Following the thread asking about "Any Colour so Long As its Black" I thought it might be helpful to start a thread on the merits of Model T related books that you have read.
The way I see it, some books deal with the Car, some the Man and others the Company and many all three. Probably other angles as well.
Can I suggest that we start each posting with the title followed by the name of the author.
“The Peoples Tycoon; Henry Ford and the American Century” by Steven Watts 2005
I’m about 2/3 thru this at the moment and am enjoying it. As the title suggests it is primarily about the man but has plenty about the company, not so much about the car and little or no technical info.
Steven Watts has looked at HF from all directions and has written about his genius and his shortcomings.
I recommend it.
I too found "People's Tycoon" a good read.
Douglas Brinkley's "Wheels for the World" (p. 2003) is a good book and one that can still be found quite easily at any large bookstore such as Books-A-Million, Barnes & Nobles etc. etc.
Luke, I have that too; hope to get to it over the Christmas break.
The next ones I review:
Charles Sorensen's "My Forty Years with Ford"
Charles Merz "And then came Ford"
Harry Bennett "We Never Called Him Henry"
Will do these over the next couple evenings, it's supposed to get down in the 40s at night here in my part of FL- too cold to plunder in the shop.
The 5 dollar day...
A well researched BFM "graduate studies" author.
Stephan Meyer III
SUNY Series in American Social History.
You can get it for half price new if you look around enough.
"Will do these over the next couple evenings, it's supposed to get down in the 40s at night here in my part of FL- too cold to plunder in the shop."
You should move to Nebraska! Over the next several months you would have time to review every motoring book known to man
This FL boy can't handle cold very well. I've been in Michigan & Ohio in the dead of winter and was never more miserable & shaking like a dog crapping peach pits. Besides I can't drive in snow.
Here's tonight's book review-
"And Then Came Ford" by Charles Merz
Merz was editor of the New York World at the time he wrote this book.
My copy is a first edition published in 1929 but am sure there were at least 2 editions published. 321 pages long with no index or notes but does mention source material was the 2 books by Henry Ford, My Life & Work & Today and Tomorrow, the New York Times & New York World, and Allan Benson's "The New Henry Ford"
No photographs but does have a few generic pen & ink drawings at the end of each chapter.
This book is not particularly a detailed Ford history book, but rather a book that appeals to a mass audience. It makes for good reading and the dust jacket artwork is quite nice.
This book is currently being reprinted in paperback but originals are easily found on abebooks or alibris.com. Ones with the dust jacket are less common.
Here's a couple photos-
"The Public Image of Henry Ford" by David L. Lewis. Copyright date 1976, by Wayne State University Press.
It is said that Lewis knows more about Ford Heritage than any other writer. It was the result of 19 years of research.
Most accurate book on Henry that I have ever read
"The Secret Life of Henry Ford" by John Dahlinger is an interesting read. Luke says that he's not related to this author, but as immersed in Ford history as he is, I find that difficult to believe.
Anyway, this book was published by the Bobbs-Merrill Company in 1978, written by a fellow who claims on page 1 of the book to be Henry's son. Most of the remainder of the book is in support of that notion. His parents were employees of Ford, and the author cites instance after instance in which the family was given special attention and privileges by Mr. Ford. He says that Henry visited them at home on many occasions, and that he (John) was given many gifts by Henry much like those that Henry gave to Edsel.
I suppose that we will never know the absolute truth of the matter, but the author makes point after point to support his allegation that he is Henry's progeny. The book also includes some insight about Henry's dealings with his managers, and other goings-on in the company through the years. As I said, it is an interesting read, and one which relates info which was comfortably swept under the rug for some time.
Maybe Luke's new book on the history of Ford will include a chapter about his Great-grandfather Ray and great-Grandmother Evangeline.
I agree, an interesting read.
It is worth noting how many other books also deal with the Dahlinger connection and with the house maids that hastily left HF's employ and the area.
