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Download The People’s Tycoon: Henry Ford and the American Century Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The People’s Tycoon: Henry Ford and the American Century Audiobook, by Steven Watts Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (9 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Steven Watts Narrator: John H. Mayer Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2008 ISBN: 9781415957004
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Henry Ford, a major architect of modern America, has lived on in the imagination of his fellow citizens as an enduring figure of fascination, an inimitable individual, a controversial personality, and a social visionary from the moment his Model T brought the automobile to the masses and triggered the consumer revolution. But never before has his genius been brought to life so vividly as by Steven Watts in this major new biography. Watts, the author of the much acclaimed The Magic Kingdom: Walt Disney and the American Way of Life, has produced a superbly researched study of a man who was a bundle of contradictions.

Ford was the entrepreneur who first made the automobile affordable but who grew skeptical of consumerism’s corrosive impact on moral values, an employer who insisted on a living wage for his workers but stridently opposed unions, who established the assembly line but worried about its effect on the work ethic, who welcomed African Americans to his company in the age of Jim Crow but was a rabid anti-Semite. He was the private man who had a warm, loving marriage while siring a son with a mistress; a father who drove his heir, Edsel, so relentlessly that it contributed to his early death; a folksy social philosopher and at one time, perhaps, the most popular figure in America, who treated his workers so harshly that they turned against him; creator of the largest, most sophisticated factory in the world who preferred spending time in his elaborate re-creation of a nineteenth century village; and the greatest businessman of his age who haplessly lost control of his own company in his declining years.

Watts poignantly shows us how a Michigan farm boy from modest circumstances emerged as one of America’s richest men and one of its first mass-culture celebrities, one who became a folk hero to millions of ordinary citizens because of his support of high wages and material abundance for everyday workers and yet also excited the admiration of figures as diverse as Vladimir Lenin and Adolf Hitler, John D. Rockefeller and Woodrow Wilson.

Disclosing the man behind the myth and situating his achievements and controversies firmly within the context of early twentieth century America, Watts has given us a comprehensive, illuminating biography of an American icon.

Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “The implicit claim of Watts’ admirable book is almost inarguable—that it’s impossible to understand twentieth-century America without knowing the story of Henry Ford.”

    New York Times

  • “Ford has had many biographers…None, however, comes close to Steven Watts…He brilliantly reveals the nature of Ford’s genius.”

    Chicago Tribune

  • “Steven Watts attempts the most integrated understanding to date of Ford’s enormous influence and varied appeal…The fascinating result may change the way Henry Ford is remembered.”

    San Francisco Chronicle

  • “Watts offers a magisterial and balanced biography of one of America’s business legends.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • A 2005 Los Angeles Times Book Prize Nominee for Biography

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kevin J. | 3/14/2013

    " A very thorough and interesting review of Ford and his impact on the 20th Century both positive and negative. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Maggie | 3/10/2012

    " One minute you're like, "wow, Henry Ford was the best person ever". And the next you're like, "oh what a major jerk". Definitely an unbiased biography. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Casey | 3/28/2011

    " I enjoyed understanding the genius behind a great mind and the tragedy greatness and passion. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Christopher Jamison | 8/22/2010

    " I ended up not finishing it. It was due at the library; I had already renewed it twice. It just wasn't worth the time to renew it again. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Andy Wiggins | 6/15/2010

    " Life in the United States today is impacted in so many ways by this one man. This book gives the details needed to see how and why. Read alongside Halberstam's The Reckoning for even more understanding of the culture in which we live. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Casey | 1/13/2010

    " I enjoyed understanding the genius behind a great mind and the tragedy greatness and passion. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Andy | 7/20/2008

    " Life in the United States today is impacted in so many ways by this one man. This book gives the details needed to see how and why. Read alongside Halberstam's The Reckoning for even more understanding of the culture in which we live. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Maggie | 5/10/2008

    " One minute you're like, "wow, Henry Ford was the best person ever". And the next you're like, "oh what a major jerk". Definitely an unbiased biography. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kevin J. | 7/11/2007

    " A very thorough and interesting review of Ford and his impact on the 20th Century both positive and negative. "

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About the Author

Steven Watts is a professor of history at the University of Missouri. He is the author of The People’s Tycoon: Henry Ford and the American Century and The Magic Kingdom: Walt Disney and the American Way of Life.

About the Narrator

John H. Mayer is a writer, actor, and audiobook narrator. In 1973, he cowrote Radio Rocket Boy, an award-winning short film. He also has narrated dozens of audiobooks, including American Lion and The Wolf Tree, among many others.