Watts (history, U. of Missouri) sees in Ford's life one of the great stories, and one of the great mysteries, of modern American history. The crotchety automaker was loved by everyday citizens; listened to by Lenin, Hitler, and Woodrow Wilson; and derided by intellectuals, cosmopolitans, and opinion shapers. His unique relationship with America, Watts says, was shaped by the wrenching cultural transformation of his age as the emergence of consumer capitalism, mass culture, bureaucracy, and the corporate state created the century's most powerful nation. Watts' thoughtful and readable biography works to capture Ford's complex personality and uncover the sources of his public stature. Annotation ©2005 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR
Steven Watts's judicious exploration of the feats and foibles of Henry Ford provides a timely and compelling model of how to cut through the hype and tell the real story.