I would love to see the inside of the Dahlinger house and the stairway from the kitchen up to her bedroom.
It would have been quite a sight to see HF coming along the river in his electric boat, tying up at the Dahlinger landing and creeping up the stairs.
Can anyone give me their thoughts on
"The Legendary Model T Ford" by Tom Collins.
My daughter is asking what I want for Christmas.
The Dahlinger house still stands. It is privately owned and from what my sources have told me the current owner is well aware of the Ford connection the house has.
I have not made contact with the current owner so I do not know how accommodating he would be towards anyone seeking information about the house.
From my research there is more than one secret staircase in the house.
Since I'm looking thru these right now I'll go ahead and give them a review.
"The Ford Dealership" By Henry Dominguez.
There's 2 volumes and I highly encourage everyone to get both volumes. The selection of photographs is amazing, many of which I had never seen before.
The best part is the photos are not small, rather one picture to each page which allows alot of study with a magnifying glass. The fact the books are printed in landscape format makes it even better.
Dominguez has produced a number of Ford books, "The Ford Agency", "Edsel The story of Henry's Forgotten Son" (excellent book). These all are on my shelf of oft cited Ford books.
I read "My Forty Years with Ford," by Charles E. Sorensen a couple of years ago, and re-read it recently because the book is so darn readable and interesting. It's written by the only high-ranking eye-witness at Ford who was around long enough to pen a synopsis of the operations of the company as it existed throughout the span of time during which Henry Ford himself was in charge.
Besides dealing the unavoidably biased account of his own rise from pattern-maker to top-echelon exec, Sorensen talks at length about the other famous personalities with whom we're familiar and flavors it with his own perspective. Of course, the primary character with whom he deals is Henry Ford himself and the personal point of view is unique.
I also read "The People's Tycoon," by Steven Watts and though it's a very good, thorough reference on Ford himself, it's a little bit less of a page-turner than Sorensen's book simply because; whereas Sorensen, as an eye-witness to history, produced a manuscript of personal recollection and impression, Steven Watts did what most historians do—that is to say, he gathered data from primary sources and available eye-witnesses and compiled the information in an organized, usually chronological manner.
Watts portrays Henry Ford as a sort of 2-sided coin. On one side is the peerless visionary who put the world on wheels, changed the collective occupation of America from agriculture to industry and raised the standard of living of a gadzillion working families; and the other side of the coin deals with the consistent train wrecks that were the man's personal relationships.
Both books were very worthwhile.
Then I read "Life in the Shadows of the Crystal Palace," by Clarence Hooker. This one is not an easy read. It's a college-level textbook on the sociology of Highland Park, Michigan. It deals with population numbers, ratios of nationalities and races in the neighboring areas, statistics, statistics and more statistics.
If ever there was a reference book with dry facts, this is it. I'm guessing this work is of great value to scholarly types and sociology professors, but I'm just a hobbyist. Nevertheless, I forced myself to plow through it and for that, got a fleeting feeling of accomplishment, but absolutely no retention of information. I'm just not qualified to pass judgement on this one.
Gavin, the Collins book is large format and has very nice pictures, but the text is far from Bruces book. Bob Coiro gives it a review here: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/118802/170118.html?1289452914
I suspected that "Crystal Palace" might be a bit dry, as was "The 5 Dollar day" by Stephen Meyer III.
Although it looks to be a book for the coffee table rather than a reference piece, it is available locally so will be a good one for the daughter to buy me.
I have Bruce's 2 books (and the CD) (1 & 2 on my list of books for the new chum to buy) and have many others but am looking for more.
My interest is constantly changing; something mentioned in one book will send me off on a tangent, researching another facet of the man, the car and the company. I'm also interested in the architecture of the time so am also chasing books on Albert Kahn, (combining my business with my hobby.)
Following Luke's recommendations (Nov 25th) I ordered the 4 Henry Dominguez authored books direct from Mr Dominguez. They have just arrived, look good. Guess what I will be doing over the Christmas break ?
