Normally, the fact that it took me over a month to complete a book I was reading would horrify me. I will attribute this uncharacteristic sloth to several things. The newness of my Kindle, and the fact that I discovered Shuffled Row (the Kindle game) likely top the list.
Anyway, the book is called The People's Tycoon: Henry Ford and the American Century, and was written by Steven Watts. I am a little consoled when I see on Amazon that the book is 656 pages. Page count is a rather amorphous thing on a Kindle. Watts uses a slightly different approach for this biography than the usual, strictly chronological style.
While the story is still mostly chronological, each chapter looks at a different facet of Henry Ford, and let me tell you, this man had a lot of facets. I was pleased to see Watts was not inclined to skate over the ugly parts of Henry Ford and his life (and there were many), but that he made a balanced presentation of a very fractious, divided personality.
Add to this an in-depth exploration of each of the people closest to Henry Ford; Clara and Edsel, his wife and son, as well as his many lieutenants, like Charles Sorenson, Harry Bennett, Ernest Liebold, and several others, whom Ford delighted in setting at each other.
Some of my favorite things about this book have to do with the fact that I work for The Henry Ford (the institution, not the man). One of my favorite displays in the museum is called The Vagabonds.
The Fords, along with the Thomas Edisons, the Harvey Firestones, and the John Burroughses would travel together and "camp." The quotes are because their version of camping involved servants, china place settings, and a little more comfort than the typical camping expedition. Ford had a huge, round table built, with an enormous lazy susan attached to it for mealtimes.
The gentleman you see in the white suit with the black bow tie, just to the right of the ornate flower arrangement, is President Warren G. Harding. It's not often the President of the United States joins you for a camping expedition, which meant there were Secret Service men along on this trip, as well.
The other thing I really enjoy about reading this book is the very obvious connection to the place I work, and the people I work with. A significant percentage of the references in the book are from materials in the Benson Ford Research Center, the huge 2D and 3D archive housed in the building I work in every day, and managed by the archivists with whom I share office space.
The story, and my proximity to these archives has led me to a couple of topics I'd like to explore further, which means...I've got more reading to do.