( Download Pdf ) ☮ Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford's Forgotten Jungle City ☦ MOBI eBook or Kindle ePUB free
What happened here I say that a lot.For a person who likes decay and ruin, New Mexico is an entropy enthusiasts wet dream My hobby is exploring ghost towns Love em, and can t explain why You want to find a town taken off the maps a century ago Chances are I can take you there The other morning, I was getting my hit of DarkRoastedBlend.com and came across a picture of an abandoned street of perfectly preserved clapboard houses complete with porches and picket fences The caption read Fordlandia What In the friggin Are you kidding me Oh man Me want now go there.But, maybe I should read the book first.In the 1920 s Harvey Firestone controlled world wide production of rubber In an attempt to be free of this monopoly, Henry Ford bought a swath of land in the the size of Tennessee Not only did he plan to harvest rubber on a massive scale, he planned on developing a utopian community with high moral standards, living with Christian values living white Cape Cod houses placed along paved streets circling Main Street repeat with churches, country stores, movie theaters and ice cream parlors.By the 1920 s Dearborn, MI had been decimated by the massive scale of Ford s industrialization He even hired well known architects to design new factories, photographers to try and make them look arty to the outside world and artists Diego Rivera to prettify some of the walls But to no avail It was ugly, debilitating and demoralizing on an enormous scale Ford had begun the quirky obsession of thinking back to earlier times before the gargantuan factories that he built ruined the landscape He started collecting Americana from the 19th century When his chance to start over appeared with his acquisition of nice size portion of Brazil he ordered architects to start drawing up maps of his impression of the ideal American town.The entire project seems to be ill conceived The boats were too big to reach the land by river the slash and burn method of clearing the land left rubble that still required heavy equipment the land was supposed to be mosquito free it wasn t Ford s engineers had to steal the rubber tree seeds they stole the wrong ones the promised labor force never materialized the hunter gatherer indigenous population could have given a rats ass for 6 a day and on and on.This tale if dystopian malaise is told from two perspectives the actual mismanaged events occurring in the jungle and the perception of these events in the mind of Mr Ford.The book is full of details that make you shake your head and utter what were they thinking The houses for example had cement floors, tin roofs and screens on the windows They were ovens that kept the bug IN Ford managers couldn t figure out why they families lived in the yards The lumber Ford was going to sell for profit until the rubber trees were ready to produce was hard and green As soon as it was felled, it started rotting Every employee had to take a daily dose of quinine which had deleterious effects Managers lasted only a few months before replacements would have to be sent from Michigan.There s no doubt this is a fascinating story With a good story teller, this would be a rip snorter with all the political intrigue, riots, and one disaster after another Unfortunately this author has told a great story in dry witless manor I don t think it possible to be boring This is a 20th Century Fitzcarraldo for gosh sakes So many times I thought there are some great missed opportunities to tell events in an interesting way I wanted it to be better I wanted David McCullough.Great bit of history Lackluster writing. The subject matter of this book is interesting, but unfortunately it was a real slog for me I think it was just that Grandin put in SO MUCH detail and information that it was overwhelming I mean, it s really good to be thorough in your research, and to back up what you re saying, but no one should EVER have to write another book about this subject EVER AGAIN, because they can t possibly find any information that Grandin didn t include.That said, my overall impressions were that Ford was a rotter and the whole idea of Fordlandia was VERY poorly executed, paying no attention to botany, climate and other environmental factors OR to the social and cultural climate of the area The last chapter, discussing how capitalism and industry have affected the right up to today well, to 2009 , disgusted me to the point that it almost made me physically nauseous These are the things we don t think about when we visit the supermarket, or buy a new car that contains steel and plastic created by really despicable practices.I learned a lot, and the book made me think it just took me FOREVER to get through it. UPDATE Rereading relistening to the excellent audiobook and finding it fascinating the second time around As with a lot of information rich books, this one has a great deal to absorb.This reads like dystopian fiction, but it s the true story of Henry Ford s