Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford’s Forgotten Jungle City by One of the surprises in Greg Grandin’s compelling new book is just. The fate of Henry Ford’s prefab plantation town in Brazil should be a lesson to anyone contemplating similar social experiments in the. Fordlandia’s eventual demise as a rubber plantation foreshadowed the practices that today are laying Pulitzer Prize – Finalist, National Book Awards Finalist.

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The price of agricultural products plummeted by as much as 40 percent, never to fully recover, even after the economy began to grow again in Fascinating subject that makes up for every Starbut what a boring read! Ford, Henry, — Political and social views. It is always clean. Yet Ford had pretty much abandoned his liberal paternalism His company, particularly his new River Rouge plant, had grown too big for such hands-on nurturing.

They were going to be free and happy, just like Americans used to be, indulging in wholesome square dances and Ford-endorsed nutritious foods. Distributed in Canada by H. His intention was to grow rubber, but the project rapidly evolved into a more ambitious bid to export America i The stunning, never before told story of the quixotic attempt to recreate small-town America in the heart of the Amazon. Ford even began to talk about the possibility of “growing cars” and had the body of one made entirely of plastic.

Full text of “Fordlandia: The Rise & Fall Of Henry Ford’s Forgotten Jungle City”

He was in love with a way of life he helped destroy, obsessed with soy and bokk antisemetic, “Fordlandia” tells us early on. Society books History books Ford reviews. Grandin presents a balanced portrait of a bright, entrepurniaral person who cared about his workers on one hand, but was anti-Semitic and not opposed to having a union symphathizer beaten.

They had met in Detroit inwhen Ford walked into the Columbus Buggy Works, where Firestone worked as a sales agent, and ordered a set of sturdy carriage tires that wouldn’t burst under his just built pound gas- fordlwndia automobile. Belemgave way to Singapore as the world’s premier rubber exporting port, and the Amazon languished, subject of any number of plans to restore the region to glory — until Ford tried to make one happen.


With a surety of purpose and incuriosity about the world that seems all too familiar, Ford deliberately rejected expert advice and set out to turn the Amazon into the Midwest of his imagination. So while he came of age during the early stages of the Fordlsndia Revolution, the America he lived in for the first half of his life was still mostly rural, and the changes he helped set in motion came stunningly fast.

And whatever curiosity he bkok never extended to making a visit.

Duell, Sloan, and Pearce,p. The Upper Peninsula’s economy was based largely on copper and timber, both of which had been exploited to the point of exhaustion by the time Ford, indispatched an agent to buy large tracts of land, sight unseen, in the region — -just as he would do later in the decade in Brazil. American explorers found that they could sell their used khakis for five times what they paid fordlandis them at home, once they grew tired of parading around the city in their jungle gear.

Ford raised rents, more than compensated for by better wages, and he used the money to completely make over the villages. The plantation was on the Tapajos River, a branch of the Amazon, he said.

Mountains of the Moon Oct 28, Curtis Edmonds rated it it was amazing.

Nov 08, Clark Hays rated it it was amazing. Goserto the river, Brazilians, including some surviving Ford employees, continue to live in smaller mill town bungalows, along three long avenues that follow the contours of the land. Ford dealers sent caravans of cars, tractors, and tracks on publicity tours, parading thembefore audiences of up to a hundred thousand people in dozens of cities and towns during the day and screening films depicting Ford assembly lines and factories at night.

It is a smooth read. Life in the dense river forest was hard on many of the Ford staff. And Ford’s Amazon town does seem to complement gook setting, perhaps because the conceit that underwrote Fordlandia has been muted by its weed-entwined buildings, rotten floor planks, and guano- glazed walls.

Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford’s Forgotten Jungle City

The idea was that if he paid for it he would use it and therefore wearclean clothes. Each successive bend in the river is rounded in expectancy, only to reveal another identical stretch ahead. And despite his interest in social improvement, Ford employed a manager and a group of mobsters and thugs who policed his factories and factory towns, enforcing his tenets and checking up on his citizens.


But then nature rebelled. There is an amazing optical illusion there. After forldandia about how ahead of his time he was in regard to business, self-sufficiency, systems, organic farming, alternative uses for soybeans, planned “self-sufficient communities”, alternative power and recycling, I am left to wonder if many young generation X’s and Y’s even know that he and fordlansia civilized world was aware of and into these things back in the twenties, nineteen twenties that isthings which are now considered “new”, “ground breaking” and so prevalent in current thinking.

He also had a quixotic streak that led him to pour millions of dollars into the Amazon Rain Forest to create a model American town.

Greg Grandin’s book is readable and retains interest but jumps around chronologically; some chapters are mini-biographies of key figures in the project so we get the feeling of going over the same territory several times. However, all this gave me a fuller and much less pleasant understanding of Ford than I previously had.

He insisted that his dog-eared copy of Orlando Smith’s A Short View of Great Questions, which popularized for an American audience highbrow German anti- Semitism and Oriental metaphysics, “changed his outlook on life. The Muscle Shoals Land Corporation, founded in Detroit, staked out a tract of land on the banks of the Tennessee River, laid out boulevards with names such as Dearborn Avenue and Michigan Street, and incorporated the site as a city, dubbed “Highland Park.

Brazil — Civilization — American influences — History — 20th century. No one raised his recent humiliating repudiation of anti-Semitism, though while in New York Ford met with members of the American Jewish Committee to stage the “final scene in the reconciliation between Henry Ford and American Jewry,” as the Jewish Telegraphic Agency described the conference.