Books & Magazines June, 25 2009

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

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Greg Grandin’s new book, Fordlandia, uncovers a forgotten piece of US automotive history. In 1927, Henry Ford (then the richest man in the world) purchased a massive tract of land in the Amazon. Naming it Fordlandia, the auto giant initially took the property to grow rubber, but soon transformed the space into a failed attempt to introduce a piece of America in the jungle. Golf courses were built, Model T’s imported, bandstands erected. Unfortunately (?) for Ford, the experiment failed. Fordlandia didn’t take to Midwestern puritanism, and instead acted as wild boomtown.

Grandin is professor of Latin American Studies at NYU, Fordlandia is published by MacMillan. Head to the jump for some archival shots featured in the book, via Amazon.