A superb novel based on the true story of Henry Ford's amazing but doomed attempt to stop the First World War.
1915. Neutral America is debating the proper response to the war in Europe. Increasingly involved in this debate is Henry Ford: inventor, industrialist, billionaire. He is against war – it is bad for business.
Ford is barely educated but knows how to make a headline, and when he declares that he will give up all he possesses to stop the build-up to war, the papers get to work. Into his orbit comes the bombastic peace-activist Rosika Schwimmer, who persuades him that a Peace Ship filled with the great and the good should sail to Europe, set up a mediation commission, and 'get the boys out of the trenches by Christmas’.
With Ford’s money the idea quickly becomes a reality and everyone is in on the act. Fortunes are spent in his name. Chartering the Oscar and leaving in a storm of publicity, but with most credible invitees turning him down, Ford finds himself in the mid-Atlantic, menaced by invisible U-boats, on a ship full of eccentrics, idealists, parasites, and hard-drinking journalists on the story of their lives. Back home he is ridiculed as the expedition descends into acrimonious farce.
Told in the many voices of those around Ford – his wife, his chauffeur, the activists, politicians, and journalists aboard his Ship of Fools – King Henry is a captivating and virtuosic novel based on one of the most extraordinary episodes of the early twentieth century. It is a strikingly contemporary story of a well-intentioned king with a court that has run mad who suffers a spectacular fall from grace.
About the Author
Douglas Galbraith was born in Glasgow in 1965. He is the author of two highly-praised novels, The Rising Sun and A Winter in China. He has two sons and lives in Fife.
"Galbraith is to be commended for retelling, with urgency and clarity, events which have been variously ignored, forgotten and denied."
"Reads effortlessly, like a feature film unspooling in the mind: an epic full of war and all its horrors."
"From the Hardcover edition."
Number Of Pages: 409
Published: 1st April 2008
Dimensions (cm): 19.685 x 12.827 x 2.540
Weight (kg): 0.284