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DRIVEN by Don Mitchell

DRIVEN

A Photobiography of Henry Ford

by Don Mitchell

Age Range: 10 - 14

Pub Date: May 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-1-4263-0155-1
Publisher: National Geographic

This well-rounded portrait depicts Ford as a complex, contradictory figure embodying qualities that are equally admirable and loathsome. His relentless pursuit of his vision resulted in the Model T, transforming the automobile from luxury item to something affordable for average Americans. The narrative lays it out: Ford’s innovative workplace practices included doubling the average wage of automotive-industry workers, reducing the workweek from six days to five and setting new standards for factory safety. Ford was pioneering in his willingness to hire African-Americans, ex-convicts, women, the physically disabled and mentally ill. The undoing of his reputation was largely self-inflicted. He purchased a newspaper to publish anti-Semitic propaganda and distributed it through Ford dealerships. Mitchell vaguely speculates on the roots of Ford’s anti-Semitism and does not mention that Hitler was a great admirer. Adamant opposition to labor unions further tarnished Ford’s reputation as a champion of the common man, though the author’s essential fondness for his subject shines through even here. An ample selection of well-captioned photographs, maps and archival material breaks up the text and demonstrates the tremendous impact of the Ford Motor Company. (chronology, bibliography, index) (Biography. 10-14)