The Life of the Automobile

The Life of the Automobile

The Complete History of the Motor Car

Book - 2014
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The Life of the Automobile is the first comprehensive world history of the car.

The automobile has arguably shaped the modern era more profoundly than any other human invention, and author Steven Parissien examines the impact, development, and significance of the automobile over its turbulent and colorful 130-year history. Readers learn the grand and turbulent history of the motor car, from its earliest appearance in the 1880s--as little more than a powered quadricycle--and the innovations of the early pioneer carmakers. The author examines the advances of the interwarera, the Golden Age of the 1950s, and the iconic years of the 1960s to the decades of doubt and uncertainty following the oil crisis of 1973, the global mergers of the 1990s, the bailouts of the early twenty-first century, and the emergence of the electric car.

This is not just a story of horsepower and performance but a tale of extraordinary people: of intuitive carmakers such as Karl Benz, Sir Henry Royce, Giovanni Agnelli (Fiat), André Citroën, and Louis Renault; of exceptionally gifted designers such as the eccentric, Ohio-born Chris Bangle (BMW); and of visionary industrialists such as Henry Ford, Ferdinand Porsche (the Volkswagen Beetle), and Gene Bordinat (the Ford Mustang), among numerous other game changers.

Above all, this comprehensive history demonstrates how the epic story of the car mirrors the history of the modern era, from the brave hopes and soaring ambitions of the early twentieth century to the cynicism and ecological concerns of a century later. Bringing to life the flamboyant entrepreneurs, shrewd businessmen, and gifted engineers that worked behind the scenes to bring us horsepower and performance, The Life of the Automobile is a globe-spanning account of the auto industry that is sure to rev the engines of entrepreneurs and gearheads alike.

Publisher: New York : St. Martin's Press, 2014, c2013
Edition: 1st U.S. ed
ISBN: 9781250040633
Branch Call Number: 629 .22209 PAR
Characteristics: ix, 437 p., [16] p. of plates :,ill. (some col.) ;,25 cm

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erichmusick
Aug 30, 2015

Started reading this but it didn't keep my interest. Never finished.

BCD2013 Jun 12, 2014

NYPL Staff Pick
For the car completist, this is a soup-to-nuts (or nuts-to-bolts) history of the development of the automobile. From its start as a glorified bicycle in the 1880s to the development of alternative fuel cars of today, Parissien covers the high points (the “chrome age” in the 1950s) and the low (“the DeLorean”) in this entertaining, enthusiastic history of all-things car.
- Wayne Roylance

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tibailey Jul 11, 2014

Steven does a masterful job of sorting through the massive collection of auto manufacturers telling how they came to be as well as their fall from economic and engineering grace. There are many lessons in here about how to manage in the industrial / high tech age.

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