Synopses & Reviews
andldquo;A touching and absorbing portrait of one of the forgotten heroes of World War II . . . A. J. Baime has given us a memorable portrait not just of an industry going to war but of a remarkable figure who helped to make victory possible.andrdquo;andmdash;Wall Street Journal
As the United States entered World War II, the military was in desperate need of tanks, jeeps, and, most important, airplanes. Germany had been amassing weaponry and airplanes for five yearsandmdash;the United States for only months. So President Roosevelt turned to the American auto industry, specifically the Ford Motor Company, where Edsel Ford made the outrageous claim that he would construct the largest airplane factory in the world, a plant that could build a andldquo;bomber an hour.andrdquo; And so began one of the most fascinating and overlooked chapters in American history.
Drawing on unique access to archival material and exhaustive research, A. J. Baime has crafted a riveting narrative that hopscotches from Detroit to Washington to Normandy, from the assembly lines to the frontlines, and from the depths of professional and personal failure to the heights that Ford Motor Company and the American military ultimately achieved in the sky.
andldquo;Wars are fought on many fronts, and A. J. Baime chronicles this little-known, but terrifically important battle to build Americaand#39;s bomber force with narrative zest and delicious detail. Put simply, itand#39;s a great read.andrdquo;andmdash;Neal Bascomb, best-selling author of The Perfect Mile
andldquo;Fast-paced . . . the story certainly entertains.andrdquo;andmdash;New York Times
"All I can say is:and#160;Wow! Go Like Hell
drops you right smack in the middle an intense and ferocious battle between Ford and Ferrari in the 1960s. Baime's exceptional voice puts the reader into minds of the drivers, designers, and executives who formed the Golden Age of racing; his fantastic descriptions allow the reader to feel the pounding of the cylinders.and#160;If you like carsand#8212;nay, if you have ever seen a carand#8212;you must read this book!"
and#8212;Garth Stein, New York Times bestselling author of The Art of Racing in the Rain and#160; "Light up a Lucky Strike. Pour yourself a good stiff drink. Go Like Hell is a wonder, chock-a-block with great heroes and villains, a pedal-to-the metal account of greed and gumption, a chronicle of obsession and vain glory. Don't worry about that seat belt. Just go for the ride."and#160;
and#160;and#160;and#8212;Leigh Montville, author of The Big Bam, Ted Williams and At the Altar of Speed
"Go Like Hell is an epic. Ambitions, lives, fortunes, friendships, and a place in history--all are on the line here.and#160; A.J. Baime marvelously reveals the people behind the machines."
and#8212;Neal Bascomb,and#160;author of The Perfect Mile and Hunting Eichmann and#160; "Mix sport, death and big business, the biggest.and#160; Throw in vivid portraits ofand#160; Enzo Ferrari and Henry Ford II,and#160; and the drivers, men obsessed with speed and fast cars while trying not to get killed.and#160;Go Like Hell is a very hard book to put down.and#160;Sharp and suspenseful from beginning to end."
and#8212;Robert Daley, author of The Cruel Sport and Year of the Dragon and#160; "Baimeand#8217;s skillful reporting and introspective writing style make for an insightful portrait of two automobile legends, as well as an exciting account of a bygone era in racing and in American culture." and#8212;Publishers Weekly
"Turbo-charged look at the heated race-car rivalry between Ferrari and Ford... Baimeand#8217;s rich descriptions of the card lift them to near-human proportions. The ultimate speed-read."and#160; and#8212;Kirkus Reviews
"A remarkably intimate look into the famous 1960s Ford-versus-Ferrari battles at Le Mans." and#8212;Automobile
"Like the cars it describes, Go Like Hell is a streamlined marvel built for speed, fueled by testosterone and likely to elicit happy grins from anyone who has ever heard music in the squeal of a tire or the roar of an engine . . . [Baime] hits the gas, pops the clutch and takes readers on a red-blooded ride to glory that will have them smiling all the way to the checkered flag."and#160; and#8212;Dallas Morning News "A pleasure to read . . . chronicles a time when an unfettered Detroit, led by 'car guys,' could achieve great things." -- Wall Street Journal
"Henry Ford IIand#8217;s monumental effort to topple Enzo Ferrari from the summit of sports-car racing at Le Mans is vibrantly told in this fast-paced account of the clash between the two fearsome, hyper-competitive automotive titans." and#8211; Bloomberg
"Insightful, well written accounts of the events and people involved along with inspired detail regarding the vehicles makes for a page turner. This is an ideal book for gear-heads, automotive enthusiasts, historians and people who might find amazing symmetry in what happened over 40 years ago verses what is happening today." -- Denver Examiner and#160; "Engaging... Grips you from the early pages to the conclusion." -- Autoweek
The story of the dramatic transformation of Detroit from "motortown" to the "arsenal of democracy," featuring Edsel Ford, who rebelled against his pacifist father, Henry Ford, to build the industrial miracle Willow Run, a manufacturing complex capable ofand#160;producing B-24 Liberator bombers at a rate of one per hourand#8212;a crucial component in winning the war.
