Hardcover: 720 pages
Publisher: Oxford University Press (July 20, 2000)
Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 2.4 x 9.3 inches
Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds
Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
Best Sellers Rank: #350,178 in Books (See Top 100 in Books) #86 in Books > Engineering & Transportation > Engineering > Civil & Environmental > Transportation #198 in Books > Engineering & Transportation > Automotive > History #833 in Books > Engineering & Transportation > Transportation > History
My mother always said that the good things always came last. And so it is with this biography of Walter P. Chrysler. As I sit and look at the books on my library shelves, I find volumes of information on the men who built the automobile industry. Henry Ford, William Durant, the Dodge Brothers, etc. but there were two notable men missing--Charles Nash and Walter Chrysler.The only work on Chrysler was his own ghost written autobiography which first appeared in serialized form in the Saturday Evening Post back in 1937--and reprinted in book form in 1950, ten years after Chrysler's death.I was fortunate to meet Vincent Curcio, the author of this new work on Walter Chrysler in 1994, at Walter Chrysler's boyhood home in Ellis, Kansas. Six years is a long time to wait but the wait was worth it. Vincent Curcio spent those six years traveling the country, visiting every place Walter Chrysler ever lived--considering his wunder lust while working for the railroads, Curcio had a lot of steps to cover. He was able to meet and interview old timers who had worked with or knew Walter Chrysler personally. Considering their age, this was a vital link to Chrysler that will soon be lost....Curcio takes us from railroad town to railroad town, then to Chicago where Chrysler saw and fell in love with an ivory colored Locomobile car that he purchased and had shipped to his home in Oelwein, Iowa (after all, Chrysler did not know how to drive at that point!).The book is rich in lore about Chrysler--how he moved from working on the railroad to building locomotives FOR the railroads--and his move to Flint, Michigan where he began working for Charles Nash at the giant Buick works.
Chrysler : The Life and Times of an Automotive Genius is an entertaining, engaging biography of a man and his times. So much more than a dry biography of one of the major figures of the automotive industry, this book by Vincent Curcio provides fascinating insight into American industrial life in the late 19th and early 20th century.Walter Chrysler was the quintessential "working man," a railroad (and later automobile industry) mechanic by trade who first mastered himself, then proceeded to lead others in the burgeoning automobile industry. His early years in the railroad industry and his transition from mechanic to leader are nicely chronicled along with the development of American transportation history. Mr. Curcio lucidly explains the evolution of modern manufacturing and the integral parts played by seemingly (taken on their own) inconsequential methods and practices.While not as well known as a man (although the car and skyscraper are certainly famous), Chrysler embodied the American entrepreneurial spirit as deeply as any other leader of the auto industry. He was willing to take unusual risks, some resulting in relative failure (the Airflow), but all transforming the nature of the industry. He was not an early pioneer, first joining Buick in 1912. However, he completely understood design, engineering and manufacturing techniques. Perhaps more importantly, his ego was of a different mold. He was not afraid to accept the ideas or contributions of his employees. Chrysler made decisions perceived as unusual. For example, he built the graceful, elegant art-deco Chrysler Building, headquartering the company in New York at a time, its silhouette dominating the skyline of yesteryear.
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