War Baby by William Spear

War Baby by William SpearWarbaby, A great book by William Spear. This had to be a labor of love and it is really well done.  This is a hefty book that Bill did a lot of research and work to bring to us. If there is one thing he knows, it’s Bantam’s.  His interest in the car led him to the Bantam “jeep”.  He examined how American Bantam Car Company came up with the short stick in producing jeeps for the WW2 war effort.  Sure they built a lot of stuff, including jeep trailers but except for some exploratory pre-production models the company was cut out of jeep production.  This is amazing as the Infantry, the branch that most wanted the jeep, was satisfied with the Bantam model.  They were concerned that the Willys model (which did not pass its initial testing) would be too heavy.  Bill has done the jeep history a great service by pulling this together.


For more about the original Bantam you might be interested in Jeep – Its development and procurement under the Quartermaster Corps, 1940-1942.  This book was written from the Quartermaster Corps’ perspective but draws on numerous resources and documentation to put together a pretty good picture of what happened. The other thing in its favor is that Rifkind’s work was written in 1943. But even by that time, the jeep story was clouded over who did what and when. Rifkind covers Bantam’s involvement, Willys-Overland and Ford companies developments, the contracts and other details important to the student of the WW2 jeep! What makes it even more valuable is that Rifkind actually lists the sources he used. So if you can figure out the record system used by the government back then and determine where to find them, you will find a gold mine of information to research. This book includes a reproduction of the original manuscript created by Rifkind. You will even find some pen and ink changes.

The First Jeep

The First Jeep

Another book that is worth a look if you are interested in the first jeep and that book is called, Project Management in History: The First Jeep (Project Management in History Series) (Volume 1).  The book is an interesting read that needed to have a bit more editing to be really polished.  But let me not nitpick about that.  The book gives us details that have not appeared in any other book  The author called upon contacts that had the inside story at American Bantam Car Company.  We learn all about the company and the many details that led to the jeep.  It is a fascinating story.  The author blesses us with a ton of endnotes so that you can do your own research.