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Henry and Edsel: The Creation of the Ford Empire

Henry and Edsel: The Creation of the Ford Empire

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An Epic Battle of Generations

It is commonly believed that Henry Ford was a dynamic, innovative visionary who ran his company with an iron hand and an eye to the future–while his son Edsel was a weak, if dutiful, heir and an uninspired manager, who followed his father’s orders. Henry and Edsel, the first biography to focus on both father and son, turns that common belief on its ear.

Offering a daring new perspective on the human drama that changed the shape of Ford Motor company, author Richard Bak explores the ongoing friction between Henry and Edsel over adapting to a changing competitive environment and lays bare the stark contrasts between the two men. Henry emerges as a complex and self-contradictory man who was not entirelycomfortable in the new world that he had done so much to create, while Edsel is revealed as a gifted, levelheaded, and imaginative businessman with a keen sense of where the market was headed. Among the many issues examined in this fascinating history are:

  • The years-long conflict over modifying the Model T
  • Edsel’s successful development of the Lincoln Continental
  • Henry’s hatred of labor unions and the rise of Henry Bennett
  • Edsel’s relentless struggle to modernize and transform the company
  • The climactic struggle between Henry, Edsel, and Henry Bennett for control of the Ford empire