Why is Henry Ford a giant? Because he put the world on wheels.
Henry Ford did not invent the motor car, nor for all the claims did he invent the assembly line or mass production. But more than anyone before or since he is remembered as the man who almost singlehandedly took an expensive contraption of doubtful utility and recast it as a machine which in a real and profound sense changed the world forever.
In an industry with many giants –André Citroen, Louis Renault and Giovanni Agnelli of Fiat – Henry Ford stands tallest as the greatest ever motor mogul. A Michigan farmer’s son who became a dollar billionaire, a ruthlessly single-minded autocrat who became a folk hero, a pacifist who went on to inspire Adolf Hitler – he was a boss who paid his workers twice as much as his competitors yet waged an unrelenting war on unions and badly abused the power he had worked so hard to attain.
David Long has been an author and journalist for thirty years, and has regularly appeared in The Times, Sunday Times and many magazines, here and abroad. He is a celebrated author of over twenty titles and has ghostwritten many more.