Engines of Change
A History of the American Dream in Fifteen Cars
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A narrative like no other: a cultural history that explores how cars have both propelled and reflected the American experience— from the Model T to the Prius.
From the assembly lines of Henry Ford to the open roads of Route 66, from the lore of Jack Kerouac to the sex appeal of the Hot Rod, America’s history is a vehicular history—an idea brought brilliantly to life in this major work by Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Paul Ingrassia.
Ingrassia offers a wondrous epic in fifteen automobiles, including the Corvette, the Beetle, and the Chevy Corvair, as well as the personalities and tales behind them: Robert McNamara’s unlikely role in Lee Iacocca’s Mustang, John Z. DeLorean’s Pontiac GTO , Henry Ford’s Model T, as well as Honda’s Accord, the BMW 3 Series, and the Jeep, among others.
Through these cars and these characters, Ingrassia shows how the car has expressed the particularly American tension between the lure of freedom and the obligations of utility. He also takes us through the rise of American manufacturing, the suburbanization of the country, the birth of the hippie and the yuppie, the emancipation of women, and many more fateful episodes and eras, including the car’s unintended consequences: trial lawyers, energy crises, and urban sprawl. Narrative history of the highest caliber, Engines of Change is an entirely edifying new way to look at the American story.
A wonderful automotive history
This book should be a must read for lovers of the American automotive experience, but it goes beyond car culture. Yes, it describes the landmark cars sold in this country and the important people behind their creation, but the influence on American life is a significant theme. Who would premise the election of George Bush having been in part the result of the existence of the Corvair and the controversy behind its handling flaws?
Book club for men?
When I started reading this book, I wanted to discuss it with my wife who was extremely uninterested. I have now bought copies for my father, brother, and stepfather and we all have discussed it at various times. It has opened up discussions about the cars we have had, have wanted, and the cars that got away. I have heard new stories about cars from all of them and it has made us a closer family of men because of it.
Outstanding read for car fans
I love reading anything new about cars. This book definitely is a page turner and had me spurring plenty of dinner-time conversations. Great book - I highly recommend to family and friends.