The Arsenal Of Democracy: FDR, Detroit, and an Epic Quest to Arm an America at War (Paperback)

The Arsenal Of Democracy: FDR, Detroit, and an Epic Quest to Arm an America at War By A. J. Baime Cover Image
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER. 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 a manufacturing complex that was crucial to winning WWII.

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 years—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 “bomber an hour.” 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.

“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.” — Wall Street Journal

“Fast-paced . . . the story certainly entertains.” — New York Times

About the Author


A.J. Baime is the New York Times bestselling author of The Accidental President: Harry S. Truman and the Four Months that Changed the World (2017), The Arsenal of Democracy: FDR, Detroit, and an Epic Quest to Arm an America at War (2014), Go Like Hell: Ford, Ferrari, and Their Battle for Speed and Glory at Le Mans (2009), and Dewey Defeats Truman: The 1948 Election and the Battle for America's Soul (2019). Baime is a longtime regular contributor to the Wall Street Journal, and his articles have also appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and numerous other publications.

Praise For…


"A.J. Baime’s prose is an amazing magic lantern shining through the flawed, frustrating and mesmerizing lives of an epic cast of characters; FDR; the anti-semitic Henry Ford; his gargoyle of a henchman Harry Bennett; the workers who would become America’s middle class; and, as well, Henry’s tragic son, Edsel, who lost his health and, ultimately, his life, trying to make good on his promise to deliver a "bomber an hour" during WWII. This is captivating history told at its most intimate level of detail; at the same time, Baime’s scope is grand and humane, even when he is bringing to life the most inhumane of people or moments. An engrossing, highly researched page-turner."  —Doug Stanton, author of In Harm’s Way and Horse Soldiers   "When you talk the history of Detroit, it's usually the stuff about beavers, the Model T, the '57 Chevy, the '67 riots and bankruptcy. But what A.J. Baime has done with a precise and entertaining pen is resurrect Detroit's most important era - WWII - and the obscure and tortured man who may have saved the world." —Charlie LeDuff, author of Detroit: An American Autopsy   "Wars are fought on many fronts, and A.J. Baime chronicles this little known, but terrifically important battle to build America's bomber force with narrative zest and delicious detail. Put simply, it's a great read." —Neal Bascomb, bestselling author of Hunting Eichmann and The Perfect Mile    "Fast-moving and rich with detail, Baime's book shows how the Fords worked a World War II miracle with rivets and steel. Engrossing." —Stephan Talty, author of Agent Garbo and Empire of Blue Water   "A.J. Baime has a great way of telling a story. We didn't just win World War II because we had the best soldiers.We did it because we could build airplanes literally faster than the Germans could shoot them down. An exciting read." —Jay Leno “[Edsel Ford] has deserved a better legacy, and A.J. Baime has given it to him . . . The Arsenal of Democracy  is 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.” Wall Street Journal "Accessible, surprising history . . . Forthright and absorbing." —Publishers Weekly   "A.J. Baime has a gift for taking stories about cars and turning them into epic tales of man and his machine versus other man and his machine… The Arsenal of Democracy shows how capitalism and the American spirit really won WWII. You’ll never look at Detroit or our flag the same again." Inked

Product Details
ISBN: 9780544483873
ISBN-10: 0544483871
Publisher: Mariner Books
Publication Date: May 5th, 2015
Pages: 400
Language: English