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

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In 1941, as Hitler’s threat loomed ever larger, President Roosevelt realized he needed weaponry to fight the Nazis—most important, airplanes—and he needed them fast. So he turned to Detroit and the auto industry for help. The Arsenal of Democracy tells the incredible story of how Detroit answered the call, centering on Henry Ford and his tortured son Edsel, who, when asked In 1941, as Hitler’s threat loomed ever larger, President Roosevelt realized he needed weaponry to fight the Nazis—most important, airplanes—and he needed them fast. So he turned to Detroit and the auto industry for help. The Arsenal of Democracy tells the incredible story of how Detroit answered the call, centering on Henry Ford and his tortured son Edsel, who, when asked if they could deliver 50,000 airplanes, made an outrageous claim: Ford Motor Company would erect a plant that could yield a “bomber an hour.” Critics scoffed: Ford didn’t make planes; they made simple, affordable cars. But bucking his father’s resistance, Edsel charged ahead. Ford would apply assembly-line production to the American military’s largest, fastest, most destructive bomber; they would build a plant vast in size and ambition on a plot of farmland and call it Willow Run; they would bring in tens of thousands of workers from across the country, transforming Detroit, almost overnight, from Motor City to the “great arsenal of democracy.” And eventually they would help the Allies win the war. Drawing on exhaustive research from the Ford Archives, the National Archives, and the FDR Library, A. J. Baime has crafted an enthralling, character-driven narrative of American innovation that has never been fully told, leaving readers with a vivid new portrait of America—and Detroit—during the war.


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In 1941, as Hitler’s threat loomed ever larger, President Roosevelt realized he needed weaponry to fight the Nazis—most important, airplanes—and he needed them fast. So he turned to Detroit and the auto industry for help. The Arsenal of Democracy tells the incredible story of how Detroit answered the call, centering on Henry Ford and his tortured son Edsel, who, when asked In 1941, as Hitler’s threat loomed ever larger, President Roosevelt realized he needed weaponry to fight the Nazis—most important, airplanes—and he needed them fast. So he turned to Detroit and the auto industry for help. The Arsenal of Democracy tells the incredible story of how Detroit answered the call, centering on Henry Ford and his tortured son Edsel, who, when asked if they could deliver 50,000 airplanes, made an outrageous claim: Ford Motor Company would erect a plant that could yield a “bomber an hour.” Critics scoffed: Ford didn’t make planes; they made simple, affordable cars. But bucking his father’s resistance, Edsel charged ahead. Ford would apply assembly-line production to the American military’s largest, fastest, most destructive bomber; they would build a plant vast in size and ambition on a plot of farmland and call it Willow Run; they would bring in tens of thousands of workers from across the country, transforming Detroit, almost overnight, from Motor City to the “great arsenal of democracy.” And eventually they would help the Allies win the war. Drawing on exhaustive research from the Ford Archives, the National Archives, and the FDR Library, A. J. Baime has crafted an enthralling, character-driven narrative of American innovation that has never been fully told, leaving readers with a vivid new portrait of America—and Detroit—during the war.

30 review for The Arsenal of Democracy: FDR, Ford Motor Company, and Their Epic Quest to Arm an America at War

  1. 4 out of 5

    Bonnie_blu

    I do not enjoy writing negative reviews; however, I feel I must in this case because: 1. The book is more about Henry and Edsel Ford and their conflicts than about the buildup for WWII. It should have been titled "How an Aging Henry Ford and Harry Bennett Almost Ruined The Ford Motor Company." 2. As the author states, he "dramatizes" events. Non-fiction books should not be dramatized, they should be factual. And if an author feels the need to dramatize, he/she should reclassify the book as histori I do not enjoy writing negative reviews; however, I feel I must in this case because: 1. The book is more about Henry and Edsel Ford and their conflicts than about the buildup for WWII. It should have been titled "How an Aging Henry Ford and Harry Bennett Almost Ruined The Ford Motor Company." 2. As the author states, he "dramatizes" events. Non-fiction books should not be dramatized, they should be factual. And if an author feels the need to dramatize, he/she should reclassify the book as historical fiction. 3. The author admits that he "recreates" what key individuals said in some cases. However, recreated statements are not made obvious in the text. Also, in my opinion, if a non-fiction author cannot verify a quote, he/she should not use it. 3. There are some historical inaccuracies, e.g., Hitler was never a house painter, he painted landscapes. 4. There is no true bibliography (the author only lists ten books in the "Notes on the Text and Acknowledgements"). Any historical work should contain a full bibliography in order to show what sources were used. 5. Twice the author states he used "innumerable" sources, but does not list them. Nonsense. A good author keeps records of his/her research and knows not only the number used, but their names, titles, origins, etc. 6. The book is poorly written. It jumps around unnecessarily and repeats the same information over and over again. 7. The figures given for American industrial production during the war make up a very small portion of the book. An accurate story about the massive increases in industrial output should have cast a broader net and not just rattled off some statistics or focused almost exclusively on Ford. I read a great deal of history, including primary sources, and feel that any author that tries to bring history to the public has an obligation to make it factual. History, in the hands of a talented author, can be exciting and interesting without the need to dramatize it artificially.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Steve

