THE WILD WHEEL by Garet Garrett
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This is a story of an era in American life that passed with the Great Depression and the coming of the New Deal. Mr. Garrett sets forth as his theme the economic principle of laissez faire, and in telling of the days when it revolutionized American industry he presents as his subject the superlative consummator of the system, Henry Ford. Ford's rise from a young mechanic to the head of an empire, is discussed in terms of the man and the times -- as the author says at the close of his book, the days when Ford and his empire could have happened are over. Ford's economic principle of doing away with the profit motive, of putting most of his capital back into the business, of giving the benefit to the consumer, made him the richest man in the world -- and also made it possible for almost anyone to own a car. Mr. Garrett describes the ""hand- minded"" genius whose ignorance caused him humiliation in court and who distrusted experts who thought some things were impossible. He tells of Ford's friendship with Edison, to whom, too, power was a plaything; he tells of Ford's sally into the dangerous sea of politics and his disembarkment; he tells of Ford's love of the past which he had helped to negate with his machine world and which he sought to preserve at Greenfield Village; he tells of the end of laissez-faire and Ford's impetuous submission to the closed shop. Mr. Garrett tells of a man, a child-man, an enigma, a man with ""wheels in his head"", and his writing whirs along like one of those wheels, spinning out various threads of the story of a man and an era we should not forget. Economically exciting and sound.

Pub Date: April 28th, 1952
Publisher: Pantheon