THE FORD DYNASTY: An American Story by James Brough

THE FORD DYNASTY: An American Story

Email this review


A scissors-and-paste chronicle of the Ford family, company, and car that gathers itself together, finally, around the ""pudgy"" person of the unprepared heir, Henry Ford II. Book One is a tangle of particulars about old Henry's peccadilloes, the social pretensions of his daughter-in-law's mother, his ideological indebtedness to Thomas Edison, endless tinkering with motors, feuds with competitors, ungratefulness to employees--crudely knotted together (""The first primitive motor stirred to life seven weeks after Edsel had gone through a similar process"")--from which the author extracts a motive for the motor vehicle: ""Abolish the despicable beasts that to him exemplified the drudgery of farm living that had helped kill his mother!"" (Brough, is not the first, of course, to point out Ford's unreasoning hatred of his father.) In Book Two, tyrannical Henry's ""convoluted brain"" leads him to denounce the Jews, humiliate reasonable, reticent son Edsel, amass historic artifacts, cling obstinately to the Model T, and terrorize union organizers. With Edsel's death in mid-war, and the old man's decline, into the lists against strongman Harry Bennett comes good-natured goodtime Henry II, 25, backed by grandmother Clara, resolved to cross her husband at last, and mother Eleanor, who controls a third of the stock. In a book that musters energy only for social doings and gossip, Henry axing Harry should be the climactic scene--but if Brough could write scenes, the whole account might have had some cheap drama. One does rather take a liking to unflappable Henry (which may be the idea) who, knowing nothing, never doubts that he can make good, to luscious Cristina, convent-sprung Charlotte and Anne, and young Edsel--the first Ford through college. It may be needless to add that nothing is documented.

Pub Date: Sept. 9th, 1977
Publisher: Doubleday