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The Power to Go: 06/14/15

cover art

The Power to Go by Merrill Denison was written in an era when Detroit was thriving and the American automobile could do no wrong. It was the middle of the Baby-Boom and their parents needed station wagons for growing families and sports cars for midlife crises.

The midpoint of the 20th century was defined by the automobile culture. It was still a few years away from the Beach Boys and their numerous songs devoted to the car, but the pump was primed. So 48 years after the Model T brought the automobile to the masses, Merrill Denison decided to explore the automobile's history and influence.

For my research into the linguistic interplay between the road and driver and the road trip narrative that arises from it, The Power to Go was perfect. It was just the right ratio of history to theory.

Especially interesting was Denison's comparison of the European automobile industry to the American one. In Europe where cities were well established (many being hundreds of years old), cars were built to fit the landscape: being small and maneuverable. Whereas in the United States cities were new, many only a few decades old. They were growing up alongside the automobile and therefore the roads and landscape could be tailored to the driving experience.

As with the other books I'm reading for this project, I live blogged my progress. To see all of my favorite quotes and thoughts as I progressed through the book, check out my Tumblr.

Five stars

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