    Reviewer's reflection: I was thinking about this book, and particularly its (in retrospect, strange) title, as I finished Sheehan's A Fiery Peace in a Cold War: Bernard Schriever and the Ultimate Weapon, which I reviewed here: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1... ... I'm guessing that once you put that much time into historical research, it must be (really, really) difficult to distill all of that work into a cogent title. (That will make sense if you keep reading....) A good (indeed, very go Reviewer's reflection: I was thinking about this book, and particularly its (in retrospect, strange) title, as I finished Sheehan's A Fiery Peace in a Cold War: Bernard Schriever and the Ultimate Weapon, which I reviewed here: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1... ... I'm guessing that once you put that much time into historical research, it must be (really, really) difficult to distill all of that work into a cogent title. (That will make sense if you keep reading....) A good (indeed, very good) piece of history, strangely titled (and, if the title had fewer than 18 words, one might think of it as a misnomer), and, at times, somewhat scattershot in terms of organization. But, nonetheless, an entertaining and informative work, well worth reading (with the caveat that, if you're easily distracted, the title and topical ramblings could give you a headache). With the understanding that none of these would sell books, I might offer the following alternative titles: The Histories of the Ford Family and Motor Company, With Particular Emphasis on Ford's Brief Foray into Military Aircraft, Sprinkled With WWII Anecdotes (So You Can Distinguish It From a Greek Tragedy) ... or ... maybe .... Mass Production of the Consolidated B-24 Liberator By Ford, An Excellent Excuse To Examine the Tortured History of the Ford Family ... or ... I dunno .... The Edsel You Don't Know: Why An Unpopular Car (not discussed in the book) Was Named After A Great American, Who Mass Produced An Important Military Airplane (Designed By Another Company); And, Yes, His Father, Initially A Genius, Became A Reprehensible Human, Fully Deserving Of Your Scorn ... or ... maybe, instead .... The Duel: Edsel Ford and Charles Sorensen Versus Henry Ford and Harry Bennett; Or The Sordid Tale of How WWII's Industrial Surge Permitted The Ford Motor Company To Break Free From The Tentacles of a Senile, Anti-Semitic, and Anti-Union Icon Emboldened By A Ruthless, Lawless Thug But I digress.... In any event, you get the idea. Labeling aside, I'd recommend the book if you're interested in, among other things: - the history of the Ford family (Henry-Edsel-Henry II); - WWII - there are plenty of anecdotes and perspectives that will be new, even to knowledgeable readers; - military aircraft, defense acquisition, and government contracts, particularly from a historical perspective; - Detroit (and Michigan automotive) history, particularly with regard to employment and race; - Harry Bennett - the boxer turned union busting executive and surrogate heir to Henry Ford - one of the most colorful (and, potentially, despicable) characters you'd want to meet; and - FDR during WWII. There's plenty of good nuggets in here to make the book worthwhile.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Dj

    This book falls into the category of...not normally on my reading list. It isn't because Home Front books don't have a relevance in regards to World War II, just that it isn't something I am normally all that interested in. This one generally would have been even lower on the list since the book focuses on the Ford Family, another topic not high on my list of interests. Interestingly enough, this combination of things that would normally cause little or no interest were a part of what makes this This book falls into the category of...not normally on my reading list. It isn't because Home Front books don't have a relevance in regards to World War II, just that it isn't something I am normally all that interested in. This one generally would have been even lower on the list since the book focuses on the Ford Family, another topic not high on my list of interests. Interestingly enough, this combination of things that would normally cause little or no interest were a part of what makes this book so compelling. The Ford's are a much more interesting family than one would expect and the fact that like the Nation before the war they too were in conflict with each other merely makes it something of a mirror as to what was going on around them. The fact that the book focuses on the Ford Company's efforts to produce a B-24 an hour in its Willow Run Plant doesn't preclude the book from showing the efforts of other companies and pointing out that Detroit was one of the cities that dove wholeheartedly into war time production with both the benefits and downsides of such actions. It also covers things like the racial tension that came along with the rush of many from the south to northern cities the changes that were taking place in ways that no one expected. One aspect of the book was its look into the alleged ties between two of the central characters and the Nazi Party. Charles Lindburgh and Henry Ford. The author comes down on the side that neither were really Nazi's in truth. Even though both opposed the government of FDR in wanting to go to war. If your looking for battles this is not the book for you, little is covered in regards to such things since they are very secondary to the main theme of the book, but it is a very interesting look at a time when the world changed, not just due to the violence but the need to bring production to a rate that may never be seen again. A good book and an easy read, it might have gotten more stars if it was on a subject that generated more interest for me.

  4. 5 out of 5

    John

    I loved this book. My liking it though, was undoubtedly tinged by my having worked in a GM auto assembly plant for 18 years. It was fascinating to read about the Detroit of the 1940’s and how it became the “Arsenal of Democracy” during WW II. A lot of the story had to do with Henry Ford, Edsel Ford, Henry Ford II and all the people who helped them. That was fine with me because that story was also fascinating. Henry Ford, the one who started his family automotive empire, was a genius who was als I loved this book. My liking it though, was undoubtedly tinged by my having worked in a GM auto assembly plant for 18 years. It was fascinating to read about the Detroit of the 1940’s and how it became the “Arsenal of Democracy” during WW II. A lot of the story had to do with Henry Ford, Edsel Ford, Henry Ford II and all the people who helped them. That was fine with me because that story was also fascinating. Henry Ford, the one who started his family automotive empire, was a genius who was also a despicable person, especially to his son Edsel. Edsel however, was an admired and respected person to most people around him at the time. I knew nothing of the story of Edsel Ford before this book. The main story in the book was that of the Willow Run Bomber Plant, which eventually churned out a B-24 Liberator at the rate of a “bomber an hour” toward the end of the war, something people did not believe was possible. Edsel Ford and his people did an unheard of thing by producing complicated airplanes in the manner of an automobile assembly plant. All through the book I had the nagging memory that “Willow Run” was a GM plant, but it was newly built by Edsel Ford to be a B-24 bomber assembly plant for the war effort. It was only at the end of the book that I discovered that the plant, which was incredibly huge, was sold to GM in 1953 and produced transmissions for years. There is so much I don’t know, or have forgotten about the history of Ford, GM and Chrysler and many, many other well known companies concerning what they did for the war. I had also forgotten that there were NO cars, trucks or auto parts produced for commercial purposes from 1942 to 1945. This fact is making me want to find out what my GM assembly plant produced during the war. I have a vague memory of being told that they made trucks, but I’m not sure, and hope to find out. 8/1/14: I found out that the GM Norwood (OH) assembly plant made 4x4 trucks during the war years. This was called "Plant C" during the war, the "C" meaning Cincinnati. It was astounding to find out, according to the book "Echoes of Norwood", that the plant also made the Norden bombsight during the war, and was one of 6 factories that made it. Also made at the plant where I worked for many years, were "combat aircraft landing gear". What revelations!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Stacy Bearse

    A fantastic tale of how American industry responded to the threat of World War II and how one family of entrepreneurs - Henry and Edsel Ford - were deeply divided by the issue. The heroes of this saga are FDR, Edsel Ford and American workers: Roosevelt for his foresight and audacious imagination, Ford for his courage and patriotism, and American engineers and workers for responding to the challenge. Patriarch Henry Ford is portrayed as a truly evil bastard. In the 1930s, he wrote a hate-filled b A fantastic tale of how American industry responded to the threat of World War II and how one family of entrepreneurs - Henry and Edsel Ford - were deeply divided by the issue. The heroes of this saga are FDR, Edsel Ford and American workers: Roosevelt for his foresight and audacious imagination, Ford for his courage and patriotism, and American engineers and workers for responding to the challenge. Patriarch Henry Ford is portrayed as a truly evil bastard. In the 1930s, he wrote a hate-filled book of bigotry, that was translated into German and became an inspiration for the Nazis. Early in WWII, Edsel negotiated a handshake deal to manufacture airplane engines for the Brits. Henry killed the deal, even though his German subsidiary manufactured trucks for the German army. Henry fought Edsel's proposal to construct the historic Willow Run factory to built airplanes (B-24 Liberators) for US troops. In the end, Edsel won out, the plant was built, and Ford assembled thousands of the aircraft that were instrumental in winning the war. I have to wonder why school kids are taught to regard Henry Ford as some kind of model American hero?