maniacal ego, as evidenced by his ill fated attempt to create a sort of Main Street USA on the banks of the complete with MANDATORY square dancing Yikes, people Ford hated his own son, admired Hitler, hired armed thugs to put down labor organizers, and dreamed of a utopian paradise whose moral values he would impose upon the families who relied on his factories for employment The name Fordlandia is not the author s conceit it s the name Ford chose for his failed utopia in the Brazilian wilderness Fascinating, scary, and a kick in the derri re for those of us who are sometimes gulled into accepting corporate public relations as history. Fordlandia tells the story of Henry Ford s settlement in the , a model of inept planning and design Even by pre green standards, the arrogance and ignorance is shocking chop down the rainforest plant rows of rubber trees that couldn t thrive as monoculture plank down Cape Cod bungalows on a suburban style street grid dress the kids in scout uniforms and send them to American style schools named after Ford s sons Basically the plan was to convert the natives to the American lifestyle Ford was indeed ahead of his time but unfortunately, not in a good way the idea of the world s foremost industrialist bulldozing the rainforest set the tone for environmental disasters to come Even in the late 1920 s, when the settlement was started, many scientists of the time could have predicted failure But Ford, arrogant and impatient, so undervalued expertise other than his own that he even cultivated the erroneous belief that he was illiterate 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 Still worth a read It s well illustrated with back and white photos. ( Download Pdf ) ♅ Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford's Forgotten Jungle City ♶ The Stunning, Never Before Told Story Of The Quixotic Attempt To Recreate Small Town America In The Heart Of TheIn , Henry Ford, The Richest Man In The World, Bought A Tract Of Land Twice The Size Of The US State Of Delaware In The Brazilian His Intention Was To Grow Rubber, But The Project Rapidly Evolved Into A Ambitious Bid To Export America Itself, Along With Its Golf Courses, Ice Cream Shops, Bandstands, Indoor Plumbing, And Model Ts Rolling Down Broad Streets Fordlandia, As The Settlement Was Called, Quickly Became The Site Of An Epic Clash On One Side Was The Car Magnate, Lean, Austere, The Man Who Reduced Industrial Production To Its Simplest Motions On The Other, The , Lush, Extravagant, The Most Complex Ecological System On The Planet Ford S Early Success In Imposing Time Clocks And Square Dances On The Jungle Soon Collapsed, As Indigenous Workers, Rejecting His Midwestern Puritanism, Turned The Place Into A Ribald Tropical Boomtown Fordlandia S Eventual Demise As A Rubber Plantation Foreshadowed The Practices That Today Are Laying Waste To The Rain Forest More Than A Parable Of One Man S Arrogant Attempt To Force His Will On The Natural World, Fordlandia Depicts A Desperate Quest To Salvage The Bygone America That The Ford Factory System Did Much To Dispatch As Greg Grandin Shows In This Gripping And Mordantly Observed History, Ford S Great Delusion Was Not That The Could Be Tamed But That The Forces Of Capitalism, Once Released, Might Yet Be Contained
When I started this, I thought there was far too much bio of Henry Ford I was impatient for the Fordlandia adventure to begin Later I realized how the introductory biography was necessary Grandin shows how this project defined and reflected the can do spirit and utter naivet of Henry Ford.While not the first of Ford s company towns, Fordlandia was surely his biggest project The text and photos show the tremendous scale It was planned to span a region the size of the State of Connecticut The expense was enormous Large portions of the jungle were cleared and rubber trees planted Just the enterprise of planning and constructing just a hospital, or a school, or just a row of houses in a remote location prior to the prefab innovation is huge In an amazingly short period of time construction of this and was completed and planting begun They also built a very established looking lumber mill Later, the jungle was tamed to include a golf course and a swimming pool The scale is amazing.It is sad that the energy that went into this went no where It appears that learn by doing management is a hit and miss affair To run a commercial farm, you need to know about agriculture and if you don t know, you have to know who does Henry Ford, who bootstrapped his auto plants, thought that he could follow his gut throw money at whatever and have a success in a place where he knew nothing of the people, culture or the nature of producing the designated product.I particularly liked the discussions of the character of Ford, descriptions of the people who came from the US, Brazil, and other places to work in Fordlandia, the Diego Rivera murals and the ultimate fate of the town.I highly recommend this for readers of general history If you re interested in a book on a similar topic, The