Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford's Forgotten Jungle City
In 1927, Henry Ford, the richest man in the world, bought a tract of land twice the size of the U.S. state of Delaware in the Brazilian Amazon. His intention was to grow rubber, but the project rapidly evolved into a more ambitious bid to export America i ...more
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He paid well. He expe ...more
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 ‘For ...more
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 Amazon - complete with MANDATORY square dancing. Yikes, people. Ford hated his own son, admired Hitler, hired armed thugs to put d ...more
That said, my overall impressions were that Ford was a ...more
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. T ...more
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 i ...more
Henry Ford was an enigma, a man of unexpected views. Ford was a pacifist, though one whose company converted to wartim ...more
“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 Amazon.
The story does contain ...more
The author provides a well-balanced view of the creation, development and decline of Fordlandia, and also of Ford's life, work and ideals. Henry Ford saw more in his factories' success than just ec ...more
This book is about a little-known facet of Henry Ford’s career — his attempt to establish a Ford-owned rubber plantation in the Amazon. The plantation wasn’t just intended to ensure a reliable source of rubber, however; it was also an extension of his “industrial village” paradigm into the rest of the world. It was nothing short of an attempt to establish a self-sufficient, Midwestern-style American town in the middle of the jungle. Ford believed so strongly in this aim that he continued to pour...more
Note: this review first appeared on Amazon
I don't normally believe in reincarnation, but it's hard not to think I've spent some previous life in the Amazon given my favorite books - of which I now rank Fordlandia - focus on Brazil. It was great to see the other three - Thief at the End of the World, the River of Doubt, The Jungle and the Sea - all mentioned in this fascinating look at Henry Ford's failed experiment in the jungle.
This was a well-researc ...more
This book is a chronicle of one of those projects. A high-minded concept poorly realized. But the author puts Fordlandia, the project, in the context of the times and of the Ford empire. We learn about the incredible River Rogue ...more
Except that this book totally celebtates the poilitics surrounding Fordlandia and completely ignores the people who lived there! Fascinating subject (that makes up for every Star), but what a boring ...more
"Their policy is to act first and plan afterward, usually overlooking completely essential details. Result: a tremendous increase of cost and effort unnecessarily.”
Ford in a lot of ways transformed manufacturing and the work force, but he wasn't great at conforming to something he didn't understand. From the very start of his grand experiment in the Amazon was a disaster. He sent people who had never seen a jungle to plant and build citie ...more
This tale of a utopia gone wrong gets bogged down in detail at times but is ultimately worth the effort to finish. I'd run across references to Fordlandia in books I'd read about the rubber and banana trades and was intrigued to learn more about Henry Ford's quixotic attempt to build a model town -- indeed, to create a model society -- in the depths of the Amazon.
"Over the course of nearly two decades, Ford would spend tens of millions of dollars founding not one but, afte ...more
Henry Ford famously calculated that it took 7883 distinct tasks to make a car. Applied to the construction process, this calculation brought the time it took to make a Model T down from twelve hours to one and a half hours. Hoping to take the same rigourously methodical approach to growing rubber, Ford directed his men to clear trees from swath ...more
"There is in fact an uncanny reemblance between Fordlandia's rusing water, tower, ...more
Toni Morrison called Grandin's new work, The Empire of Necessi ...more