genius been brought to life so vividly as it is in this engaging and superbly researched biography.

The real Henry Ford was a tangle of contradictions. He set off the consumer revolution by producing a car affordable to the masses, all the while lamenting the moral toll exacted by consumerism. He believed in giving his workers a living wage, though he was entirely opposed to union labor. He had a warm and loving relationship with his wife, but sired a son with another woman. A rabid anti-Semite, he nonetheless embraced African American workers in the era of Jim Crow.

Uncovering the man behind the myth, situating his achievements and their attendant controversies firmly within the context of early twentieth-century America, Watts has given us a comprehensive, illuminating, and fascinating biography of one of America's first mass-culture celebrities.

©2006 Steven Watts; (P)2008 Books on Tape

Critic Reviews

"The implicit claim of Watts's admirable book is almost inarguable that it's impossible to understand 20th-century America without knowing the story of Henry Ford." (The New York Times)
"Ford has had many biographers. . . . None, however, comes close to Steven Watts. . . . He brilliantly reveals the nature of Ford's genius." (Chicago Tribune)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall

disappointing

Looked forward to this book (2 credits) but found myself skipping past parts as it got very repetitive. The author makes the same point again and again. Would have been better abridged!

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Story
  • Chris
  • St. Paul, MN, United States
  • 04-06-13

50% Longer than it needed to be.

I was interested in learning about the man who perhaps more than any other was instrumental in creating modern America. While the book provides a detailed and linear history the story is ponderous, repetitive and lacks any real drama.

The book does an excellent job pointing out Henry Ford's many contradictions and makes no effort to whitewash the unflattering elements of his life (his anti-semitism in particular).

John H. Mayer, the narrator does an effective job or leading you through the story.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Jeremy
  • Cincinnati, OH, USA
  • 04-21-09

Not the best Narrator for this book

I enjoyed this book and found it very interesting however, the problem was with the narration. I think that John H. Mayer was perfect for "The Autobiography of Santa Clause" but not at all right for this book. I think they should have looked for another reader better suited to Non-Fiction.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Great book!

Wonderful picture of Henry Ford! I loved every minute and did not want the book to end

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • GG
  • 05-07-13

long, boring and tedious

What would have made The People's Tycoon better?

An abridged version would have been be better. The book is very slow and very repetitive - you almost feel you are on a Model T assembly line. <br/><br/>Watts' characterization of Ford as 'folksy' is overdone (to death). This book could be half the length and lose nothing. Get this title if you have a lot of time on your hands, and enjoy repetition. A lot of it. Then more.

What do you think your next listen will be?

something else

Would you be willing to try another one of John H. Mayer’s performances?

yes

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
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Mayer did a great job with a weak book

The performance of this audio book was excellent. It is too bad the book as written by Steven Watts was not a better script for his efforts. Watts may be a great writer - but if so, you'll find little evidence of that in this work. The writing is choppy and redundant. Watts will make a statement about Henry Ford and then support it with many quotes taken from the period. Then in the next chapter, he will make more statements that contradict the earlier conclusion - also supported by breathless quotes from the period. While the writer's portrait of this icon of the US auto industry is colorful, it is so verbose that a decent editor would probably eliminate half the pages. It was a struggle to finish. Save your audible credit.

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Thoroughly enjoyed

loved it. I thought the narrator was exceptional. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in Henry Ford or the early 20th century.

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  • Roger
  • Cincinnati, OH, United States
  • 03-01-15

Excellent snapshot of an American Pioneer

This was a unique biography as the author did very well at portraying Henry Ford in a very balanced light. You see how he was a human being with flaws that hit the market at the right time, right place, with the right product. It shows his intuitive genius as he'd developed a Keynesian theory of economics before Keynes had preached his theory to the masses. It was also very interesting to learn why the American automotive industry developed in and around Detroit and the central role Ford played in the creation of Cadillac, Dodge, Lincoln, and of course Ford. Worthwhile read for entrepreneurs, especially as they enter their later stages of life as a cautionary tell of what can happen when one doesn't let loose the reins to a new generation.

  • Overall
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An authoritative portrait of an intricate man

Steven Watts does an excellent job of revealing the numerous intricacies of this fascinating individual. Ford was an amazing force at the beginning of the last century that brought America and the world into the consumer age. He was far from perfect and had many failings. He was definitely human! A man whose life and times worthy of examination. A very worthwhile read!

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  • Overall
  • Jagrut
  • 07-13-11

An epic life

A brilliant account of one the greatest business minds ever, very gripping for would be entrepreneurs

3 of 3 people found this review helpful