Engines of Change : A History of the American Dream in Fifteen Cars

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2012-05-01
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster

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From Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Paul Ingrassia comes a narrative of America like no other: a cultural history that explores how cars have both propelled and reflected the national experiencefrom the Model T to the Prius. America was made manifest by its cars. From the assembly lines of Henry Ford to the open roads of Route 66 and Jack Kerouac, America's history is a vehicular historyan idea brought brilliantly to life in this major work by the acclaimed author of Crash Course: The American Automobile Industry's Road from Glory to Disaster. One of the nation's most eloquent and impassioned car nuts, Paul Ingrassia offers a wondrous epic in fifteen automobiles, including the VW Beetle, the Chevy Corvair, Robert McNamara and Lee Iacocca's Mustang, the Pontiac GTO, Honda's Accord, the BMW 3 Series, and the Jeep, among others. Through them, the author shows us much more than the car's ability to exhibit the particularly American tension between the lure of freedom and the obligations of utility; he takes us through the rise of American manufacturing, the suburbanization of the country, the birth of the Hippy and the Yuppy, the emancipation of women, and so much more, including the car's unintended consequences: trial lawyers, energy crises, and pollution. Narrative history of the highest caliber, Engines of Change is an entirely edifying new way to look at the American story.

Author Biography

Paul Ingrassia, formerly the Detroit bureau chief for The Wall Street Journal and later the president of Dow Jones Newswire, is the deputy editor-in-chief of Reuters. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 1993 (with Joseph B. White) for reporting on management crises at General Motors, he is the author of Crash Course: The American Automobile Industry’s Road from Glory to Disaster.

Table of Contents

Introductionp. xi
When Henry Met Sallie: Car Wars and Culture Clashes at the Dawn of America's Automotive Agep. 1
Zora, Zora, Zora: A Bolshevik Boy Escapes the Nazis and Saves the Great American Sports Carp. 31
The 1959 Cadillacs: Style, Status, and the Race for the Biggest Tail Fins Everp. 57
Volkswagen's Beetle and Microbus: The Long and Winding Road from Hitler to the Hippiesp. 81
The Chevy Corvair Makes Ralph Nader Famous, Lawyers Ubiquitous, and (Eventually) George W. Bush President of the United Statesp. 111
Turning a "Librarian" into a "Sexpot": The Youth Boom, the Sixties, and the Making of the Mustangp. 141
The Brief But Glorious Reign of John Z. DeLorean and the Pontiac GTOp. 163
Ohio Gozaimasu: Godzilla, Mr. Thunder, and How a Little Japanese Car Became America's Big Ichibanp. 191
The Chrysler Minivans: Baby Boomers Become Soccer Moms and a, um, Driving Force in American Politicsp. 219
The BMW 3 Series: The Rise of the Yuppies and the Road to Arugulap. 241
The Jeep: From War to Suburbia, or How to Look Like You're Going Rock Climbing When You're Really Going to Nordstromp. 265
The Ford F-Series: Cowboys, Country Music, and Red-Meat Wheels for Red-State Americansp. 289
An Innovative Car (the Prius), Its Insufferable Drivers (the Pious), and the Advent of a New Erap. 313
Afterwordp. 341
Acknowledgmentsp. 347
Notesp. 349
Selected Bibliographyp. 373
Indexp. 377
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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