Robert J. Dewar
A Savage Factory: An Eyewitness Account of the Auto Industry's Self-Destruction  


Submitted by Harold Osmer - November 2009 
Welcome to
Car and Driver Nov. 2009 Issue
Book review by John Phillips
A Savage Factory is the tale of exactly that - the savage but darkly funny war waged between the hourly line workers, the factory foreman, management, the UAW, and the "Detroit Mafia" - a.k.a. the "suits from Dearborn."
If One Flew Overs the Cuckoo's Nest had taken place in a plant in the 1970s, it would be A Savage Factory. Highly Recommended. Aug. 28, 2009 Book Review: A Savage Factory      A Savage Factory enlightens — even as it confirms your worst suspicions and engenders more than a few nightmares. For anyone who's interested in cars, factory processes, or simply enjoys a good story well told, A Savage Factory is an interesting read.
savage indeed, October 24, 2009
A fascinating inside view of the not so pleasant reality of a manufacturing operation where real people on both the union side and the management side are transformed into something nobody could possibly want. I could not put it down, in part because I had worked on an assembly line in a union operation, and saw that Mr. Dewar's descriptions were dead on.
Superb- A first hand look at the gritty underbelly of the domestic auto industry, October 20, 2009
Robert Dewar is able to accurately convey a first hand look at the disfunctional relationships that mnagement had with labor and the indifference with which they all produced cars. A cover to cover read- HIGHLY reccommended.
This book should be in the top 50 on Amazon, it should be required reading for all managers and trainees in American Industry because it not only applies to the automobile industry, but all American Industry.
A Savage Factory grabs you from page one and you can't put it down until it is done, and when you finish it
Another Jungle, July 14, 2009
By  Bryan F. Shaw (Harvard University, Cambridge MA) -    
Do not open "A Savage Factory" unless you have a day or so to kill because you won't be able to put it down. My dad told me about this book and gave me his copy to read when I was home on vacation. "A Savage Factory" is an eye-witness expose of the corruption that went on during the manufacturing of Ford transmissions during the late 1970s (e.g., when quality was at its very lowest). The book reminded me (and I'm sure it will remind others) of Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle" that was published in 1906 and that exposed the shocking horrors and corruption of the meatpacking industry. The author, Dewar, gives a detailed and very scientific/analytical account of the entire process of manufacturing transmissions as well as of the psychology of the auto-worker and mid- and upper-level management. The chapter about the mental health hospital that dealt especially with burn-outs (or near burn-outs) from Ford was hilarious (but also enlightening for anyone working in a fast-pace, stressful environment). The sad thing about "A Savage Factory" is that everything that Dewar describes in the book--as shocking as it all seems at first--is probably not beneath the bozos that have been running the auto industry into the dirt for 30 years. WARNING: Do not buy this book if you have ever worked in management at Ford (and probably GM too)!
Obama and his industry hand out guys should have read this book
, June 27, 2009
Fascinating and unique insider's perspective, June 27, 2009
By  Sharon D. 
A fascinating and disturbing look at the inner workings of the US auto industry. A Savage Factory shows an insider's perspective about why this industry is failing. It's hard to believe Ford has remained viable this long - the culture is so polluted, dysfunctional and mismanaged the company seems doomed for failure. Some people blame upper management, others blame the unions - this book shows how both have failed by becoming warring, sabotaging gangs that systematically dismantle the entire company from the factory floor. No taxpayer dollars should support this industry unless there is a complete and total overhaul of the upper management - and unions! Fascinating read! It also makes me wonder what other US industries use this same dysfunctional style of management. I'm afraid it is probably more than just the auto industry. I think everyone in congress should read this book before they even consider a government bailout for any major US industry. Saving US jobs is one thing, but pouring money into a failing system is stupid and wasteful!
By  Reg Nordman "(K)nights on the Road"(Vancouver, BC Canada) -

Obama and his industry hand out guys should have read this book. The author writes a narrative that is as gripping and fast paced as any No.1 thriller. If you had any thoughts that the problems of the US auto giants were not self induced , you will have them quickly dispelled by this well written book. I can validate the ignorant, vulgarity-laced behavior of senior auto execs as one of my "leaders" at Commodore Business Machines had come straight out of the GM executive ranks, that memory still boggles me. This book just confirms that the US auto industry needs to fail to improve, and that the bail out money is long gone. Data point, while the US firms have been laying off steadily in the US over the last ten years, the US plants of the Japanese/German auto ompanies have hired as many people for their non union plants, so the net numbers of auto employees has remained the same! Terrific book for a cross country flight.

June 23, 2009

"Quite a book it is-focused, savvy, and well written...effectively paced scenes between believable people.  It deserves an audience.

Rich Strogan, Professor of Creative Writing, University of Pittsburgh

June 18, 2009

"Dewar's shocking tales will make readers wish this book were fiction.  His firsthand chronicle of Ford's archaic managerial style and the toll it extracted on employees and consumers is a good lesson in failed management practices and is a timely message, given auto makers' current downward spiral."

Luise Bolleber, Clarion Review

June 8, 2009  

"Your book is truly important and moving.....thank you for telling your story that has to be told widely, understood and accepted before we can bring back competitive manufacturing in the U.S.A.

Neil K. Bortz, Towne Properties and CNBC contributor.  

Buckle up for a raw, jaw-dropping story of Ford driving itself to the brink , April 4, 2009

Robert Dewar captures the essence of an American auto plant in his compelling book "A Savage Factory." It's "Dilbert" meets "Lord of the Flies."

Dewar's true life, eyewitness account walks you through from his dis-orientation to his self-termination. The stories are both hilarious and harrowing, showing the greasy underside of Ford Motor Company that will forever stain your impression of the auto industry because of the managers and union workers whose battle for control puts Ford on a collision course for self-destruction.

Dewar's raw, front row seat writing offers no sugar coating because the hardened characters who threatened his life with a loaded gun, intimidate him with operational sabotage, break him psycholoigcally that sent him to recoup and re-group with a shrink, and confound him with petty managerial games are not conjourned from his imagination but are people who lived and breathed down his neck every day he walked the factory floor of Ford.

If you think you have a bad day at the office or a boss who is intolerable, think again. Reading this account of how the Detroit Mafia plays God with people's careers while jeopardizing their health and family life will certainly make you grateful that you don't have to don a Foreman's jacket that doubled as a bulls-eye for unimaginable abuse and one unbeievable story.

"A Savage Factory" will grip you with disbelief from start to finish and make you appreciate that you never had to live the experiences that Robert Dewar endured in order to take home a paycheck.