I finished reading Fordlandia: The The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford's Forgotten Jungle City on the plane on the way back from Spring Training. I heard the author interviewed on the NPR books podcast last June and ordered the book. The book was included on the New York Times list of the 100 Notable Books of 2009.
From 1928 to 1945, Henry Ford tried to transform part of Brazil's Amazon River basin into a rubber plantation and American-style company town. He had purchased 2.5 million acres of Amazon land, roughly the size of Connecticut.
Unexpectedly for me, the book spends a lot of time examining Henry Ford and the Ford Motor Company. This information provides a context for why Henry Ford undertook the project to begin with and what he was trying to accomplish socially both in the Amazon and other parts of his empire.
I enjoyed the parts of the book set in the Amazon a great deal, but struggled with some other sections of the book. In particular, some of the sections outlining Ford's moral and political philosophies seemed to drag a bit. I was also surprised by the last section of the book; the author spends the final chapter talking about the current economic and agricultural development of the Amazon. I grade the book as a B+; it is good, but not great.