Although Henry Ford gloried in the limelight of highly publicized achievement, he privately admitted, "I don't do so much, I just go around lighting fires under other people." Henry's Lieutenants features biographies of thirty-five "other people" who served Henry Ford in a variety of capacities, and nearly all of whom contributed to his fame. Many of these men were largely responsible for the success of Ford Motor Company and for the great acclaim lavished on Henry Ford. Although Ford must be given credit for mental inventiveness, other individuals generally carried his ideas to fruition.
These biographical sketches and career highlights reflect the people of high caliber employed by Henry Ford to accomplish his goals: Harry Bennett, Albert Kahn, Ernest Kanzler, William S. Knudsen, and Charles E. Sorensen, among others. Most were employed by Ford Motor Company, although a few of them were Ford's personal employees satisfying concurrent needs of a more private nature, including his farming, educational, and sociological ventures. It is significant to note that many of these same men were cast off by Ford. Some of the dispossessed left his employment and became more prominent in their own right than when under Ford's dominance. Ford Bryan obtained a considerable amount of the material in this book from the oral reminiscences of the subjects themselves. He also used the collections of the Archives and Library of Henry Ford Museum & Greenfield Village, the Bentley Library of the University of Michigan, the Cranbrook Archives and Historical Collections, and the Burton Historical Collection. Although the lives of thirty-five lieutenants are described in this book, many more individuals contributed to Ford's success; the author acknowledges them in Appendix I. Additional acquaintances of Henry Ford, those who have given oral accounts of their association with Ford, the man, or Ford Motor Company, are listed in Appendix II.