Book Review - Automania

My most recent book review request came from Yale University Press. The title? Auto Mania: Cars, Consumers, and the Environment by Tom McCarthy. Now I am a sucker when it comes to anything history, biography, environment and so would probably give any book in these categories a pretty glowing review, but I must say I REALLY enjoyed this book. It is a very thorough look at our ever so addictive relationship with cars with all its eccentricities from the need for speed, keeping up with the Jones', to ever present power and greed. And he does it with a bit of humor tossed in here and there. Essentially an environmental history of the automobile, McCarthy points out early that scientists and engineers were well aware of the many challenges that came with cars and even goes into Henry Ford's sincere interest in reducing waste in his uber efficient assembly lines. Pop culture played a key role too, from Elvis Presley to Will Rogers. And, no surprise, even early observations of global warming - and how they were ignored - show up in the book. After reading McCarthy's book, we better understand America's romance with the automobile with all its wires, belts, and oh so many other social, political, economic, and environmental 'strings' attached.

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