Thursday, June 11, 2015

Book: Greg Grandin's "Fordlandia"

I like learning things I hadn't known before.  My latest read, Greg Grandin's "Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford's Forgotten Jungle City", taught me a lot about Henry Ford, the father of the assembly line, and took me places I have never been.

The title of the book, Fordlandia, is the name of a large rubber plantation set up in Brazil along the Tapajós river by the Ford Motor Company.  The plantation was both an attempt to provide rubber for car tires as well as being a social experiment of transplanting American small town principles to the jungles of the Amazon.

The book follows the rise and eventual fall of Fordlandia.  Interspersed with the building of the Fordlandia we learn about the eccentric personality of Henry Ford, his pacifism, and his attempt to bring social change both in the United States and the world.  Ford comes across as a  mix of opposing ideas and views all wrapped up in an almost tyrannical megalomaniac.  Reading about his ideas and contradictions just made me shake my head.

This book was a slow read for me but I think that was more because of the slight funk I've been in more than the quality of the writing.  I found the book both informative and entertaining.  For that reason I gave the book four stars on Goodreads.

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