The Arsenal of Democracy

  • by A. J. Baime
  • Narrated by Peter Berkrot
  • 11 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

A New York Times best seller.
A dramatic, intimate narrative of how Ford Motor Company went from making automobiles to producing the airplanes that would mean the difference between winning and losing World War II. In 1941, as Hitler’s threat loomed ever larger, President Roosevelt realized he needed weaponry to fight the Nazis - most important, airplanes - and he needed them fast. So he turned to Detroit and the auto industry for help. The Arsenal of Democracy tells the incredible story of how Detroit answered the call, centering on Henry Ford and his tortured son Edsel, who, when asked if they could deliver 50,000 airplanes, made an outrageous claim: Ford Motor Company would erect a plant that could yield a "bomber an hour". Critics scoffed: Ford didn’t make planes; they made simple, affordable cars. But bucking his father’s resistance, Edsel charged ahead. Ford would apply assembly-line production to the American military’s largest, fastest, most destructive bomber; they would build a plant vast in size and ambition on a plot of farmland and call it Willow Run; they would bring in tens of thousands of workers from across the country, transforming Detroit, almost overnight, from Motor City to the “great arsenal of democracy.” And eventually they would help the Allies win the war. Drawing on exhaustive research from the Ford Archives, the National Archives, and the FDR Library, A. J. Baime has crafted an enthralling, character-driven narrative of American innovation that has never been fully told, leaving readers with a vivid new portrait of America - and Detroit - during the war.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Edsel Ford, a tragic hero

Where does The Arsenal of Democracy rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This is one of the best books I've listened to - well researched, well put together, and well read. It was such a great story that I'm glad to hear.


Who was your favorite character and why?

Edsel Ford. Esdel is the tragic hero - not allowed to participate in WW1 by his father, Henry, he seemed to go above and beyond to make up for that in WW2.


Which character – as performed by Peter Berkrot – was your favorite?

Harry Bennett - the obvious "bad buy" in this story, there was always a bit of nastiness in the narrator's voice when he performed Harry.


Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Absolutely. As a car buff, and airplane buff, it was a wonderful book. Layer in the story of WW2 in the process, and it was irresistible.


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- TG

why can't producers check pronunciation?

this is an excellent book with very good narration unfortunately marred by incorrect pronunciations. the narrator who is otherwise very good and engaging says Roosevelt with a long oo. it is astonishingly annoying and leads me to wonder why producers can't check their narrator's pronunciation.
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- UA UNCW

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-28-2014
  • Publisher: Audible Studios