Jim Jones, Fitzcarraldo, The Mosquito Coast...nothing sucks me in quicker than a tale of a dashed jungle dream. That’s why I’m bracing for what seems like a harrowing read in Greg Grandin’s account of Henry Ford’s Amazonian misadventure, Fordlandia. Despite the story’s familiar trajectory (man—> jungle—> tragedy), the details sound remarkable:
In 1927, Ford, the richest man in the world, needed rubber to make tires, hoses and other parts for his cars. Rubber does not grow in Michigan, and European producers enjoyed a virtual monopoly on the rubber trade because of their Asian colonies. So, typically, the car magnate decided to grow his own.
The site chosen for Ford?