Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry…

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

by Greg Grandin

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5742617,265 (3.61)44
  1. 00
    One River by Wade Davis (wandering_star)
    wandering_star: Different facets of the incredible story of rubber and the power of nature.

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 44 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 26 (next | show all)
Did you know that Henry Ford, in the middle of fighting unions, being anti-Semetic, and otherwise shaping car culture, tried to build a productive village in the Brazilian rainforest in order to supply latex to his production lines? I did not! It didn’t go well, for a variety of reasons both environmental and human. The anti-government Ford ended up relying heavily both on the Brazilian and US governments in trying to make a go of Fordlandia, but it still didn’t work. The last chapter is a truly depressing account of deforestation and environmental destruction in the Amazon, but what the book really brings home is that, though our culture celebrates the successes of private enterprise, we don’t talk about private failures a lot. And most businesses, and even most endeavors of successful businesses, fail. The difference between businesses and government is that, when government fails, it can’t just go bankrupt and go away. ( )
  rivkat | Jun 13, 2016 |
I wanted to like this. But I got almost 1/4 of the way through and we were still negotiating - no, talking about the negotiations - for the purchase of land in the Amazon. I kept waiting for the title to be relevant. Just too dry, too much distance from the action. These people were flesh & blood, with fears & passions etc, but I never believed it.
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 5, 2016 |
First off, I did not realize Aldous Huxley's Brave New World was a response to Fordism (I know, I struggle), nor did I realize Ford was so... paternalistic (it's all coming together now!). Details the acquisition of a large land area in the Brazilian Amazon by Ford with the initial intent to establish a rubber plantation. The mission eventually morphs into founding a mid-western town (in the jungle) based upon Ford's take on the wholesome American values that were quickly becoming outdated in the states. Both failed spectacularly. Crazy interesting read on the abundant shenanigans in the jungle (by shenanigans I mean mismanagement and misery) and the cultural upheaval going on back home with workers demanding the right to organize and collectively bargain. As ridiculous as his rigidity appears in some cases, in others it's rather admirable. Mayhem at its finest. Anyone interested in a trip up the Tapajós? ( )
  dandelionroots | Jan 31, 2016 |
Before this book, I hadn't read any nonfiction for a long time. It really struck me how many different aspects of history, culture, and economics were tied into the story of Fordlandia. One of the main reasons I picked this up was because I had just finished rereading Brave New World, and its emphasis on Fordism made me want to learn more on the subject. ( )
  lorienanderson | Jun 19, 2015 |
Henry Ford build a rubber plantation and community in the Amazon. He wanted to be in total control of all aspects of life there--even though he never visited it. He made his managers who oversaw the settlement abide by his rules. He had rules like: only brown rice is to be served in the cafeteria. (Because he thought it was healthier, never mind what the native people actually wanted. He was trying to build a replica of his version of an efficient, clean, moral American community and workplace in the middle of a jungle where the workers where native tribesman who had never used clocks before. And who rioted at one point, smashing the time clocks he had installed. This story, and Ford, can be facinating but this book went into way too much detail about every single thing and it became a tedious read. We read and discussed it in book group and all the members thought the same thing. Fans of detailed examinations of one aspect of history--this is the book for you. ( )
1 vote debs4jc | Dec 2, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 26 (next | show all)
As background Ted Hughes was probably the finest English poet first published post 1945. He married Sylvia Plath in 1956 and was estranged from her upon her death by suicide in 1963.

This is visceral, confessional poetry of an immense power and feeling. It is the final work of a man who, knowing he is soon to die, cares nothing about displaying the soiled linen of their relationship; her weaknesses, fears, obsessions, his failings as he looks through the demonic power of his words to their inevitable conclusion. One is cut to shreds as he sifts the spikes and shards of their failings and failed relationship. There is bitterness too, Plath's father is certainly not spared, nor is Hughes himself but there are goblins and bees aplenty in that superlative, supernatural and ill-fated place they inhabited together. I wanted it to cease, I longed for it to be over, I never wanted it to end.

Hughes spared nothing. He was blunt and his verse often less than flattering but always the images conjured are powerful:

From 18, Rugby Street

, "And I became aware of the mystery
Of your lips, like nothing before in my life,
Their aboriginal thickness. And your nose,
Broad and Apache, nearly a boxer's nose,
Scorpio's obverse to the Semitic eagle
That made every camera your enemy,"

His word in "Visit" are stark and doom-ladenly prophetic

"Inside that numbness of the earth
Our future trying to happen.
I look up - as if to meet your voice
With all its urgent future
That has burst in on me. Then look back
At the book of the printed words.
You are ten years dead. It is only a story.
Your story. My story."

Looking back on that time and facing his own curtailed future (he died of cancer shortly after publication) Hughes left possibly his best work for the very last to be savoured after his passing. Given the subject matter that was just right.
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Why, though, did we need a Mahagonny?
Because the world is a foul one.
The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny
To Emilia Viotti da Costa
First words
January 9, 1928. Henry Ford was in a spirited mood as he toured the Ford Industrial Exhibit with his son, Edsel, and his aging friend Thomas Edison, feigning fright at the flash of news cameras as a circle of police officers held back admirers and reporters.
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (3)

Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0805082360, Hardcover)

Amazon Best of the Month, June 2009: Proving that truth can indeed be stranger than fiction, Fordlandia is the story of Henry Ford's ill-advised attempt to transform raw Brazilian rainforest into homespun slices of Americana. With sales of his Model-T booming, the automotive tycoon saw an opportunity to expand his reach further by exploiting a downtrodden Brazilian rubber industry. His vision, the laughably-named Amazonian outpost of Fordlandia, would become an enviable symbol of efficiency and mark the Ford Motor Company as a player on the global stage. Or so he thought. With thoughtful and meticulous research, author Greg Grandin explores the astounding oversights (no botanists were consulted to confirm the colony's agricultural viability) and painful arrogance (little thought was paid to how native Brazilians would react to an American way of life) that hamstrung the project from the start. Instead of ushering in a new era of commerce, Fordlandia became a cautionary tale of a dream destroyed by hubris. --Dave Callanan

Take a Closer Look at Images from Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford's Forgotten Jungle City

(Click on images to enlarge)
A sketch of the opera house in Manus,
Brazil (aka. "the tropical Paris")
An Amazonian family
employed in the rubber trade
Ford executives on the
deck of The Ormoc en
route to the Amazon

Workers clearing the rainforest
before construction can begin
Mundurucú mission children
with German nuns
A Lincoln Zephyr stuck
in Fordlandia mud

Fordlandia's Riverside Avenue
near the Tapajós River
Ruins of Fordlandia's powerhouse
Ruins of the sawmill
at Iron Mountain

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:06 -0400)

The stunning, never-before-told story of the quixotic attempt to recreate small-town America in the heart of the Amazon, "Fordlandia" depicts a desperate quest to salvage the bygone America that the Ford factory system did much to dispatch.

» see all 4 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
208 wanted2 pay1 pay

Popular covers


Average: (3.61)
0.5 1
2 7
2.5 2
3 37
3.5 14
4 39
4.5 3
5 16


An edition of this book was published by Audible.com.

See editions

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


You are using the new servers! | About | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 113,891,364 books! | Top bar: Always visible