“An innovative car (the Prius), its insufferable drivers (the pious), and the advent of a new era” proclaims chapter 13 in the book, Engines of Change.  Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Paul Ingrassia, has a HUGE stash of knowledge about Detroit’s ups and downs, Japan’s ups and downs, and the automobile’s upa and downs.  Engines of Change comprehensively covers fifteen cars.  It starts at the revolutionizing Ford Model T, and works its way up to the Toyota Prius.

The front cover pretty much says it all.  “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. DeLorian’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 manufaturing, 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.”

I recommend reading it.  It may be a bit expensive ($30.00), but it’s money very well spent.  Once you’ve read the first chapter, you’ll be hooked in to the book.  You probably won’t stop until you’ve finished the book.  Paul Ingrassia has a sense of humor, just itching for you to start laughing aloud about various people’s (and cars) mistakes.

I would like to thank my faithful reader, Uncle Howie for giving me the book.  Thanks, Uncle Howie!  It’s an awesome book!

6 thoughts on “How Fifteen Cars Can Tell the Tale of the American Dream

  1. Uncle Howie has now become “insufferable” as a Prius (Plug-in) owner.

    Truth be told, I don’t care about the environment – but the car allows me to drive LA freeways by myself in the HOV lane !

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