“Freedom’s Forge” is an excellent book and a must read for anyone interested in business history. It is the story of how US business ramped up from a dead start during the depression and produced all those tanks, airplanes, and ships that won WW II not only for the United States but for Great Britain and Russia as well. It is the story of many people, but primarily Bill Knudsen, the assembly line expert and President of GM who Roosevelt called in 1940 to organize war production, and of Henry Kaiser, master builder and the father of the Victory and Liberty Ships and the west coast shipyards. It is the
story of B-17s, B-29s, tanks, guns, Rosie the Riveter, and mobilization of the US car companies. The weapons design, redesign, manufacturing plant layout, union problems, Washington politics, shortages of raw material, and every other problem you can think of is an amazing story of good triumphing over stupid. It is also the story of how determined businessmen like Knudsen fought interference from government bureaucracies, Congress, labor unions, and even the white house to get the job done to supply not only the US, but Great Britain and Russia as well. By the end of the war, GM alone outproduced Germany, Japan and Italy put together, and we can see in hindsight that Japanese Admiral Yamamoto was right. They had indeed awakened a ‘sleeping giant;’ and when Freedom’s Forge began producing arms, they did, they never stood a chance.
William F. Brown is the author of 5 suspense novels with over 300 Five-Star Reviews: The Undertaker, Amongst My Enemies, Thursday at Noon, Winner Take All, and now Aim True, My Brothers. They are all available on Kindle and now on Audible Audio Books. You read about them at billbrownwritesnovels.wordpress.com