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The Reckoning by David Halberstam

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4. THE FOUNDER

LATE IN THE LIFE of the first Henry Ford a boy named John Dahlinger, who more than likely was Ford’s illegitimate son, had a discussion with the old man about education and found himself frustrated by Ford’s very narrow view of what schooling should be. “But sir,” Dahlinger told Ford, “these are different times—this is the modern age, and—” Ford cut him off. “Young man,” he said, “I invented the modern age.”

The American century had indeed begun in Detroit, created by a man of simple agrarian principles. His father, an Irish immigrant, had arrived in America almost penniless, bringing with him only his hand tools. To William Ford the greatest opportunity that America offered was the chance for an ordinary man of ordinary means ...

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