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

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Staff Reviews

Think about it---build the first U.S. bomber plant from scratch, one that could produce one bomber per hour, and do it in record time. All those who opposed Hitler knew the need was great and the clock was ticking.

Here is the fascinating backstory of how, in a field east of Ypsilanti, Michigan, the Willow Run bomber plant was built and became the largest airplane factory in history and the linchpin in America's arsenal of democracy.  Baime presents an insightful blend of events giving equal time to the political, cultural and international forces of the time as well as to the personal dynamics of the individuals who rose to meet the formidable challenge.

A very interesting, informative book that at times is a real page-turner!


— From Sharon's Picks


"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

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.

"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, best-selling author of The Perfect Mile

"Fast-paced . . . the story certainly entertains."--New York Times
Product Details
ISBN: 9780544483873
ISBN-10: 0544483871
Publisher: Mariner Books
Publication Date: May 5th, 2015
Pages: 400
Language: English