After generations of creating high-quality automotive products, American industrialists began losing ground to the Japanese auto industry in the decades after World War II. David Halberstam, with his signature precision and absorbing narrative style, traces this power shift by delving into the boardrooms and onto the factory floors of the America’s Ford Motor Company and Japan’s Nissan. Different in every way—from their reactions to labor problems to their philosophies and leadership styles—the two companies stand as singular testaments to the challenges brought by the rise of the global economy.
From the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Fifties and The Coldest Winter, and filled with intriguing vignettes about Henry Ford, Lee Iacocca, and other visionary industrial leaders, The Reckoning remains a powerful and enlightening story about manufacturing in the modern age, and how America fell woefully behind.
This ebook features an extended biography of David Halberstam.
The assembly line -- developed at the FordMotor Company in 1913 for the mass production of Model Ts -- first created and then served anexpanding mass market. It inspired fiction, paintings, photographs, comedy, cafeteria layouts, andcookie-cutter suburban housing. It also transformed industrial labor and provoked strikes and uniondrives. During World War II and the Cold War, it was often seen as a bastion of liberty andcapitalism. By 1980, Japan had reinvented the assembly line as a system of "leanmanufacturing"; American industry reluctantly adopted this new approach. Nye describes thisevolution and the new global landscape of increasingly automated factories, with fewer industrialjobs in America and questionable working conditions in developing countries. A century after Ford'spioneering innovation, the assembly line continues to evolve toward more sustainablemanufacturing.