The Vagabonds: The Story of Henry Ford and Thomas Edison's

The Vagabonds: The Story of Henry Ford and Thomas Edison's The fascinating story of two American giants Henry Ford and Thomas Edison whose annual summer sojourns introduced the road trip to our culture and made the automobile an essential part of modern life, even as their own relationship altered dramatically InHenry Ford and naturalist John Burroughs visited Thomas Edison in Florida and toured the Everglades The following year Ford, Edison, and tire maker Harvey Firestone joined together on a summer camping trip and decided to call themselves the Vagabonds They would continue their summer road trips until , when they announced that their fame made it too difficult for them to carry on Although the Vagabonds traveled with an entourage of chefs, butlers, and others, this elite fraternity also had a serious purpose to examine the conditions of America s roadways and improve the practicality of automobile travel Cars were unreliable and the roads were even worse But newspaper coverage of these trips was extensive, and as cars and roads improved, the summer trip by automobile soon became a desired element of American life In The Vagabonds Jeff Guinn shares the story of this pivotal moment in American history But he also examines the important relationship between the older Edison and the younger Ford, who once worked for the famous inventor The road trips made the automobile ubiquitous and magnified Ford s reputation, even as Edison s diminished The automobile had come of age and it would transform the American landscape, the American economy, and the American way of life Guinn brings to life this seminal moment when a new industry created a watershed cultural shift and a famous businessman became a prominent political figure The Vagabonds is a wonderful story of two American giants and the transformation of the country This was OK, but I wantedI really liked the parts about how the Vagabonds road trips helped inspire the country to also take road trips and how those trips created motels, campgrounds, auto garages, and lots of other amenities we take for granted today Interestingly, I cared less about the descriptions of the actual lives of Ford, Edison, and Firestone. It is always interesting to learn about people of some fame, particularly when one can trace and note interactions they had with other people of notoriety Jeff Guinn has penned this quasi biography about four such men during a decade in the early 20th century Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Harvey Firestone, and John Burroughs dubbed The Vagabonds took annual trips together during the decade of 1913 23 During these trips, these men not only took time away from their chaotic business lives, but als It is always interesting to learn about people of some fame, particularly when one can trace and note interactions they had with other people of notoriety Jeff Guinn has penned this quasi biography about four such men during a decade in the early 20th century Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Harvey Firestone, and John Burroughs dubbed The Vagabonds took annual trips together during the decade of 1913 23 During these trips, these men not only took time away from their chaotic business lives, but also spent time strengthening their personal and business friendships Guinn explores how Ford and Edison, the closest of the group, forged strong friendship as they helped one another in their respective business ventures These annual trips would garner much media and public attention, creating a caravan of notoriety wherever the group went That being said, the Vagabonds sought some degree of isolation during their repose, keeping everyone else at arm s length Guinn explores how these men would, at times, invite other people of prominence to attend their annual sojourns, only twice allowing wives to attend While John Burroughs was the odd man out, without a wife and who died before the end of these trips, the other three found themselves bantering a great deal Guinn mixes in some much needed context and work related commentary to provide the reader with any idea of what was taking place throughout If ever there could be an event that encapsulated notoriety, camaraderie, and brotherly love, it would be the annual trips made by these men, who fame held up without the journeys, but was further strengthened when people read of their adventures Guinn does a wonderful job at connecting the experience with the goings on in the world at the time Recommended for those who love American history, as well as the reader who enjoys something a little lighter about these historical heavyweights.I recently completed a full length biography of Thomas Edison, which helped me put some of what Guinn discusses in better context While Ford did find himself mentioned throughout that tome, the extent to their friendship was never fully understood until I took the time to allow Guinn to present it here Dividing each chapter into a year during this decade of adventures, Guinn tackles events of a single calendar year and contrasts some of the major events found therein He is able to adequately explore the lives of all four men, including some of the lesser known parts of Edison and Ford s banter over political goings on in the country The jovial nature in which Guinn presents the book keeps the reader wanting to knowWhile there is surely a great deal to tackle, Guinn does not overload the reader with too much, choosingof a superficial or scattered approach to give the reader context and encourage them to exploreon their own All the same, Guinn, who has a wonderful knack of pulling me in with most anything he writes, is able to recount the needed information and keeps the reader on the edge of their seat This was a fraternity like no other found in history, though Guinn makes it seemcongenial than competitive A wonderful complement to the aforementioned biography I read last week and now I will look for something on Ford, Firestone, and perhaps even Burroughs as well Kudos, Mr Guinn for a masterful piece of work I am glad I took the time to explore this one and cannot wait to see what I can uncover about the Vagabonds in the coming months Love hate the review An ever growing collection of others appears at Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge Woooo, was Henry Ford anti Semitic, or what Great book, but Ford and Edison, to a lesser extent was a racist d bag. I like Guinn He is both a novelist of the old west and an excellent writer of social history This book which recounts the early automobile travel of the vagabonds Edison, Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone is a fascinating slice of history I knew nothing about Good portraits of thee Vagabonds in the context of the political and social history of the late teens and early twenties of the 20th century and the growth of the automobile, motels, and travel I really enjoyed this book particularly lea I like Guinn He is both a novelist of the old west and an excellent writer of social history This book which recounts the early automobile travel of the vagabonds Edison, Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone is a fascinating slice of history I knew nothing about Good portraits of thee Vagabonds in the context of the political and social history of the late teens and early twenties of the 20th century and the growth of the automobile, motels, and travel I really enjoyed this book particularly learning about iconic figures of the 20th century in a new context Well written as well Highly recommended

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