Book Review: New Men by Jon Enfield

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Book summary:  "Tony Grams comes to America at the start of the twentieth century, set on becoming a new man. Driven to leave poverty behind, he lands a job at the Ford Motor Company that puts him at the center of a daring social and economic experiment." (TLC Book Tours)

My thoughts:  The novel New Men by Jon Enfield is a veritable history lesson in the early years of the Ford Motor company. In the early 1900s, a time when large-scale factories were churning out automobiles and changing lives, Italian immigrant Tony Grams is hired as an inspector for Ford. He isn't an inspector of cars, however. What Tony Grams inspects is the lives of the factory workers.

Based on a real, yet quickly defunct, branch of the Ford Motor Company, these inspectors delved into the bank accounts and conducted kitchen inspections on the pretense of hiring and keeping good solid production-line workers. And all of this occurred at a time of speakeasies, bootleggers, the rise of the Klan and much more. What results is a social and physiological clash of values, wills and beliefs.

Truthfully I had never heard of such a practice at all by the Ford Motor Company. This "Big Brother" intrusion against the backdrop of the other important historical events of the day was quite interesting. 

What was really confusing to me, however, was the "voice" of the first-person narrator, Tony Grams. He is an immigrant who rather frequently says incorrect things. In fact, words are written wrong in this book on purpose to convey errors that Tony and other immigrants would have made in their English. This point is explained in the beginning notes of the book. However, sometime Tony Grams "speaks" like a pretentious English professor. For example, Tony unbelievably says "Laria and I were sitting the gloaming, parlor windows opened in supplication of a breeze." (Page 199) Or perhaps "Thia's engagement was just the spy of sorrow. The battalion arrived not much later, delivered by a Western Union bicycle boy." (Page 171)

New Men by Jon Enfield convincingly shines a light on a relatively unknown moment in history. The premise is quite good. It is the delivery that wore me down.

Rating: 3 of 5 stars

Book Facts:
  • Pages:   303
  • Year originally published:   2014
  • Book Tour:  My review of this book is part of a larger collection of reviews that can be found at TLC Book Tours.

FTC Disclosure: Lavish Bookshelf received this product complimentary in exchange for an honest review. The opinions in this review are solely the opinion of the author. Lavish Bookshelf was not required to provide a positive review and did not receive any further compensation. Links in this post may be an affiliate link to another website. When you purchase item through an affiliate link, Lavish Bookshelf may receive monetary compensation for the referral of the sale.

Book Focus: World Domination Summit 2014

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Last weekend I was able to surround myself with 
fantastically creative and inspiring people for three whole days! 
Photo courtesy of Flikr
World Domination Summit is a gathering of like-minded folks, each celebrating life and all it has to offer. The weekend is filled with top-notch speakers and equally inspiring folks from every corner of the world. And to top it off, WDS is held annually in Portland, Oregon. You know there was all kinds of weirdness going on at every opportunity!

 Darth Vader riding a unicycle on stage while playing a bagpipe that shoots flames.
Photo courtesy of Flikr

For the 2014 event, I was an Ambassador (volunteer). Dressed in loud orange shirts, the volunteer tribe stood out in the crowd, ready to help answer questions and guide people in all things WDS and Portland. Our volunteer duties started on Friday July 11, 2014 with a little something called "The Great Namaste" a.k.a. World Record Breaking Yoga Event! It was great fun to be a part of such a massive event. Five yoga moves were performed in a wave-like fashion, like dominoes falling down. Over 800 people participated which meant that people stood in these poses for quite a while as they waited for the next pose to "wave" its way down the rows to them. Our volunteer team laid the mats out in a specific order to form this pattern:

Notice the globe image, as well as the "WDS 14"
Photo courtesy of Flikr 

During the rest of the weekend, volunteers had a variety of duties ranging from directing the crowd to passing out goodies to the attendees. I was especially thrilled to be assigned to the BOOK STORE! Yeah!! The book store was the perfect spot for me! 

BRIGHT orange shirts! If you needed help, you knew where to find us.
Photo courtesy of Flikr

On to the WDS books!  Sometimes it is difficult to fully convey the depth of interesting conversations found at WDS. Looking at the book list though, it is easy to see why WDS has something for every dreamer, believer and artist that attends the event. If you are looking for encouragement and inspiration in your life, I encourage you to look through these titles.

Click on the link to learn more about the speaker.
Click on the image to learn more about books on Amazon.








Darren Rowse of

(See my quick WDS Book overview at Riffle.)

FTC Disclosure: Links in this post may be an affiliate link to another website. When you purchase item through an affiliate link, Lavish Bookshelf may receive monetary compensation for the referral of the sale.

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