The People's Tycoon by Steven Watts
Henry Ford and the American Century

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Synopsis

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.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
 

About Steven Watts

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Steven Watts is a professor of history at University of Missouri and the author of The Magic Kingdom: Walt Disney and the American Way of Life.
 
Published March 5, 2009 by Vintage. 654 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Business & Economics, History. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The People's Tycoon

Kirkus Reviews

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A smoothly written, comprehensive life of a man at once complex and superficial—truly an icon of the modern age.

Aug 15 2005 | Read Full Review of The People's Tycoon: Henry Fo...

Kirkus Reviews

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as with his adoption of fad diets and spiritualist causes, Watts observes, Ford “offered a mishmash of half-digested concepts and visceral intuitions, rather than systematic analysis, so his social and cultural speculations did not probe very deeply.” Deeply enough, though, to lose market share a...

May 01 2005 | Read Full Review of The People's Tycoon: Henry Fo...

The New York Times

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Steven Watts is intelligent, thorough and engaging -- if a touch long-winded -- in telling the story of an American who not only was influential but remains unavoidable to this day: with every contemporary advertisement promising personal fulfillment through the purchase of some new product, ther...

Sep 04 2005 | Read Full Review of The People's Tycoon: Henry Fo...

The New York Times

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Early on the Ford advertising team approached him with a slogan, ''Buy a Ford and Save the Difference!'' Ford scratched out ''save'' and replaced it with ''spend.'' He sensed that old-fashioned rigid virtues were giving way to the allure of self-fulfillment and leisure.

Sep 04 2005 | Read Full Review of The People's Tycoon: Henry Fo...

Book Reporter

The name of Henry Ford surely stands high on anyone's list of the.

Jan 17 2011 | Read Full Review of The People's Tycoon: Henry Fo...

Christian Science Monitor

Ford loved the ordinary folk and they loved him back.

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Project MUSE

Sorensen, production czar for Ford, writes in his memoirs about Ford's refusal to sign a contract with the United Auto Workers after a decade of occasionally bloody labor strife.

| Read Full Review of The People's Tycoon: Henry Fo...

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