Canal Builders Making America s Empire at the Panama Canal tells the story of the workers who built the canal is a good read. HENRY FORDS IAN ANTICS Ford s emblematic Model T automobile and his pioneering production methods made him a very rich man in the early part of the twentieth century He was also a man of contradictions On one hand he was talking up combined agricultural industrial small communities, promoting pacifism and freedom , paid high wages and was very critical of concentrated economic power whether on Wall Street or in the Energy Trusts But at the same time his company was one of the biggest in the States, he manufactured arms during World War 1, was a very public anti Semite and hired a notorious thug with Mafia connections along with 3,000 Goons to make sure his workers were divided, unable to form unions and policed at work and in their private lives Not a man one would mark down as being balanced.One expression of his lack of balance was the purchasing of a vast tract of the to turn into a vast rubber plantation to make his company independent of the Imperial rubber concerns of Asia The story of this enterprise forms the subject of Grandin s book Fordlandia.The author is a specialist on Latin America, who served on the UN commission into human rights abuses during the Guatemalan Civil War and has written copiously on the continent including the excellent Empire s Workshop Latin America, the United States, and the Rise of the New Imperialism This background serves him admirably well in this book, though it isn t quite as compelling as the earlier work He flits back and forth between Dearborn in Michigan Ford s base and the to tell the story of Fordlandia s conception, development and eventual collapse The story of Fordlandia is intertwined with that of Ford, the man and the motor company, and I learned much that I didn t know of about both Grandin doesn t stint on the background either, included are brief histories of rubber and its ecology, of Brazil, of the many personalities involved in the project in Brazil and the United States, and much else besides The book goes beyond Fordlandia s demise and tells the story of what happened after it was sold to the Brazilian government at the end of World War 2 for a pittance after Ford had sunk tens of millions of dollars into it with little rubber to show The last chapter covers recent developments, and prospects, for the basin as a whole and makes for sober reading.The book contains a number of contemporary photographs, is generally clearly written, though the occasional flitting back and forward in time as well as space can be a little disconcerting The Story of Fordlandia itself doesn t live up to the blurb on the back cover haunting Conrad s Heart of Darkness resonates on every page Well not in the book I read What the reader will instead get is a history of Ford himself, his colony and his company and it is the interaction between the three that makes for an interesting read. This sounds like an urban legend gone bad do any go good , so I had to read about Henry Ford s attempt to build the American Dream in the jungles of Brazil The financial impetus was to grow rubber for tires and other auto parts, but by the time he started rubber prices were low and the need was no longer there But Ford still decided to create a town to help civilize the jungle and bring American happiness worldwide It failed of course The most interesting part of this book is the issue of Ford trying to create the ideal small town his production line had ruined Thanks to affordable cars the American dream was on the road and Ford never seemed to reconcile with himself for killing what he loved.Building towns was something of an occupation for Ford Alberta and Iron Mountain in Michigan are two industrial examples, and his Greenfield Village was nothing less that his American version of his Fordlandia experiment sans rubber Other companies had done this as well, but Ford was committed to recreating the midwest in Brazil He wanted straight roads, Cape Cod houses, a church, a town square, and a dance hall for all those square dances He made the people overseeing it get rid of the thatched roofs and put on tin roofs, thus creating a plethora of house sized ovens I could go on, but picture everything you think ridiculous in such an attempt and it probably occured.Of course, the rubber plantations did not work out either Rubber trees grow wild in the , but them in a plantation and they share bugs and diseases quickly Not that he gave up easily In fact he never did give up it was his grandson who finally gave it all back to Brazil nearly 20 years after they started.Grandin does a good job of avoiding the obvious themes of humanity vs nature, or the unbridled ego of a man who thinks his way of life fits elsewhere Instead, he focuses our attention back on Ford in the U.S and parallels how his failed attempts at building in Brazil mirrored the erosion of this company and the life he held dear back at home.Unfortunately, Grandin spends too much time on subplots and at