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LaGuardia Library Book of the Week: Engines of Change

Cover of ''Engines of Change: A History of the American Dream in Fifteen Cars''

Engines of Change: A History of the American Dream in Fifteen Cars by Paul Ingrassia

"Historians rightly agree that the Model T Ford is the most influential and important car in American history," writes Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ingrassia (deputy editor in chief, Reuters; Crash Course: The American Automobile Industry's Road from Glory to Disaster), who here tells the stories of 15 American cars. "The more elegant and delicate question is which car is the second most influential." Ingrassia considers autos that have changed American society or captured the spirit of the times--not just the fastest or the most famous. Even the casual student of history knows about the Model T's influence on assembly-line manufacturing and affordability for the average working family. But what about the transition of the VW, first known for being Hitler's car and later as the favored transport of hippies? Or the minivan's role in the rise of the now ubiquitous soccer mom? The epic failure of the Corvair, Ingrassiapoints out, had lasting effects on automobile safety, the career of Ralph Nader, and the 2000 presidential election.

VERDICT While readers may debate the author's choices (no AMC Gremlin?), they'll be entertained by this appealing social history, served up with just the right amount of sly humor and nostalgia."

Belsky, Susan. "Engines Of Change: A History Of The American Dream In Fifteen Cars." Library Journal 137.5 (2012): 121. Education Full Text (H.W. Wilson). Web. 24 Oct. 2013.

This book will be shelved at TL 23 .I54 2013 with other books on on automobiles and other motor vehicles once it is not a "New book."

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See our previous Books of the Week here.


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