The New Men
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.
The new century and the new auto industry are bursting with promise, and everyone wants Henry Ford’s Model T. But Ford needs men to make it. Better men. New men. Men tough enough and focused enough to handle the ever-bigger, ever-faster assembly line. Ford offers to double the standard wage for men who will be thrifty, sober, and dedicated… and who will let Ford investigators into their homes to confirm it.
Tony has just become one of those investigators. America and Ford have helped him build a new life, so at first he’s eager to get to work. But world war, labor strife, and racial tension pit his increasingly powerful employer against its increasingly desperate enemies.
As Tony and his family come under threat from all sides and he faces losing everything he’s built, he must struggle with his conscience and his weaknesses to protect the people he loves.
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I flew through The New Men, and learned a lot about the world on the way. This author masterfully weaves together history, relationships, comedy, tragedy, and romance to create a story that had me alternately laughing and crying… and always eager to find out what would happen next. A tremendous story that will be with me for many years to come.
~ Robert Barnett, Amazon reviewer
A remarkable and ambitious novel about a remarkable and ambitious project: the Ford Motor Company’s program, in the early twentieth century, to transform immigrant workers into Americans. Like all the best historical fiction, the book succeeds on both fronts: not only does it introduce us to an unfamiliar time and place convincingly and with superb detail; it also keeps us turning pages.
~ Rush177, Amazon reviewer
Pick it up if you enjoy highly intelligent and compelling writing, want to learn more about a fascinating period from multiple angles, and want to see a rare case of an academic treatise turned into a remarkable piece of fiction – you get the best of both worlds with this book, which almost never happens. The characters are interesting, the story believable and compelling, and the background about Ford Motor and the Detroit of the 10’s absorbing. All that said- the biggest draw here is the superb writing, so if that’s what you typically look for, you’d give it 5 stars as well.
~ R. Quinn, Amazon reviewer
The New Men combines a fascinating subject with a story that is well written, genuinely hilarious, and always gripping. I loved the opportunity to learn more about a central part of America’s and Detroit’s history, and I feel like I understand the era’s complex and competing narratives far better for having learned about them through the eyes of Tony Grams and the other characters in this book. Enfield’s attention to detail is what sets this book apart from so many others. The authenticity of the language used, the city described, and the story written adds to the power of each emotional turn. I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in history or anyone just looking for a great read.
~ Chris, Amazon reviewer
Jon has written for a range of audiences and publications. His work has appeared in Conjunctions, Poetry Ireland Review, Underground Voices, Xavier Review, and Forbes.com. He is a former fiction editor of Chicago Review, and he taught writing at the University of Southern California for several years. He received his Ph.D. in English from the University of Chicago for his dissertation on the relationships between American film and fiction 1910-1940. The New Men arose from his longstanding fascination with America in the early twentieth century and from his sense that the emergence and evolution of the American auto industry shed light on some fundamental realities of present-day America.