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by Robert Lacey
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  • Author:
    Robert Lacey
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    Ballantine Books (May 12, 1987)
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From Henry Ford - the original in every sense of the word - whose revolutionary standards created a new way of life for America and the world.

Corporate & Business History - General, General, Biography & Autobiography, General, Biography, Autobiography, Automobile industry, Automobile industry and trade, Biography, Ford family, United States, phy, Ford, Henry, 1863-1947, Ford Motor Company. New York : Ballantine Books. inlibrary; printdisabled; ; china.

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Robert Hamilton, Robert Lacey (book). Cliff Robertson gives one of his best performances in Ford: The Man And The Machine

Robert Hamilton, Robert Lacey (book). Cliff Robertson gives one of his best performances in Ford: The Man And The Machine. In Henry Ford's case the machine he invented truly dominated the man, causing son Edsel to seriously question whether his father truly loved his family more than that automobile that made him a hero in his early years. I think you'll figure out the answer as you watch the film. Henry Ford the farm kid with a genius for mechanical invention proved to be a shrewder businessman than his original partners thought.

Relates the story of Henry Ford, his son Edsel, his grandson Henry II, and describes others who were influential in the automobile company and in the family dynasty.

Ford, Henry, 1863-1947, Ford family, Ford, Henry, 1863-1947, Ford (Famille), Ford Motor Company, Ford Motor Company, Automobile industry and trade, Automobiles. Boston : Little, Brown. Relates the story of Henry Ford, his son Edsel, his grandson Henry II, and describes others who were influential in the automobile company and in the family dynasty. bad autoskew on some pages.

The result is a powerful and original portrait of a family and an epoch.

He went to work on the assembly line, that most famous of Henry Ford’s inventions, and interviewed members of the Ford family, their friends and their enemies. The result is a powerful and original portrait of a family and an epoch. Ford: the Men and the Machine, a best seller on both sides of the Atlantic which formed the basis for the film of the same title, starring Cliff Robertson.

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Robert Newton Ford (January 31, 1862 – June 8, 1892) was an American outlaw best known for killing his gang's leader Jesse James in April 1882, to collect a reward and a promised amnesty for past crimes. For about a year, Ford and his older brother Charles performed paid re-enactments of the killing at publicity events.

Master biographer Robert Lacey tells the fascinating, authoritative account of the ambitious men and glamorous women behind the world's largest family-controlled business empire. From Henry Ford -- the original in every sense of the word -- whose revolutionary standards created a new way of life for America and the world, to Henry Ford II, old Henry's grandson, who rose from a frivolous playboy to become an industrial giant in his own right, to the tragic figure of Edsel Ford, old Henry's son and young Henry's father, smothered by the one and overshadowed by the other, to brash Lee Iacocca, whose visionary plans for the company would put him in conflict with Henry Ford II."Richly anecdotal and wonderfully readable . . . irresistable." The Washington Post Book World

I don't believe I ever read a 700 page biography cover to cover before (or any other book that size). I'm not an avid or a fast reader but this book held my interest. Certainly this book is not for everyone, but if you're interested in automobiles and how automobiles and the people who built them changed the world (for better or worse) this is one book You'll want to read. This book was published in mid 80s and I was in Detroit around that time, I wish I could have read it then. Charlie Sorenson wrote an an autobiography, " My Forty Years With Ford" good, but an autobiography has one point of view, where this book has several. It goes way beyond Fords, but then Fords (the people and the cars) have touched most everyone on the planet. I don't know if you can still get a decent hardcover, but my paperback wanted to come apart. I may have to buy a hardcover because I'll probably read it again!
"Ford: The Men and the Machine" is the most definitive and complete book about the life and happenings of automotive's greatest man, Henry Ford. His accomplishments as cited cannot compare to any other single figure in automobile history (or even business itself).
The book is nothing short of epic: over 800 pages and 36 chapters, plus appendices. It starts off with the author's assessment of Ford's total contribution to life, starting at Dearborn Michigan in 1831. The details are all-inclusive and mind boggling, right down to Henry's Sister's comments about his early days repairing watches. The book moves slowly and steadily through Part One, "The Rise of Henry Ford" to Parts Two and Three, "Glory Days" and "Grass-Roots Hero." Here the reader is given the unbiased account of even the thoughts of young Henry, and how he became so fascinated with what was then the latest thing: the gasoline engine, which he saw in 1877 from a trip to Machinery Hall in Philadelphia. We are given the full story behind Ford's rise to power over other prominent automotive men of his time, such as the Duryea and the Dodge Bros., and particularly Henry Selden. I found it exciting to read about how Ford didn't give in to a greedy, money-hungry individual like Selden who had no real engineering talent, but wanted only to rake in the royalties from his so-called gasoline engine that he patented in 1895 (it didn't even work as illustrated in his diagram, and Selden didn't even have a working model in an automobile until 1904--it went five yards and died!). Ford held out through more than 10 years of court battles over the legal implications of the Selden patent, and won. After that, there was no doubt that Ford had firmly established himself as a "man for the people." The victory over the Selden patent allowed ALL automobile manufacturers to keep their prices affordable.
Part Four, "Henry and Edsel" describes the business relationship with his firstborn son, and their occasional public disputes over company policies and overall business strategies. Henry bitterly opposed automoible financing, for example, but Edsel was all for it. Edsel was right, too, it was the only way to sell cars to lower-income buyers. Of course, the whole story behind the biggest flop in automotive history, the Edsel car itself, is revealed. What happened? How much money was lost? What were the shortcomings of the Edsel that ultimately was its demise? "...The Men and the Machine" will tell you, without room for doubts.
In fact, as part of the research I'm doing for an automotive book of my own, I noticed at least three other authors in my bibliography that referenced this same book, perhaps Lacey's greatest achievement.
Parts 5 and 6, "Henry II" and "Henry and Lee" gradually move more away from the business side of the Ford Machine--but not altogether away--and gradually reveal personal aspects of later Ford generations and their family relationships. Discussed are the development and marketing plans of the Mustang and Pinto which, ironically, were diametrically opposed to each other as complete success and utter failure.
This book is worth double the money. Sometimes I am amazed at the length Lacey went to get his sources, over 50 pages of specific and varied references. I feel fortunate to have a copy that is in good shape. Every time I open the pages, I learn something new. Each page informs, educates and increases depth of thinking, in that sometimes what appears to be a single invention is only a hub to other spokes of development. "...the men and the Machine" actually helps me to think better overall. I can then apply the underlying techniques to all situations in life; consider that one thing leads to another, and if this happens, then it will affect that and that, and so on. If you have even the slightest interest in automotive development, automobile history, American Culture or the person of Henry Ford himself, do not be without this book. Buy it today. My highest recommendation for all readers over 14 (reading level).
Love this book, very informative, lots of information I never knew and written in a very pleasant way.
Excellent book - I'm on my second paperback copy (and it's falling apart). Even if you're not an automotive industry aficionado, it provides an intimate yet not tabloid-creepy portrait of the Ford family, from the birth of Henry I through the retirement of Henry II. Highly entertaining, informative and very readable.
Read this years ago and wanted to find it as a gift. The definitive story, both good and bad, of an American icon. Very revealing and excellently researched. If you love history and cars, you need to read this.
Third read in 20+ years great book always find more interesting rash time I read it.
Good historical accounting of the generations of Ford family.
The fascinating story of the Fords, from Henry I to Edsel to Henry II and beyond, is well told in this sprawling book. Lacey's writing is crisp and readable. It is an intriguing story, and ably presented.