You couldn't find two more different men. Billy Durant was the consummate salesman, a brilliant wheeler-dealer with grand plans, unflappable energy, and a fondness for the high life. Alfred Sloan was the intellectual, an expert in business strategy and management, master of all things organizational. Together, this odd couple built perhaps the most successful enterprise in U.S. history, General Motors, and with it an industry that has come to define modern life throughout the world. Their story is full of timeless lessons, cautionary tales, and inspiration for business leaders and history buffs alike. Billy, Alfred, and General Motors is the tale not just of the two extraordinary men of its title but also of the formative decades of twentieth-century America, through two world wars and sea changes in business, industry, politics, and culture. The book includes vivid, warts-and-all portraits of the legends of the golden age of the automobile, from "Crazy" Henry Ford, Ransom Olds, and Charles Nash to the brilliant but uncredited David Dunbar Buick and Cadillac founder Henry Leland. The impact of Durant and Sloan on their contemporaries and their industry is matched only by the powerful legacy of their improbable and incredible partnership. Characters, events, and context -- all are brought skillfully and passionately to life in this meticulously researched and supremely readable book.
William Pelfrey (Beverly Hills, MI) spent 15 years at General Motors Corp., most recently as Director of Executive Communications. A former journalist, he reported from Vietnam, Appalachia, and Pakistan for The New York Times, Atlantic Monthly, and The New Republic . His first book, The Big V, won him a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship.