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Monday, November 1, 2010

Recommended Reading Part 1

Anyone looking to learn more about the history of Ford or Henry Ford in particular will enjoy some or all of the following books. I hold no financial interest in any of these publications, but wish I did then maybe I'd have more money to spend on my cars!

The Nevins & Hill Trilogy- By Allen Nevins and Frank Hill
Comprised of a 3 volume set. Ford- The Times, The Man The Company, Vol 2. Expansion & Challenge, with Vol. 3 being Decline & Rebirth. These 3 volumes are a definitive work on the history of Ford Motor Company prior to 1962. Vol. 1 is the most common with Vol. 2 being the scarcest of the set, it took me 3 years to find a decent quality copy for my collection. Volume 3 is somewhat more easily found but you will search for it too. For the serious collector I'd recommend having two sets of books, a reading set and a preservation set.

The public image of Henry Ford- By David L. Lewis
David Lewis is a well respected Ford historian & author of many Ford articles. This book is over 600 pages of well written facts, lore, and goes into actually trying to figure out what made Henry Ford tick. It did a damn fine job of it too. If you have limited shelf space make sure you have room for this book.

My Forty Years With Ford - By Charles Sorensen
Written in 1956 by Ford's former production superintendent, the book goes into some detail on how the assembly line formed, the early methods of manufacturing cars before the assembly line, how the Rouge got started, dealing with the Soviets in the late 1920s and much more. Sorensen's writing style makes it very enjoyable to read. The first time I read this book I sat down in the recliner with a cold Pepsi & a hot roast beef sammich. It took a few more cold Pepsi's but I finished the book that evening. I've re-read this book more times than I care to admit.

The Last Billionaire- By William C. Richards
This book is an absolute gem! Not really a history book or a biography, but rather a collection of trivia & rare stories. Such as the time Henry Ford made buckwheat pancakes for his doctors who came to give Ford an exam before an operation. Richards also mentions some of Ford's odd habits such as "the best way to calm an ulcer is to swallow a ball of butter down whole" or "Salt is good for your hair, I rub it in my hair every morning" It's hard to say how much is accurate in this book, but in my opinion 98% of it is.

William Richards was a reporter who got to know Ford on a personal friendship level. If you read this book look for the "Dung-brindle" reference. It will give you a laugh. One piece of advice- Look for the original 1948 hardback version, not only do hardback books look better on your shelf, but the 1956 paperback is missing about 100 pages and alot of meat got cut in this abridged version.

I'll add more to this tomorrow, it's time to read a Ford book before bed.