The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford's Forgotten Jungle City

Book - 2009
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The stunning, never-before-told story of the quixotic attempt to recreate small-town America in the heart of the Amazon, "Fordlandia" depicts a desperate quest to salvage the bygone America that the Ford factory system did much to dispatch
Publisher: New York : Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt and Co., 2009
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780805082364
Characteristics: xii, 416 p. : ill., maps ; 25 cm


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Mar 14, 2016

Henry Ford pioneered the use of industrial management in his car manufacturing facilities in Michigan. But when he tried to use the same methodology in a rubber plantation in the Amazon he almost lost everything. Fordlandia explains in all and reveals what many have suspected or kn own about for the past hundred years. Henry Ford was not a very nice guy.
Plus in his later years he was a fascist sympathizer and probably nuts.

thart Jun 23, 2013

Read for the fiction book club "Bookies" at CLPL for June 2013, but this is a non-fiction selection.

Although the actual events of what happened in the Amazonian jungle with Henry Ford creating "Fordlandia" was interesting, I did not like the book. It was dry, extremely repetitive, and could have been accomplished in fewer pages. It made for an O.K. discussion, with us talking about how inept the Ford men in the jungle were, the arrogance of imposing "Americanism" on different cultures, and why people blame Henry Ford for making America into a fast-paced consumer culture.

The beginning of the book is kind to Henry Ford and praises his inventiveness and determination to pay his workers good wages, but probably only as a means to sucker people into reading the rest of it (that is what one woman in our book club thought, and I probably have to agree with her). The middle is terribly repetitive and dry, with the author rarely telling you what year it is while simultaneously jumping around in time. This makes it confusing to know what happened in what order, since it is not chronological at all, and also makes it seem like they were in the Amazon for decades when they were only there a handful of years. The end concentrates on the author blaming Henry Ford for everything bad that has ever happened with consumer culture for the last eighty years because of his interest in trees, soybeans, and assembly-line production.

My advice would be to look up this information somewhere else and save yourself about sixteen hours of reading severely dry and repetitive text. I really had to force myself to finish this one, I was tempted many times to put it down and walk away from it forever. I only finished it because it was for book club and that is saying quite a bit, I always finish books I have started, no matter what.

Apr 08, 2013

This book is as much or more about the amazing character of the American industrialist Henry Ford than the carving of a rubber plantation out of the Amazonian jungle. Ford was a man ahead of his time on racial integration, the environment, and small community economic development. On the other hand, he was anti-Semitic, had pro-fascist sympathies, and bullied to death his son Edsel. The author concludes with a chapter on lessons learned from Fordlandia that are relevant to the deforestation, loss of biodiversity, and urbanization of the Amazon basin today. The book is generously illustrated with photographs; and provides endnotes.


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