times the book is a stuggle to read He tends to repeat the same information to much, and if I read one time about Henry Wickham s stealing of rubber tree seeds to creat the Southeast Asia rubber industry, I swore the book was going threw the window Besides, what can you expect from a man sharing the same last name as the villian of a Jane Austen novel In one chapter he makes a half hearted attempt to draw an analogy with Conrad s Heart of Darkness, but fails to make it stick He is a professor and has done his research, so he figures he might as well share it with us A bit focus on the project without the extras would help.However, all this gave me a fuller and much less pleasant understanding of Ford than I previously had 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 Ford is a man of great contradictions who, because he had the resources, could make those contradictions into realities which everyone but him seemed to see In the end the books is a tragic tale of Ford himself, with Fordlandia being just one of a list of things which went wrong in the final decades of his life. This look at the quirky, little known venture of Henry Ford s business into the is interesting and fairly well written Readers very familiar with Ford may find it frustrating that a lot of pages are invested in information about Henry Ford and his company in Michigan Readers less attuned to Ford will benefit from the large amount of background that helps frame the story.Henry Ford was an enigma, a man of unexpected views Ford was a pacifist, though one whose company converted to wartime production in WWI and WWII He was ahead of his time on race, paying blacks the same wage he paid whites He also had vile anti Semitic views, which are covered in detail in this book The car maker was overbearing and yet, a bit of a loner.He had seemingly inconsistent views wanting to uphold small town values even as his assembly line autos helped destroy the traditional small town and its traditional values Ford heard of the debt peonage, amounting to slavery, in the gathering of rubber in the The company needed rubber for tires Ford decided to purchase a gigantic piece of land from Brazil and build a model company town that would pay fair wages, impose traditional American read Puritan values like square dancing and abstinence from alcohol, while providing his firm with a profitable source of rubber.I won t spoil the book by revealing the fatal flaws in this plan.Working in business and being trained in finance and economics, I was annoyed by this book repeatedly bringing up the theory that a company can create its own market by paying a high wage that enables its workers to buy its own products Even if every employee did buy the employer s products and Ford forced his workers to do so , no company can survive by only selling to its own workers Obviously, the workers spend their wages on all manner of things and the proportion they would spend on their employer s products is small, meaning the company would not survive long Companies need external customers That this doesn t work should be obvious imagine if the only people who shopped at Costco were its own workers but the author seemed to misunderstand and then repeat the error several times. A SLOW READ For most purposes a man with a machine is better than a man without a machine Henry Ford pg 246 Greg Grandin s, Fordlandia The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford s Forgotten Jungle City is an academic look at the sociological history of Henry Ford s industrial empire, particularly during its waning decades 1928 1948 , with particular emphasis on its failed efforts to develop a commercially viable rubber plantation American village in the Brazilian.The story does contain many interesting asides To whit Henry Ford s longstanding regard for his elder Thomas Edison as a mentor and a friend his friendship with Charles Lindbergh having actually been taken on a ten minute flight in Lindbergh s world famous Spirit of St Louis airplane Pg 3 and the fact that Walt Disney, himself, once visited Fordlandia although Henry Ford never did , in 1941 Pg 346 , perhaps gleaning some early inspiration for Disneyland s Jungle Boat ride, to come a decade and a half later It was also interesting to learn that the turn in the Ford empire s fortunes where accompanied, in early 1932, by the publication of Aldous Huxley s Brave New World, with its forecast of a future made perverse by Fordism pg 244 I was surprised to learn that Henry Ford might have been nearly illiterate, that he considered that reading was like a drug habit, is quoted as having said that book sickness is a modern ailment, and wondered aloud, why should he clutter his mind with general information Pg 55 Maybe he had a point Reading is an addiction with which I can relate and it certainly does clutter the mind Good thing Bad thing Recommendation More accurately a two and a half star read, I would not suggest Fordlandia for the top of your to read list, but it should be, at least, worthy of a spot on your someday aisle.