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Summary

How a Michigan farm boy became the richest man in America is a classic, almost mythic tale, but never before has Henry Ford’s outsized genius been brought to life so vividly as it is in this engaging and superbly researched biography. 

The real Henry Ford was a tangle of contradictions. He set off the consumer revolution by producing a car affordable to the masses, all the while lamenting the moral toll exacted by consumerism. He believed in giving his workers a living wage, though he was entirely opposed to union labor. He had a warm and loving relationship with his wife, but sired a son with another woman. A rabid anti-Semite, he nonetheless embraced African American workers in the era of Jim Crow. 

Uncovering the man behind the myth, situating his achievements and their attendant controversies firmly within the context of early 20th century America, Watts has given us a comprehensive, illuminating, and fascinating biography of one of America’s first mass-culture celebrities. 

©2006 Steven Watts (P)2008 Books on Tape

Critic reviews

"The implicit claim of Watts's admirable book is almost inarguable that it's impossible to understand 20th-century America without knowing the story of Henry Ford." (The New York Times

“Steven Watts attempts the most integrated understanding to date of Ford’s enormous influence and varied appeal...The fascinating result may change the way Henry Ford is remembered.” (San Francisco Chronicle

"Ford has had many biographers...None, however, comes close to Steven Watts...He brilliantly reveals the nature of Ford's genius." (Chicago Tribune

What listeners say about The People's Tycoon

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

An epic life

A brilliant account of one the greatest business minds ever, very gripping for would be entrepreneurs

4 people found this helpful

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One man, one vision.

Love or hate him, this book is a revealing insight in to the man behind the Ford motor company and will show you what one man with a vision can do.

1 person found this helpful

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Remarkable..

One of the best and most complete biographies I have ever listened to. I have always been fascinated with Henry Ford but this volume helped me truly "meet" him. I felt I was in the same room as the genius that helped change America and the world. The writing style kept my attention throughout and the narrator made me feel I was actually listening to the great man. I was saddened to learn of his weaknesses, especially his strong anti-Semitic views but in the end I realised I had learnt much more about the whole person. This book is a definite must for lovers of biographies and social history.

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Expand the Horizons of Possibilities

Ultimately, though not guaranteed, we all must progress from infancy, to youth, to adulthood, to middle age, to old age and eventual death. The big question is, what account we will give for how we have lived, our motivations, our accomplishments, or lack of them,. The things we held dear , the items and people we invested in, all are left behind. The only thing we take with us is our reputation. This book and its great narrator captures the essence of the great life Henry Ford lived.

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Great story about a complex character

Learnt so much I didn’t know about the man, such an interesting life. The good the bad and the ugly all laid out here.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Chris
  • 06-04-13

50% Longer than it needed to be.

I was interested in learning about the man who perhaps more than any other was instrumental in creating modern America. While the book provides a detailed and linear history the story is ponderous, repetitive and lacks any real drama.

The book does an excellent job pointing out Henry Ford's many contradictions and makes no effort to whitewash the unflattering elements of his life (his anti-semitism in particular).

John H. Mayer, the narrator does an effective job or leading you through the story.

7 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • John
  • 26-04-09

disappointing

Looked forward to this book (2 credits) but found myself skipping past parts as it got very repetitive. The author makes the same point again and again. Would have been better abridged!

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Margie- computerGrandma
  • 01-01-09

Great book!

Wonderful picture of Henry Ford! I loved every minute and did not want the book to end

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Jeremy
  • 21-04-09

Not the best Narrator for this book

I enjoyed this book and found it very interesting however, the problem was with the narration. I think that John H. Mayer was perfect for "The Autobiography of Santa Clause" but not at all right for this book. I think they should have looked for another reader better suited to Non-Fiction.

2 people found this helpful

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  • GG
  • 07-05-13

long, boring and tedious

What would have made The People's Tycoon better?

An abridged version would have been be better. The book is very slow and very repetitive - you almost feel you are on a Model T assembly line.

Watts' characterization of Ford as 'folksy' is overdone (to death). This book could be half the length and lose nothing. Get this title if you have a lot of time on your hands, and enjoy repetition. A lot of it. Then more.

What do you think your next listen will be?

something else

Would you be willing to try another one of John H. Mayer’s performances?

yes

3 people found this helpful

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  • Matheus Gomes de Moura
  • 13-06-21

Full of ups and downs

As a biography it's a pretty detailed, but it also tells really boring details about Ford's life too, so it's a book full of ups and downs that really details a good bunch of Henry Ford's personality and life

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-02-21

Well Done Gentlemen!!

The information was painstakingly researched and written.. The reading was fantastic!! Captivating!! Well worth the time!!

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 03-12-20

Thank you Mr. Ford.

What more is there to say. If you can understand the significance of his contribution then all that's is needed is a sincere thank you.

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  • John Drummond
  • 11-05-20

Great Biography

Enjoyed the words of Henry Ford by the author. Written very well. I would recommend this to anyone.

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  • Rodney Sohngen
  • 01-06-19

Subjective and repetitive

As others have mentioned the author repeats or restates the same content for no apparent reason.

I was also surprised how often the author gave his interpretation of events and the use of what seem liked hearsay as fact.

I did enjoy the history of Ford overall but would probably steer clear of future works by this author.