  6. 4 out of 5

    KOMET

    Growing up in the Midwest U.S., a lot of what A.J. Baime wrote about the growth and changes experienced by Detroit during the Second World War, when it played a major role in terms of its industrial contributions to the Allied war effort, resonated very strongly with me. Looking back over 70 years, we tend to take for granted the collaborative relationships between the federal government (as represented by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and the U.S. military) and industry in getting this countr Growing up in the Midwest U.S., a lot of what A.J. Baime wrote about the growth and changes experienced by Detroit during the Second World War, when it played a major role in terms of its industrial contributions to the Allied war effort, resonated very strongly with me. Looking back over 70 years, we tend to take for granted the collaborative relationships between the federal government (as represented by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and the U.S. military) and industry in getting this country on a firm footing to meet the threat posed by the Axis Powers. Here the reader learns how it was that Ford Motor Company --- which prior to the Second World War, had but a brief experience with commercial aviation --- took on the enormous task (thanks to Edsel Ford, the son of Henry Ford the automobile pioneer and himself President of Ford Motor Company between 1919 and 1943) of building in record time a massive facility --- at Willow Run, MI near Detroit --- wherein they painstakingly developed the process of turning out B-24 heavy bombers in assembly line fashion. (Bear in mind that such a bold undertaking had never been done before in U.S. history. So, there was no certainty that Edsel Ford's plans for producing bomber planes on a massive scale in record time would succeed.) Figures like Charlie "Cast Iron" Sorensen, Ford's chief tool designing engineer William Pioch, and Charles Lindbergh loomed large in making Willow Run a resounding success story after a shaky start early in 1943. (At its peak, Willow Run managed to produce 1 B-24 Liberator an hour, eventually producing 80% of all B-24 Liberators which saw action in the war.) Baime also provides the reader with an interesting short history of the Ford Motor Company and the complex --- and at times, fractious --- relationship between Henry and Edsel Ford. All in all, "The Arsenal of Democracy" offers a fascinating tale of how America galvanized its industries for the Second World War and helped bring about the decisive Allied victory over Hitler, Fascist Italy and Imperial Japan.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Book

    The Arsenal of Democracy: FRD, Detroit, and an Epic Quest to Arm and America at War by A.J. Baime "The Arsenal of Democracy" is a fantastic chronicle about a father and son who had to turn their thriving automobile business into an aviation powerhouse. It's about World War II and the Motor City; its heroes, its villains and its legacy. Best-selling author, a longtime magazine editor and journalist, A.J. Baime takes the reader on an exciting journey to arm the Allies before it was too late. This e The Arsenal of Democracy: FRD, Detroit, and an Epic Quest to Arm and America at War by A.J. Baime "The Arsenal of Democracy" is a fantastic chronicle about a father and son who had to turn their thriving automobile business into an aviation powerhouse. It's about World War II and the Motor City; its heroes, its villains and its legacy. Best-selling author, a longtime magazine editor and journalist, A.J. Baime takes the reader on an exciting journey to arm the Allies before it was too late. This exhilarating 389-page book is broken out by the following five parts: 1. The Motor City, 2. The Liberator, 3. The Big One, 4. The Rise of American Airpower, and 5. D-Day and the Battle of Dearborn. Positives: 1. A very well written and researched book. Reads like a good action flick. 2. A very accessible book. It's easy and fun to read. 3. A fascinating topic. It's about Henry (father) and his son Edsel Ford's quest to arm the Allies with B-24 Liberator Bombers before it was too late. 4. The book has great flow. Baime does a wonderful job of tying all the stories together. There are thirty chapters broken out by five main parts. Each chapter starts off with a quote the captures the essence of it. 5. Unlike most books about World War II this one focuses on the quest to arm the Allies in a timely manner. The book goes over logistics and challenges to meet such lofty goals. "The President crystallized his plan. Hitler was fighting an engineer's war, and there would be no escaping the maelstrom. To win, Roosevelt would need to harness the complete capacity of American industry--all its resources--in a way never done before and as soon as possible." 6. A well-constructed chronicle that begins with Henry Ford's quest to build an automobile. "In 1903 he managed to gather eleven investors, who raised the phenomenal sum of $150,000. At 9:30 AM on June 16, 1903, at 68 Moffat Street in Detroit, the official forms were signed. Henry took 255 shares, each at $100, while most others signed on for 50 shares. Ford Motor Company was born." 7. One of the joys of reading this book is the historical namedropping that goes on from all the main players in the automobile industry to the main players of World War II. 8. The book is full of fascinating factoids. "In the space of a paragraph, Henry had just doubled the pay of tens of thousands of workers. Given the pay that prevailed in other industries (an average of $1.75 for a nine-hour day for steelworkers, for example), the "$5 Day" was a shock." 9. Interesting stories throughout. How the Fords got into the airplane business. "When Henry and Edsel bought out Stout and built their own factory in 1925, they quickly became the top-producing airplane manufacturer in the country." 10. Baime captures all the conflicts like a good storyteller would. "The empire had split into rivaling factions: Henry and Bennett on one side, Edsel on the other. Cast Iron Charlie Sorensen--who ran the production day to day--lived in the gray area between. The two factions rivaled like tectonic plates in a fault line. It was clear that something drastic was about to occur." 11. The most dangerous man of the 20th century rears his evil head, Hitler. 12. Interesting history on the state of the U.S. military before after World War II. "The US Army was smaller than that of Belgium, a nation that could fit inside Maryland. On that very morning, in Louisiana, the army was carrying out war games--using broomsticks in place of guns and eggs in place of grenades." 13. The B-24 Liberator Bomber takes center stage in this wonderful book. "The B-24 was America's fastest heavy bomber, with a top speed over 300 miles per hour. It had greater range--nearly 3,000 miles--than any other American airplane. It could carry a bigger payload than any other American flying machine--8,000 pounds of TNT. With a takeoff weight of nearly 60,000 pounds, it was simply colossal." 14. The Day of Infamy speech and how it propelled the U.S. to fight. "The United States declared war on Japan on December 8. Due to the Tripartite Pact--which tied the Axis powers, Germany, Italy, and Japan, together as one military force--Hitler and Mussolini declared war on the United States." 15. The race to support the Allies. "According to government contracts, Roosevelt was depending on the auto industry to produce 75 percent of the military's new aviation engines, 80 percent of the tanks, one-third of the machine guns, and 100 percent of the cars and trucks. Oldsmobile cannon shells, Packard marine and aviation engines, Buick aviation engines, Dodge gyrocompasses and ambulances, Studebaker troop transporters, Cadillac tanks and Howitzer cannons, Dodge shortwave radar sets, Chrysler field kitchens, A. C. Spark Plug .50 caliber Browning machine guns . . ." 16. As an engineer I was fascinated with the manufacturing aspects of the B-24. "The bomber construction area was divided into two sections: manufacturing and assembly. Raw materials came into manufacturing via the New York Central railroad spur, the entry bays serviced by four 30,000-pound cranes. In the metal shop, welders and blacksmiths would soon be molding up to ten tons of sheet metal into 3,000 different bomber parts each week. Next to the shop stood five parallel rows of iron-gray hydraulic presses, some weighing as much as 700,000 pounds." 17. Interesting inventions that resulted from the war efforts. "Dow Chemical had invented a plastic sheeting substance with which to wrap and seal munitions headed for overseas, coating tanks, airplanes, and machine guns to protect them from moisture and salt from the sea. This new substance would be called Saran Wrap." 18. Operation Tidal Wave is one the highlights. "Operation Tidal Wave--first conceived among the Allied military brass at the Casablanca Conference--targeted Ploesti, Romania, home of Hitler's greatest wellspring of oil." 19. The War in Dearborn. Interesting insights. 20. Notes included. Negatives: 1. Lack visual material that would have added value. No charts, timelines, diagrams, etc... 2. Curious mistake, two chapters numbered eight. 3. Notes not linked up. 4. No formal bibliography. In summary, an excellent chronicle that was fun and interesting to read. As an engineer, I really enjoyed the focus on the manufacturing and assembly of the B-24 Liberator Bomber. Baime does a wonderful job of storytelling and narrating how the lives of the Fords played out in support of the Allies. I highly recommend it! Further recommendations: "Birdmen: The Wright Brothers, Glenn Curtiss, and the Battle to Control the Skies" by Lawrence Goldstone, "Pacific Payback: The Carrier Aviators Who Avenged Pearl Harbor at the Battle of Midway" by Stephen L. Moore, "The Wild Blue: The Men and Boys Who Flew the B-24s Over Germany 1944-45" by Stephen E. Ambrose, "Forgotten Fifteenth: The Daring Airmen Who Crippled Hitler's War Machine" by Barret Tillman, "No End Save Victory: How FDR Led the Nation into War" by David Kaiser, "My Forty Years with Ford (Great Lakes Books Series)" by Charles E. Sorensen, "Consolidated B-24 Liberator: 1939 onwards (all Marks) (Owners' Workshop Manual)Freedom's Forge: How American Business Produced Victory in World War II" by Graham Simons, and "Freedom's Forge: How American Business Produced Victory in World War II" by Arthur Herman.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ron

    “It was like a family tragedy. At this point Edsel had a tragic recognition—that there was no way out of his dilemma except by death, his father’s or his own.” The title misleads. This story focus almost exclusively on the rise of the Ford industrial empire and its sharp turn to apply that might to win the Second World War. The cast includes many outside the Ford family. The president is a minor player. And so Lindbergh and Henry Ford—the nation’s two highest-profile anti-interventionists, both o “It was like a family tragedy. At this point Edsel had a tragic recognition—that there was no way out of his dilemma except by death, his father’s or his own.” The title misleads. This story focus almost exclusively on the rise of the Ford industrial empire and its sharp turn to apply that might to win the Second World War. The cast includes many outside the Ford family. The president is a minor player. And so Lindbergh and Henry Ford—the nation’s two highest-profile anti-interventionists, both of them enemies of the President, both accused Nazi sympathizers and accused anti-Semites, both decorated with swastika-emblazoned medals by Hitler himself—joined hands in the campaign to build the most destructive weapon in the Arsenal of Democracy. Heavily researched and documented. The cast includes many whose place in history remains ambiguous, especially founder Henry Ford and aviation pioneer Charles Lindbergh. The second rank of movers and shakers inside the company include several who place should be ignominy. [Edsel Ford] realized for the first time that his choice for the bomber plant location had been a massive, irrevocable mistake. He had a health crisis brewing, and there seemed no way to stop it. A reminder that no plan survives contact with reality. Once convince they should build B-24s, the Fords immediately underestimated and oversold the magnitude of the effort. Murphy’s War was operable then as now. “By June 5, twenty-four hours before D-Day … now in his fourth term in the White House ….” Quibbles: Errors in facts mar the text. “I have seen science worshipped, and the aircraft I loved, destroying the civilization I expected them to serve.” Charles Lindbergh Eventually Ford, the rest of the auto industry, indeed the entire industrial might of the United States shifts to the single-minded effort to buy the Axis powers in bombs, bullets, and defeat. It wasn’t easy at home or on the fronts. “England’s battles, it used to be said, were won on the playing fields at Eton. This plan is put forward in the belief that America’s can be won on the assembly lines of Detroit.”

  9. 4 out of 5

    Noah Goats

    Between The Arsenal of Democracy and Go Like Hell, A.J. Baime has made himself into a sort of unofficial historian of the Ford Motor Company. And even though I’m not really a car guy, I really liked both of these books. The title to The Arsenal of Democracy is a bit misleading as it seems to imply that the book is about the war production effort in general, when really it focuses narrowly on Ford. The subtitle is also misleading, in that it seems to imply the book will be about FDR, which it is n Between The Arsenal of Democracy and Go Like Hell, A.J. Baime has made himself into a sort of unofficial historian of the Ford Motor Company. And even though I’m not really a car guy, I really liked both of these books. The title to The Arsenal of Democracy is a bit misleading as it seems to imply that the book is about the war production effort in general, when really it focuses narrowly on Ford. The subtitle is also misleading, in that it seems to imply the book will be about FDR, which it is not. What this book is actually about is Ford’s efforts to build B-24 bombers and the wartime power struggle at Ford between Henry, Edsel, Harry Bennett, and later, Henry II. Edsel is presented as a tragic figure, the son of one of the country’s richest and most famous men who had to fight to find his own place in the sun, a man wracked with a painful terminal disease who struggled to get his pacifist and anti semitic father to do the right thing by supporting the war effort. Bennet is the scheming Iago, manipulating his boss for his own dark ends. There is plenty of drama. This is a very interesting book that demonstrates just how hard it was for American industry to put itself on a war footing. The details of the struggle to build a plant capable of turning out one B-24 every hour is just as interesting as the soapy family/corporate drama. As a slight nit pick, I feel like the impact of the B-24 and heavy bombers in general are overstated here. The unfortunate fact is that despite constant bombardment by heavy bombers, German production of war material kept increasing until the allies actually started taking and holding German territory. And the indiscriminate arial bombing of German cities had the same effect on Germans that the Blitz had on the English, it strengthened their resolve. Still, there’s no denying the courage of those who flew those missions, and doubtless German war production would have been even greater without the constant attacks by allied bombers, including B-24s made by Ford.

  10. 4 out of 5

    John

    Ultimately disappointing. While the narration and the "story" held my interest, it is a shallow effort. All the faults of "popular" history are here--over-dramatization, "reconstructing" conversations, sloppy or nonexisting references for what is said or happening, clear delineation between good and evil. I felt I could have learned just as much from Wikipedia. Also, the book is not really about DETROIT, but about the Ford Motor Company. Edsel Ford is the flawed hero, Henry Ford is nuts, and his Ultimately disappointing. While the narration and the "story" held my interest, it is a shallow effort. All the faults of "popular" history are here--over-dramatization, "reconstructing" conversations, sloppy or nonexisting references for what is said or happening, clear delineation between good and evil. I felt I could have learned just as much from Wikipedia. Also, the book is not really about DETROIT, but about the Ford Motor Company. Edsel Ford is the flawed hero, Henry Ford is nuts, and his chief henchman (whose name has slipped my mind) is the villain. If you merely want entertainment about how US industrial might won the war, this is passable. Otherwise, pass.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Barry

    A more accurate subtitle would be "The Ford Family During WW2" A more accurate subtitle would be "The Ford Family During WW2"

  12. 4 out of 5

    Samarth Gupta

    Prologue • In 1940, 17 percent of Americans were unemployed 7 million people o Only 48,000 taxpayers out of 132 million earned the equivalent of 40k today o Nearly 1/3 of American homes had no running water and Americans had no unemployment insurance or antibiotics Henry • Henry Ford was 32 when he started his dream of quadricycle, and had almost no formal education • “his genious lay not in the product he produced by in the production itself – an integrated factory system as precise as a timepiece.” Prologue • In 1940, 17 percent of Americans were unemployed 7 million people o Only 48,000 taxpayers out of 132 million earned the equivalent of 40k today o Nearly 1/3 of American homes had no running water and Americans had no unemployment insurance or antibiotics Henry • Henry Ford was 32 when he started his dream of quadricycle, and had almost no formal education • “his genious lay not in the product he produced by in the production itself – an integrated factory system as precise as a timepiece.” (7) • Reduced labor from nine hours to eight and increased everyone’s wages to $5/day, steelworkers averaged $1.75 • Blacks were forbidden from most jobs but not Ford factory and poor blacks had an exodus from south to Ford factory Edsel • Cufflinks Omnium rerum vicissitudo all things change • Fords were first in the oucntry to lay a concrete landing strip, the first to build an airport hotel, and first private company to take a US Air Mail contract Henry’s Aging • In 1919 Henry bought a paper and wrote very anti-Semitic articles • Henry paid people to spy on Etsel • Hired Harry Bennett, who started and managed a police force within the company that would assault and intimidate workers o Lot of former mobsters and even someone from the Black Sox o When unions started, Bennett unleashed his Service Department on them to beat union activists Stock Market Crash • No city hit as hard right away by depression as Detoit • Banks went insolvent • Henr called the depression “a good thing, generally” and said let everybody fail because he started with nothing Emerging Nazi Germany • Airforce, Luftwaffe, led by Hermann Goering who also led economy and was the head of the Gestapo. Also a morphine addict. • Auto production sextupled in first four years under Hitler and lifted German economy out of depression o Ford’s factory kept producing in Germancy o Charlie Sorensen agreed to a contract to build trucks for the Nazi government under careful circumstances • At the time, 25 percent of Americans believed that a campaiagn against Jews was imminent inside the US • Hitler award a Grand Cross of the German Eagle to both Henry Ford and Charles Lindburgh, both were accused to be nazi sympathizers Beginning of Nazi Invasions • US military very out of date – General Patton needed nuts and bolts to repair some rusty tanks and had to order them from a Sears catalog • Army was carrying out war games using broomsticks in the palce of guns and eggs in place of grenades • FDR brought in Wall Street legend Bernard Baruch who immediately said they needed Knudsen from General Motors o Knudsen “This country has been good to me,” And I want to pay it back” quit his GM job o “Can you build those fifty thousand planes?” they asked. “I can’t,” said Knudsen,” but America can.” • Fords agreed to build engines for US and Britain, and the Henry bailed because he didn’t want to bild for Britain and then when he was pushed bailed on US engines too • Nazi planes were so fast that pilots often fainted while dropping their explosives and would gain consciousness as the plane dove The Liberator • “It was as if this dinner table were a pulpit and the boys were learning their family religion” • Edsel’s motivations were 1) embarrassment for not serving in WW1, 2) assaults on his patriotism 3) his father’s attacks on him and 4) Harry Bennett • Under Roosevelt, private companies got to keep an 8 percent profit because Henry Stimson told the president that it was right for a capitalist country • Edsel personally paid for men to fly with spouses for long trips • Making the plane planning o Needed over 5 miles of wire for each ship cut into nearly 3k pieces varying in length and thickness o Blueprint makers made 40k sq ft of paper a day o There would be 29 miles of cranes Willow Run • Charles Lindburgh started “America First” and recruited Henry to Join • GM, Chrysler, and Ford were all in the war effort. Chrysler was to make more tanks than all of Germany. • Willow run graders leveled the airfield and took them 94 days to falatten the eart, moving 650k cubic yards of dirt, 16 miles of swewer, and 58 miles of drain tile • Edself was also president of Detroit Insitutte of Arts and the Ford Foundation, trustee of the National Foundaiton on Matters of Business Policy and the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, a member of National Advisroy Committee of the American Red Corss, VP of Henry Fod Hospital, and chairman of the board of Detroit University School • Edsel constructed a $500,000 school on the Willow Run grounds with the capacity for 8000 students • Factory led to 96 amputations in its years • 17 million Americans left their homes for jobs in other parts in the country between 1940 and 1945 • Bomber location ended up being terrible o Hard to get drinking water o Required rationing rules o At first nearly 2000 lived in make shift tarpaper shacks and chicken coops , found out people could be drinking toilet water ‘ • The cafeteria itself served 1,500 pork chops, 550 pounds of beef, 700 pounds of potatoes, and nearly 10000 rolls a day • At this • Lindbergh, Jim Thorpe, and Jesse OWnes all worked in the factory • Women worked there too, Rosie the Riveter • At this time, coffee was a luxury, canned beer was hard to come by because tin was a need for munitions, and alcohol was needed for topedo fuel and medicinal purposes • No real bathroom on 10 mile bombing trips, airman had a tube for urination and a bag for defecation • Edsel employed 4,390 blind or deaf laborers, Strike: • A natural strike occurred and then was backed by big union groups • Bennett hired 2500 black strike0breakers and inflamed racial tension Pearl Harbor: • Killed 2,500 War • Combine Bomber Offensive o Americans would bomb at day as to minimize their ‘moral’ opposition to civilian damage and British would bomb at night o Both Chhurchill and FDR wanted Unconiditional Surrender • Harry Truman led a committee to make sure tax money wasn’t wasted and eventually rose to VP and prez • Factory was struggling because so many trained workers would then be drafted or enlist • Penicillin started during this time and was key to US war effort • Treasury was investigating Ford dealining’s in Europe • Operation Tidal Wave to Ploesti o 1763 men from every state and many under 20 years old o Essentially a failed mission o Giong 200 mPH just 20 feet above land for a while o Army made a 45 instructional film replicating the attack for the first time, had a naked woman to start video to get people’s attention o Soldiers had to write letters to fmaily’s before they left because assumed many would die • Churchill was known to stay up all night thinking of new ideas and talking • FDR could consume and memorize information easily, plowed through memos • Detroit Race Riot o 34 people died when tensions inevitable broke out o Martial law for a few days until troops were sent in o Many white men were in the Klan and many deaths were from police officers • Tehran Conference – FDR, Stalin, Churchill • Brooks Brothers making military uniform and Abercrombie and Fith makingflashlights “show me a hero and I’ll write you a tragedy” – F Scott Fitzgerald

  13. 4 out of 5

    Dale

    This was an outstanding book. The book tells the behind the scenes story of Ford's efforts to assist the (WWII) war effort despite Henry Fords staunch pacifisms and hatred of Roosevelt. The book provides a great reminder of the importance of industrial capacity, a national attribute often not considered as a part of a key component of nation's defense, but should be. This was why I deviated from my typical free market centered approach and came to see the importance of Foxconn's wish to establis This was an outstanding book. The book tells the behind the scenes story of Ford's efforts to assist the (WWII) war effort despite Henry Fords staunch pacifisms and hatred of Roosevelt. The book provides a great reminder of the importance of industrial capacity, a national attribute often not considered as a part of a key component of nation's defense, but should be. This was why I deviated from my typical free market centered approach and came to see the importance of Foxconn's wish to establish a US/WI presence. It's also why the last National Defense Authorization Act provides incentives to manufacture semi-conductors in the US. Way too many of our essential technologies, that enable our national defense, are solely manufactured in nations that don't share our values (China). There are smaller stories within this book. In particular, the internal politics of Ford are fascinating. The Godfather like material. The book also offers interest stories about (arguably) the most interest man of the 20th century, Charles Lindberg who worked for Ford during this time. Proud to be an American, an American that has only owned Fords!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Dean Glover

    Tremendous research behind this historical account of the Ford family/business engagement with the World War II effort to provide planes and other equipment for the Allies. I didn't want to put the book down, and was challenged to seek out other books about this particular time period and the American business climate during the WW II era. Would read another of Baime's works...in fact I'm about to start one tonight. Tremendous research behind this historical account of the Ford family/business engagement with the World War II effort to provide planes and other equipment for the Allies. I didn't want to put the book down, and was challenged to seek out other books about this particular time period and the American business climate during the WW II era. Would read another of Baime's works...in fact I'm about to start one tonight.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Randi

    Learned a lot and was good story telling for non-fiction

  16. 4 out of 5

    Barb Hansen

    I learned so much about the area in which I live by reading this book. The Henry Ford history and the WWII efforts made right here in southeastern Michigan were pretty amazing. Willow Run was made into a city almost overnight as Ford ramped up to meet the war needs for airplanes. The relationships between the Fords and Hitler were surprising and eye-opening. The relationships between father and son (Fords) was also very interesting and quite conflicted. I enjoyed this book.

  17. 5 out of 5

    TMcB

    This book is much more than it's title indicates. Very well-written in a readable style and incredibly well-researched, the book ostensibly tells the story of the American industrial sector's conversion to armament production for WWII. But by focusing on Edsel Ford (an unsung, homefront war-hero and president of Ford Motors since 1919 until his early death in mid-1943), his father Henry ( chairman,founder, inventor of modern mass-production, anti-Semite, pacifist, Hitler admirer), their poisonou This book is much more than it's title indicates. Very well-written in a readable style and incredibly well-researched, the book ostensibly tells the story of the American industrial sector's conversion to armament production for WWII. But by focusing on Edsel Ford (an unsung, homefront war-hero and president of Ford Motors since 1919 until his early death in mid-1943), his father Henry ( chairman,founder, inventor of modern mass-production, anti-Semite, pacifist, Hitler admirer), their poisonous relationship and struggle for control and modernization of Ford, the author creates a page-turning narrative anchored by the arc of American industrial development in the first half of the 20th century and the under-appreciated scope & scale of the mobilization of both industry (especially in Detroit) and the civilian labor force (including the real Rosie the Riveter who worked at Ford's Willow Run B-24 bomber plant). It's a history, it's a business book, it's a biography...and it's only 300+ pages. Highly recommended...

  18. 5 out of 5

    Toni

    A fascinating, thorough read on how Detroit and Ford contributed to the war effort.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Steve

    This is a joint history of the Ford Motor Company and its signature contribution to WWII armaments, the B-24 Liberator bomber. The book follows three generations of Ford men - Henry Ford Sr., Edsel Ford and Henry Ford II. It covers most of the first half of the 20th century. The main focus is the period up to and including WWII and the daunting task of producing armaments to support the Allied war effort. I found the subject to be interesting and the book to be pretty well written. The one short This is a joint history of the Ford Motor Company and its signature contribution to WWII armaments, the B-24 Liberator bomber. The book follows three generations of Ford men - Henry Ford Sr., Edsel Ford and Henry Ford II. It covers most of the first half of the 20th century. The main focus is the period up to and including WWII and the daunting task of producing armaments to support the Allied war effort. I found the subject to be interesting and the book to be pretty well written. The one shortcoming for me was the lack of detail in how Ford went from civilian armaments to producing one B-24 bomber an hour. The book talks about how difficult this transition was but never sheds any light on how the huge production problems were solved.

  20. 4 out of 5

    LindaJ^

    This is one of those non-fiction books dramatized by focusing on individuals and using the facts to make conclusions on how the individual felt emotionally. This one was not the best at doing that, using adjectives and adverbs excessively as a means dramatization. However, aside from the over dramatization, there is a lot of interesting information in this book. As others have mentioned, the title is a bit deceiving, as the primary focus is on the Ford family and Ford Motor Company. The book foll This is one of those non-fiction books dramatized by focusing on individuals and using the facts to make conclusions on how the individual felt emotionally. This one was not the best at doing that, using adjectives and adverbs excessively as a means dramatization. However, aside from the over dramatization, there is a lot of interesting information in this book. As others have mentioned, the title is a bit deceiving, as the primary focus is on the Ford family and Ford Motor Company. The book follows Henry Ford from his first attempts to make a car through his death. We learn about the internal struggle that developed between Henry and his son Edsel and was not finally resolved until Edsel's widow threatened to sell her stock on wall street if Henry did not resign and allow her son Henry the second to assume the Presidency of Ford Motor Company. A big part of the Ford story were the government contracts the company undertook during WWII, especially Edsel who, when asked to make parts for a 4-engine heavy bomber, insisted on a contract to build the plan itself. He promised a plane every hour of 6 day a week, 2 nine hour shifts he would put to work. He got the contract - it required the building of a huge factory. The aviation industry scoffed at him - planes could not be built on a production line like simple cars. Well, while it took a little bit longer than Edsel predicted, Ford Motor did reach that goal. These bombers played a large part in the Allies' defeat of Germany. The story of Detroit and how it became the center of the American effort to produce the machinery of war is also part of the book. The roles undertaken by other car makers, and their suppliers, are mentioned. Also interspersed in the Ford story were the events going on in Europe - the bombing of London, the successful invasion of Sicily, and D-Day. And Charles Lindbergh pops in and out of the picture. One of the Ford items touched on was Hitler's use of the Ford (and GM) factories in Europe. Initially, the US automakers had contracts with the Nazis but eventually the factories were just taken over by the Nazis and run with slave labor. Henry Ford, like Lindbergh, was considered to be an anti-Semite (for good reason), at least until the US actually entered WWII.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jean

    The American labor leader Walter Reuther declared in 1940, “America’s battles can be won on the assembly lines of Detroit.” This is one of the main themes of the book and it left me thinking, the U.S. and Canada won WWI and WWII by building more military equipment faster than any other counties. What are we going to do if or when, we have another big war? We no longer are the manufacturing giant we were in the past. We no longer have the manufacturing plants to convert to the war effort, in fact The American labor leader Walter Reuther declared in 1940, “America’s battles can be won on the assembly lines of Detroit.” This is one of the main themes of the book and it left me thinking, the U.S. and Canada won WWI and WWII by building more military equipment faster than any other counties. What are we going to do if or when, we have another big war? We no longer are the manufacturing giant we were in the past. We no longer have the manufacturing plants to convert to the war effort, in fact we no longer even manufacture the uniforms and boots our troops wear. After reading this book I cannot help but think we will be at a big disadvantage in the future. I know I must have heard the saying “the arsenal of democracy” but I did not remember that was what FDR called the production of war materials. Baime focuses primarily on the Ford Motor Company and its production of the B-24 Liberator heavy bomber. Ford also manufactured tanks, trucks, jeeps, aircraft engines and parts, gun mounts and armor plates. Ford was not the only plane and manufacture of tanks trucks, autos etc., in fact General Motors’ was by far the larger manufacture. Baime writes primarily about the conflict between Edsel Ford who was the head of the company at the time and his father Henry Ford. The author also discusses the conflict between FDR and Henry Ford. Baime also reviews the role of William Knudsen, Roosevelt’s mobilization czar. The author also notes that as the majority of white men were mobilized to fight the war, the women and black men and women were recruited to work the assembly lines with great success. I read this as an audiobook downloaded from Audible. Peter Berkrot narrated the book.

  22. 5 out of 5

    stormin

    This is another one of those Audible Daily Deals that I picked up for only like $3. It was worth it, although it wasn't incredible. It's primarily the story of Henry Ford and his son Edsel and the growth of Ford Motor Company up through World War II. I didn't know much about any of that before reading, and it was very interesting. Henry comes across as a brilliant and plucky American innovator who, in his later years, goes kind of crazy. He goes from having a close and loving relationship with hi This is another one of those Audible Daily Deals that I picked up for only like $3. It was worth it, although it wasn't incredible. It's primarily the story of Henry Ford and his son Edsel and the growth of Ford Motor Company up through World War II. I didn't know much about any of that before reading, and it was very interesting. Henry comes across as a brilliant and plucky American innovator who, in his later years, goes kind of crazy. He goes from having a close and loving relationship with his son to basically rejecting him altogether and instead bringing in a surrogate son (Harry Bennet) who spends decades working against Edsel's idealistic improvements at Ford. So, Henry becomes the senile anti-Semite and Edsel the courageous and fair-minded idealist (e.g. at one point he has his own son, Henry Jr, working underneath a black mechanic in the factory and Bennet says it won't do to have a Henry Jr. learning from a black man, but Edsel tells him to just go back and do precisely that.) Then there's World War II. Henry spends his time basically trying every tactic he can think of to prevent Ford from contributing to the war effort because he's a pacifist and also possibly a Nazi sympathizer. Finally, after Pearl Harbor, he is decisively overwhelmed by events, and so allows Edsel and his team to continue their ambitious plan to build a mile-long factory capable of producing one Liberator heavy bomber airplane per hour. Unfortunately, the author seems more interested in telling us about the pathos then really finding ways to show us. The book would have worked better as historical fiction, I think.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Brian

