NEVER COMPLAIN, NEVER EXPLAIN: The Story of Henry Ford II by Victor Lasky

NEVER COMPLAIN, NEVER EXPLAIN: The Story of Henry Ford II

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Ex-Ford prexy Iaccoca apparently did a little talking. Ditto some affronted old friends and aggrieved business associates. But Lasky's hatchet-job assemblage on Henry Ford II gets its heftiest dirt from renegade nephew Benson--stymied, so far, in his efforts to break his father's will (which freezes him out of the company)--and from Roy Cohn, who briefly represented both young Ford and a group of dissident stockholders. Not that there aren't plenty of Ford family embarrassments already in the public domain for Lasky to trot out: Grandpa Henry's anti-Semitism; daughter Charlotte's shotgun marriage to Stavros Niarchos (so amicable, actually, that he was soon back with his former wife); Henry's business blunders (the costly non-investment in small, fuel-efficient cars, the simultaneous high-risk investment in the Renaissance Center). And jet-setter Henry's ""legendary drinking habits"" have hardly escaped notice either--though the unfriendly witnesses contribute some particularly distasteful accounts of his ""grossness"" when drunk. More worth recounting (and conceivably true) is the unsavory story of Iacocca's ouster. But what bulks out the book is the Benson Ford/Roy Cohn contribution: the allegations, from the defunct stockholder suit, that Henry bilked the company (and, maybe, took a $2 million bribe from Imelda Marcos); and Benson's charge, rooted in childhood miseries, ""that he was being euchred out of his rightful inheritance by a scheming uncle."" (Ex-wife Christina didn't squeal--not that, with tattling servants and/or confidantes, she needed to.) A foul business overall. . . but, undeniably, a scandal-monger's delight.

Pub Date: July 16th, 1981
Publisher: Marek--dist. by Putnam