HENRY: A Life of Henry Ford II by Walter Hayes

HENRY: A Life of Henry Ford II

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An overfond tribute to a consequential industrialist from a longtime friend and business associate. Hayes, an Englishman who held high executive posts with the Ford Motor Co. in Detroit as well as the UK, was an intimate of the legendary founder's grandson. He has failed, however, to turn this close acquaintanceship to any particularly illuminating end. Indeed, his portrait is airbrushed to a point where it divests a hard-drinking, thrice-married, and complex man of all rough edges. By the author's trivially detailed account, for instance, Henry Ford II was a basically simple fellow whose every important action--from the post. WW II restoration of the family finn through the sacking of Lee Iacocca and planning of his estate's disposition--could be attributed to vision as well as logic. In certain respects, Hayes is on the money, e.g., when commending his subject (who died at 70 in 1987) for anticipating and acting early on the likelihood auto makers would compete in a global marketplace. In soft-pedaling the noisy private life of Hank the Deuce (as he was known in certain quarters), though, the author more often than not simply taxes credulity. An obvious labor of love, albeit one that represents little more than an exercise in revisionist hagiography.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1990
Publisher: Grove Weidenfeld