    The Arsenal of Democracy looks at the Ford Motor Company in World War II and its interactions in the war effort to fulfill Roosevelt’s promise of the United States becoming the Arsenal of Democracy. At the start of World War II it looked like the Germans could hopelessly out produce the allies using their industrial might (which ironically included Ford plants in France). The vision of FDR and Edsel Ford (son of Henry Ford) to believe American power could out produce. This book covers the long a The Arsenal of Democracy looks at the Ford Motor Company in World War II and its interactions in the war effort to fulfill Roosevelt’s promise of the United States becoming the Arsenal of Democracy. At the start of World War II it looked like the Germans could hopelessly out produce the allies using their industrial might (which ironically included Ford plants in France). The vision of FDR and Edsel Ford (son of Henry Ford) to believe American power could out produce. This book covers the long and tumultuous road to production that would cost Edsel his life. The dream of one bomber an hour (the B-24 Liberator) rolling off the production lines was born. Despite the misgivings of Henry Ford and Charles Lindbergh who would both throw themselves into this effort the plant at Willow Run was born. The struggle for the soul of the Ford Motor Company between Henry Bennett and the Ford children would play a key role in this struggle and is well told by A. J. Baime. For those interested in wartime production or just looking for a good story for World War II that is often overlooked this book will not disappoint. It is a quick read and the author does a great job of keeping the story moving.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Biblio Files (takingadayoff)

    Arsenal of Democracy is an enjoyable history about how Detroit and the car industry transformed from building automobiles to building war planes. Having recently watched the PBS American Experience documentary about Henry Ford and his son, Edsel, I knew a little about the family, the company, and their part in the war effort, and this book got into a lot more detail, all of it quite fascinating. Henry Ford was not eager for America to get involved in what seemed a European war, and this was not a Arsenal of Democracy is an enjoyable history about how Detroit and the car industry transformed from building automobiles to building war planes. Having recently watched the PBS American Experience documentary about Henry Ford and his son, Edsel, I knew a little about the family, the company, and their part in the war effort, and this book got into a lot more detail, all of it quite fascinating. Henry Ford was not eager for America to get involved in what seemed a European war, and this was not an unusual attitude before Pearl Harbor. Roosevelt had to do a bit of arm-twisting to get Ford to contribute his vast resources to building bombers for a war that Ford did not think America could win. Once the assembly lines began rolling out bombers, there were other problems. Labor relations, Ford family infighting, the suspicion that Ford plants in occupied France and elsewhere were being used to build tanks and trucks for the Nazis, all made for a lot of conflict. Author Baime documents his sources in detail and describes at the beginning and at the end, his methods in creating a dramatic narrative, while relying strictly on facts.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Ross

    Despite being listed as a best seller, I could only stand half the book before I gave up. The book turned out to be primarily about Edsel Ford and his crazy father Henry. Second it was also about the employees of Edsel and Henry and President FDR. There was also a small amount about the actual production facilities and war material that was produced, which was the title of the book and the only thing I was interested it. Another huge problem was I think the book must have been commissioned and pa Despite being listed as a best seller, I could only stand half the book before I gave up. The book turned out to be primarily about Edsel Ford and his crazy father Henry. Second it was also about the employees of Edsel and Henry and President FDR. There was also a small amount about the actual production facilities and war material that was produced, which was the title of the book and the only thing I was interested it. Another huge problem was I think the book must have been commissioned and paid for by the Edsel Ford Memorial Society, or similar organization. The book glosses over one mistake after another made by Edsel, apologizing profusely at each. Finally, I bought the audiobook version and the narrator was terrible.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jrobertus

    This was a fast, informative and interesting read. It describes how FDR galvanized American industry, particularly the auto industry, to mobilize for war. Henry Ford was a total asshole, decorated my Hitler, he loathed FDR and was a pacifist. He wore down his son Edsel, who seems like a saint. Henry hired a goon to break union organizers and ran what was called the Ford Terror. The book also relates the efforts of Edsel to build Willow Run into the largest airplane fabrication line in the world, This was a fast, informative and interesting read. It describes how FDR galvanized American industry, particularly the auto industry, to mobilize for war. Henry Ford was a total asshole, decorated my Hitler, he loathed FDR and was a pacifist. He wore down his son Edsel, who seems like a saint. Henry hired a goon to break union organizers and ran what was called the Ford Terror. The book also relates the efforts of Edsel to build Willow Run into the largest airplane fabrication line in the world, pouring our B24 Liberators. Their action in Europe, like the great Polesti raids, is also described.

  27. 4 out of 5

    thomas c. pino

    Entertaining and Educational Rarely do you find a book then is so educational and yet entertaining and easy to read. It was enlightening to learn how instrumental manufacturing in the United States was to winning World War II. We have heard a lot about Henry Ford in Lindbergh being isolationist and nazi sympathizers in WWII, but not much about Edsel Ford's positive work. This book also describes the social aspects of labor unrest and demographic movements in the United States during World War II Entertaining and Educational Rarely do you find a book then is so educational and yet entertaining and easy to read. It was enlightening to learn how instrumental manufacturing in the United States was to winning World War II. We have heard a lot about Henry Ford in Lindbergh being isolationist and nazi sympathizers in WWII, but not much about Edsel Ford's positive work. This book also describes the social aspects of labor unrest and demographic movements in the United States during World War II due to the manufacturing upsurge. Great read.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Martha

    Another good history read - Henry Ford, his colleagues, difficult relationship with his beloved son who loved him in return, Hitler, Roosevelt, WWII, race relations - a great lens for the story of a crucial century in American History. Henry Ford was quite a contradiction.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Daryl Thompson

    A great history of the Ford Motor Company and the city of Detroit. Ford was an amazing company and did some great things to support the second world war as did some other Detroit companies. Daryl

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kelsey Long

    I learned more about the Ford family and Detroit during WWII. It was very informative and well written.

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