Summary of Henry and Edsel

The Creation of the Ford Empire

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Henry and Edsel book summary
Henry Ford was not only the father of Ford Motor Company, he was the father of Edsel. He did better by the company.


6 Overall

3 Applicability

7 Innovation

9 Style


Richard Bak is a long-time resident of Detroit and Dearborn, Michigan, and doubtless absorbed much of the Ford legacy simply by growing up in a place that Ford formed. This book is not exactly a corporate history, not exactly a biography and not exactly a tell-all celebrity book, but it has elements of each. The most interesting pieces include the extended reminiscences by people who lived and worked closely with the Fords, and especially with Edsel’s family. He has long lingered in the shadow of his famous father and it is somewhat surprising to discover that he had some fine qualities. These reminiscences have poignant moments that establish the veracity of any number of proverbs on money, happiness and the foibles of the great. The book is reasonably well written and fairly concise. It recapitulates the essentials of the Ford story, though it glances over the evolution of management and organization at the company. assures you that you’ll get the full Ford saga here, though you may have to extrapolate the business lessons it teaches for yourself.

In this summary, you will learn

  • The history of the Ford Motor Company
  • A gossipy inside story about the Ford family, focused on Henry and his son, Edsel


Down on the Farm
Born in 1863 on a Michigan farm, Henry Ford grew up in relatively comfortable circumstances. His father was one of the region’s richer and more successful farmers. At the time of Henry’s birth, the Union Army had just begun to win the Civil War. Detroit already had the...
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About the Author

Richard Bak is a veteran journalist who grew up in Detroit and now lives in Dearborn, Michigan. He has written 20 books, including biographies of Charles Lindbergh and Joe Louis, and received two book-of-the-year awards from Fore-Word magazine.

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