Download Autophobia: Love and Hate in the Automotive Age by Brian Ladd PDF

By Brian Ladd

Cars are the scourge of civilization, answerable for every thing from suburban sprawl and concrete decay to environmental devastation and rampant weather change—not to say our slavish dependence on overseas oil from doubtful assets in a foreign country. upload the superb rate in human lives that we pay for our automobility—some thirty million humans have been killed in motor vehicle injuries throughout the 20th century—plus the numerous variety of hours we waste in gridlock site visitors commuting to paintings, operating errands, settling on up our children, and looking out for parking, and one can’t support yet ask: Haven’t we had adequate already? After a century in the back of the wheel, may well we be attaining the tip of the automobile age?
 
From the version T to the SUV, Autophobia unearths that our vexed courting with the auto is not anything new—in truth, debates over no matter if autos are forces of excellent or evil in our global have raged for over a century now, ever because the car was once invented. in keeping with Brian Ladd, this love and hate dating we percentage with our vehicles is the defining caliber of the car age. And everyone has an opinion approximately them, from the shills, oil barons, and radical libertarians who supply automobiles blithe paeans and deny their sick results, to the technophobes, treehuggers, and killjoys who curse autos, ignoring the very actual freedoms and advantages they supply us. Focusing particularly on our world’s towns, and spanning settings as diversified as belle epoque Paris, Nazi Germany, postwar London, la, long island, and the smoggy Shanghai of at the present time, Ladd explores this love and hate dating all through, acknowledging adherents and detractors of the car alike.
 
Eisenhower, Hitler, Jan and Dean, J. G. Ballard, Ralph Nader, OPEC, and, in fact, automobiles, all come into play during this wide-ranging yet remarkably wry and pithy publication. a blinding reveal of erudition, Autophobia is cultural remark at its so much compelling, historical past at its so much searching—and a shocking page-turner.

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Additional resources for Autophobia: Love and Hate in the Automotive Age

Sample text

American anti-automobilism in particular had long since ceased to be the province of the resentful and carless poor. More than in the 1920s, in­ tellectuals and arbiters of taste fretted about the moral fiber of a nation of drivers. If this era of unprecedented mass prosperity saw no fierce re­ ligious backlash against material excess, it did bring to the fore a genera­ tion of secular pessimists worried about a leveling of taste. The 1950s was the decade of The Or9anization Man and The Lonely Crowd, among other expressions of a fear that wealth was making Americans either crass or miserable.

The same phenomenon appalled Lewis Mumford, the self-taught American scholar of cities who emerged as midcentury's most prominent car critic. " 7 Detroit's eye-popping and ever-changing cars offered an inexhaust­ ible topic of conversation. Modernist designers such as Raymond Loewy 46 CHAPTER TWO condemned the bloated shapes and chrome encrustations of 1950s cars (apart from his own designs for Studebaker). Modernism claimed to be grounded in the rational needs of the object: form follows function.

Still, people in many lands shared the vague belief that the country­ side was the repository of moral virtues under siege in the cities. Urban slums were reputed to be moral sinks that sucked downward the rural people who migrated there. The first cars, too, usually came from the city, and their role was very simple, in the view of some critics: they were get­ away cars, carrying desperate criminals and their gangs to the country­ side and enabling them to strike and escape quickly (the theme of early films as well as a 1929 American play).

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