|About the Book|
Brilliant businessman, successful entrepreneur, pioneer of the low-price, mass-produced motor vehicle, and profoundly important to twentieth-century American life, Henry Ford was also a character of little-known but surprising contradictions. HeMoreBrilliant businessman, successful entrepreneur, pioneer of the low-price, mass-produced motor vehicle, and profoundly important to twentieth-century American life, Henry Ford was also a character of little-known but surprising contradictions. He sported a hefty ego yet suffered from a pathological dislike of public speaking. He pioneered forty-hour work weeks and a minimum wage yet hated labor unions. He was a pacifist yet admired the efficiency of Nazi Germany. Such fascinating inconsistencies stand out sharply in The Quotable Henry Ford, an uncompromising presentation of the automaker’s own voice on a wide range of topics.After the Model T made him famous, the automobile manufacturer began to see himself as a philosopher in the vein of Benjamin Franklin or Ralph Waldo Emerson. He kept notebooks of comments and pithy sayings, reworking them to get the wording just right—even if the spelling or grammar were not. As Ford became even more renowned, an eager public hung on his every syllable, hoping they too would discover the key to wealth and fame.Michele Albion’s selection of quotes ranges from logical statements to amusing witticisms. “Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black,” said Ford, who knew that black paint dried faster, allowing for increased production of vehicles. He also told women to go easy on cheating husbands, explaining “they are simply trying to hold on to their youth”—a statement made the same year as the birth of John Dahlinger, who may have been his illegitimate son.Ford commented on a variety of topics: automobiles, of course, but also war, literature, dancing, obesity, and his assertion that overalls were not appropriate attire for women. Sometimes charming and witty, his words were often brilliant. But he could also be his own worst enemy, and some offensive comments were infamously quotable.Historians, teachers, car experts, Ford enthusiasts, and anyone interested in early twentieth-century America will discover that Henry Ford was very complicated, and very human.