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The Vagabonds: The Story of Henry Ford and Thomas Edison's Ten-Year Road Trip

July 08, 2019

The fascinating story of two American giants—Henry Ford and Thomas Edison—whose annual summer sojourns introduced the road trip to our culture and made the automobile an essential part of modern life, even as their own relationship altered dramatically.

"A fascinating slice of rarely considered American history." — Booklist

“Jeff Guinn is a gifted writer, and his smooth prose transports the reader to the early 1900s, where we travel along with two of America's most celebrated icons. Guinn's unflinching portraits of Ford and Edison reveal that while these men accomplished great things, they were also deeply flawed individuals. One of the book's biggest surprises is how many of the currents running through it still roil our politics and culture today.” — Eric Jay Dolin, Author of Black Flags, Blue Waters

 

The Story of Henry Ford and Thomas Edison’s Ten-Year Road Trip is a delightful work of American history, in which bestselling author Jeff Guinn recounts the annual summer road trips taken by the two iconic Americans.

Along with tire tycoon Harvey Firestone, Edison and Ford dubbed themselves “The Vagabonds” and joined together each summer between 1914 and 1925 to explore the country by automobile. Outfitted in a caravan of Ford automobiles and accompanied by an entourage of chefs, butlers, and other handlers, the Vagabond’s trips generated extensive press coverage for Edison and Ford. Wherever they traveled, journalists and throngs of fans seemed to follow.

But while the Vagabonds would have been famous even if they’d never taken these summer trips, Guinn argues that the extensive coverage their adventures received helped usher in a new national lifestyle, creating the means for every American to enjoy summer vacation far beyond what was previously imagined.

A fascinating and little-told story of a pivotal moment in American history—when business tycoons and inventors were celebrities, when the automobile became accessible to middle-class Americans thanks to Ford’s Model T, and when roads and highways transformed the American landscape and spawned beloved road trip hallmarks like campgrounds, gas stations, motels and diners—The Vagabonds offers an essential window onto American life during the early 20th century.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jeff Guinn is an award-winning former investigative journalist and the bestselling author of numerous books, including Go Down Together: The True Untold Story of Bonnie and Clyde; The Last Gunfight: The Real Story of the Shootout at the O.K. Corral—And How It Changed the West; Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson; and The Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and Peoples Temple. Guinn lives in Fort Worth, Texas.

 

This book giveaway is being brought to you by Simon & Schuster. They have made 20 copies available.

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