In My Forty Years with Ford, Charles Sorensen -sometimes known as “Henry Ford’s man,” sometimes as “Cast-iron Charlie”-tells his own story, and it is as challenging as it is historic. He emerges as a man who was not only one of the great production geniuses of the world but also a man who called the plays as he saw them. He was the only man who was able to stay with Ford for almost the full history of his empire, yet he never hesitated to go against Ford when he felt the interests of the company demanded it. When labor difficulties mounted and Edsel’s fatal illness was upon him, Sorensen sided with Edsel against Henry Ford and Harry Bennett, and he insisted that Henry Ford II be brought in to direct the company despite the aging founder’s determination that no one but he hold the presidential reins.
First published in 1956, My Forty Years with Ford has now been reissued in paperback for the first time. The Ford story has often been discussed in print but has rarely been articulated by someone who was there. Here Sorensen provides an eyewitness account of the birth of the Model T, the early conflicts with the Dodge brothers, the revolutionary announcement of the five-dollar day, and Sorensen’s development of the moving assembly line-a concept that changed our world. Although Sorensen conceived, designed, and built the giant Willow Run plant in nineteen months and then proceeded to turn out eight thousand giant bombers, his life’s major work was to make possible the vision of Henry Ford and to postpone the personal misfortune with which it ended. My Forty Years with Ford is both a personal history of a business empire and a revelation that moves with excitement and the power of tragedy.