In 1941, as Hitlers threat loomed ever larger, President Roosevelt realized he needed weaponry to fight the Nazis—most important, airplanes—and he needed them fast. So he turned to Detroit and the auto industry for help.
The Arsenal of Democracy tells the incredible story of how Detroit answered the call, centering on Henry Ford and his tortured son Edsel, who, when asked if they could deliver 50,000 airplanes, made an outrageous claim: Ford Motor Company would erect a plant that could yield a “bomber an hour.” Critics scoffed: Ford didnt make planes; they made simple, affordable cars. But bucking his fathers resistance, Edsel charged ahead. Ford would apply assembly-line production to the American militarys largest, fastest, most destructive bomber; they would build a plant vast in size and ambition on a plot of farmland and call it Willow Run; they would bring in tens of thousands of workers from across the country, transforming Detroit, almost overnight, from Motor City to the “great arsenal of democracy.” And eventually they would help the Allies win the war.
Drawing on exhaustive research from the Ford Archives, the National Archives, and the FDR Library, A. J. Baime has crafted an enthralling, character-driven narrative of American innovation that has never been fully told, leaving readers with a vivid new portrait of America—and Detroit—during the war.
By the early 1960s, the Ford Motor Company, built to bring automobile transportation to the masses, was falling behind. Young Henry Ford II, who had taken the reins of his grandfatherand#8217;s company with little business experience to speak of, knew he had to do something to shake things up. Baby boomers were taking to the road in droves, looking for speed not safety, style not comfort. Meanwhile, Enzo Ferrari, whose cars epitomized style, lorded it over the European racing scene. He crafted beautiful sports cars, "science fiction on wheels," but was also called "the Assassin" because so many drivers perished while racing them.
Go Like Hell tells the remarkable story of how Henry Ford II, with the help of a young visionary named Lee Iacocca and a former racing champion turned engineer, Carroll Shelby, concocted a scheme to reinvent the Ford company. They would enter the high-stakes world of European car racing, where an adventurous few threw safety and sanity to the wind. They would design, build, and race a car that could beat Ferrari at his own game at the most prestigious and brutal race in the world, something no American car had ever done.
Go Like Hell transports readers to a risk-filled, glorious time in this brilliant portrait of a rivalry between two industrialists, the cars they built, and the "pilots" who would drive them to victory, or doom.
By the early 1960s, Ford Motor Company, built to bring automobile transportation to the masses, was falling behind. Baby boomers were taking to the roads in droves, looking for speed not safety, style not comfort, and Ford didnand#8217;t offer what these young drivers wanted. Meanwhile, Enzo Ferrari lorded over the European racing scene, crafting beautiful, fast sports cars that epitomized style.and#160;Baime tells the remarkable story of how Henry Ford II, with the help of a young visionary named Lee Iacocca and a former racing champion turned engineer named Carroll Shelby, concocted a scheme to reinvent the Ford company. They would enter the high-stakes world of European car racing, where an adventurous few threw safety and sanity to the wind. They would design, build, and race a car that could beat Ferrari at his own game, at the most prestigious and dangerous race in the world, the 24 Hours of LeMans.and#160;Go Like Hell
transports readers to a golden era in racing when Fordand#8217;s innovative strategy led to victories on the track and renewed respect for the American automobile.
About the Author
A. J. BAIME is the author of Go Like Hell: Ford, Ferrari, and their Battle for Speed and Glory at Le Mans (currently in development for a major motion picture by 20th Century Fox). He is a regular contributor to the Wall Street Journal and an editor-at-large at Playboy.