A compelling narrative of the design and development of Ford cars in the 1950s and ’60s.

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The Man Who Saved the V-8


The story of the creation and marketing of some of Ford’s most popular, iconic cars, as told by one of the company’s early “Whiz Kids.”

“I have always loved to drive,” Morsey says in this debut memoir. “Ever since I was a small boy, I have been fascinated with automobiles and felt the tug of the open road.” His passion took him from driving his first Ford Coupe in 1936 to convincing a boardroom of Ford executives in 1949 that V-8 models would be necessary to put the company back on top. After college, with World War II ongoing, Morsey’s father shot down his idea of going to law school, saying, “You’re going to get drafted, and you’re going to have absolutely nothing to offer the army—no skills at all.” So, with his father’s recommendation, Morsey instead started working for IBM, where he learned the essentials of good business and how customer satisfaction could sell products better than market research. The author deftly weaves the lessons he learned into his narrative, but he’s always careful to bring his readers back into the action of the story. As a lead market analyst for Ford, he learned of a new initiative to stop production of the V-8 engine. Morsey’s passion comes through in this section, since he understood that the V-8 didn’t sell Ford cars because it was cheaper or more efficient but because it gave people pride to drive one. It’s intriguing to watch the concepts develop, such as the author’s idea of the Thunderbird as “the apple in the window”: The legendary car didn’t make money on its own, he says, but customers desired it so much that it led them to buy other, more practical Ford cars. Children who saw their parents idolizing the sleek Thunderbird grew into adults, and Morsey and future Chrysler CEO Lee Iacocca sold them the sporty yet sensible Ford Mustang in the late 1960s.Morsey’s detailed prose, passionate recollections and careful documentation help bring this era of automotive history to life.

A compelling narrative of the design and development of Ford cars in the 1950s and ’60s.

Pub Date: Jan. 11, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4923-5733-9

Page Count: 156

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: March 10, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2014

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Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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