Summary of Wheels for the World

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Wheels for the World book summary


9 Overall

8 Applicability

9 Innovation

8 Style


It would be difficult to conceive of a more detailed corporate history. Author Douglas Brinkley offers an interesting, lucid narrative of Henry Ford’s early experiments with the automobile, and his first, unsuccessful companies. He promises and delivers a "warts and all" picture of Ford’s history. Brinkley is at his strongest discussing Ford’s origins. But the book is also sprawling, diffuse and unfocused, with a somewhat confusing tendency to jump back and forth along the twentieth century timeline. It is more than a biography of Henry Ford, but less than a thorough history of the Ford Motor Company. The author nods in the direction of the technological, managerial and financial forces that have shaped Ford since the 1950s, though he presents Ford’s (both man and company) earlier history in vivid detail. The impact of what Henry Ford did and how he did it still shapes industry in the United States. getAbstract recommends Brinkley’s book for its revealing picture of one of the twentieth century’s most influential industrialists.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How Henry Ford became the father of the Automobile Age;
  • Why, during his childhood, his siblings had to hide their toys from him; and
  • How the Ford Motor Company dealt with twentieth-century sociological, economic and technological transitions.

About the Author

Douglas Brinkley, professor of history and director of the Eisenhower Center for American Studies at the University of New Orleans, is the award-winning author of ten books. His other books include John F. Kennedy and Europe, Tour of Duty: John Kerry and the Vietnam War and The Unfinished Presidency: Jimmy Carter’s Journey Beyond the White House. He also co-wrote two books with his "friend and mentor," historian Stephen Ambrose: The Mississippi and the Making of a Nation and Rise to Globalism: American Foreign Policy Since 1939.



Taking Apart His Toys
Henry Ford was born in 1863 on one of the wealthiest farms in Michigan, not far from the town of Dearborn. He was no scholar. In fact, he may never have learned to read very well. But he had a mechanical genius that manifested at an early age. He could follow the ...

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