ALONG CAME THE MODEL T!: How Henry Ford Put the World on Wheels by Robert Quackenbush

ALONG CAME THE MODEL T!: How Henry Ford Put the World on Wheels

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Like Quackenbush's Wright brothers biography Take Me Out to the Airfield (1976), this faces campy, captioned color scenes-from-the-life with snippets of Ford's career--and it footnotes the latter with cartooned Q-and-A exchanges explaining what a cylinder is, why Henry had to crank up the engine by hand, and other technicalities. Between exclaimation-pointed puffs (""Henry Ford started the automobile age. . . took the horse and buggy off the road. . . changed the destiny of the world""), Quackenbush hits the generally recognized high points of Ford's success story: Henry's passion for tinkering, the Duryeas' earlier invention, Ford's introduction of the assembly line and his production (over stockholders' resistance) of the first widely affordable car, his reluctance to change models later on. Even at this level, though, it's misleading to announce that Ford shortened workers' hours and doubled their pay--and thus ""helped to raise the standard of living for countless thousands of American workers""--while ignoring his repressive paternalism and strong-arm opposition to unions. But Quackenbush is clearly less interested in a realistic portrayal than in an old-fashioned American legend--one that will fit alongside his folksong interpretations.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1978
Publisher: Parents' Magazine Press