I have both "Life in the Shadows of the Crystal Palace" and "Five Dollar Day" in my collection. I found both of them good reading, but with an OCD tendency towards all things Vintage Ford I suppose that's a bit of a biased view.
Here's a different book from the norm:
"Henry Ford Hospital- The First 75 Years" by Patricia Painter.
Not necessarily a Ford history book, but it does give great insight into what is undoubtedly Ford's biggest philanthropy project.
It also provides some insight as to how Ernest Liebold(Ford's main secretary) micromanaged this and many many other projects.
The best quote in the book-
"Mr. Liebold why can't we get rid of that sh*t brown colored tile that's on the front of the building and replace it with a different color?" - Henry Ford
I laughed when I read it as I can imagine Henry Ford saying something like that.
I have over 400 Ford related books and pamphlets in my library.
A few comments about books already mentioned and some not mentioned.
Anything by David Lewis, the preeminent Ford scholar, is well researched and excellent reading.
The Ford Dealership books by Henry Dominguez are excellent and so too is his book about the relationship between Edsel Ford and E.T Gregory. This book is not related to the Model T.
Another book not mentioned is "Men, Money and Motors, The Drama of the Automobile" MacManus and Beasley 1929 Harper Brothers. An interesting look at the personalities involved.
Though controversial if you ever see author Cunningham ("J8") or Young ("A Ford Dealers Twenty Year Ride") these are worth reading for an alternative view of HF and Ford dealer policies.
Ron the Coilman
To add to what Ron posted:
"Detroit is my own Home Town" has a nice section on Henry Ford, "Independent Man, the Story of James Couzens", and "Dodge Dynasty" are among the other non Ford specific books that have interesting parts on Henry Ford & Ford Motor Co.
A little note on my own Ford library:
I'm nearing 1000 Ford related books and a hundred or so sales folders, by products brochures, etc. I don't really collect the literature aspect of things unless it's something unusual. I'd rather spend that money on original signage, fluid cans, NOS parts, Sterling & Shenango Ford china, etc.
Collecting Ford books is a great sub-hobby but they take up alot of room and you have to care for them, especially the old ones. I keep most of them boxed up in airtight storage containers.
In cases such as my original copies of Ford Methods & Shops, my signed edition of Charles Sorensen's 40 years book, Samuel Marquis' "Henry Ford, an Interpretation" (One of the few books that was highly critical of Ford. Most copies were bought up by the Ford family and people sympathetic to Henry Ford. Originals are quite hard to find.), etc. I keep those stashed and have "reading copies", aka old library editions/reprints that I use.
I'm not posting this to brag, but rather how I care for my collection and possibly give others some ideas.
Found this book to be a good read.
Lots of insight on the real Henry, and how America took to the 'Flivver King', and welcomed him, and his machine for a generation.
Charles Sorenson must have signed two of "40 Years" and at least one copy of Ford Industries. Grin
We should talk some time and share book collection notes.
Ron the Coilman
On a far less scholarly note, but appropriate for this time of year, this book is kind of fun - especially if you have kids or grandkids.
Here is another children's book. It is the Tin Lizzie, by Peter Spier. This is an excellent book for children. It covers the life of a Model T from brand new through a couple different owners to being discarded in a farmers field, then discovered and restored.
"Monopoly On Wheels - Henry Ford and the Selden Automobile Patent" by William Greenleaf.
I thought that this was going to be a hard read but was pleasantly surprised.
What could have been a dry old collection of facts and dates turned out to be a very readable narration of the story of the Selden Patent.
Of particular interest at this time (with Rob Heyen’s articles on the Model K) as the manufacturers of the large expensive cars refused to let Ford join their organisation (A.L.A.M.) as they deemed his small cars to be just an assembly of parts obtained from elsewhere.
I just finished "Uncle Fonzo's Ford" my Miska Miles.....not a bad for a young daughter.