Engines of Change
A History of the American Dream in Fifteen Cars
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.
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Engines of Change
Read an Excerpt
In the 1990s Chrysler executives used to joke that they could tell a Jeep driver from a minivan driver just by looking at his or her watch. Timex watches were for practical people, those utterly unconcerned about putting up appearances and thus unworried about driving a mommy-mobile. Even if they were mommies.
But Rolexes signaled people whose self-image couldn’t cope with a minivan and who wanted to flaunt their rugged, outdoor lifestyle. Even if ruggedness only meant hitting potholes en route to the mall in their Jeep Grand Cherokee Orvis Edition. With a skinny Venti Latte in the cup...see more
WHEN HENRY MET SALLIE: CAR WARS AND CULTURE CLASHES AT THE DAWN OF AMERICA’S AUTOMOTIVE AGE
Someone should write an erudite essay on the moral, physical, and esthetic effect of the Model T Ford on the American nation. Two generations of Americans knew more about the Ford coil than the clitoris, about the planetary system of gears than the solar system of stars.
—John Steinbeck, Cannery Row1
Just north of downtown Detroit on a small street called Piquette sits an inner-city storefront church called the Abundant Faith...see more
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