Autokind Vs. Mankind: 04/03/16
Autokind Vs. Mankind by Kenneth R. Schneider is another stern look at the effects of automobile culture on the American way of life at the start of the gas crisis. The interstate highway system seemed like an unstoppable force and suburban sprawl was choking the countryside.
Like The Endless Pavement by Jacqueline Jackson, Schneider's book contains warnings and condemnations about our willy nilly embrace of the automobile and all its auxiliary machinery (roads, gas stations, factories, mechanics, tire production, motels, fast food, etc.)
Besides being a warning against the excessive consumerism that the automobile industry engenders, it's also a call to action. Schnedier outlines a number of ways that cities can and should be redesigned to put mankind back in charge.
Interestingly we're in a time now where freeway construction isn't given free rein anymore. San Francisco tore down I480, South Pasadena has been fighting against I710, and there's the on-going fight over I69 as shown in Interstate 69 by Matt Dellinger.
Were all of Schneider's dire predictions true? No. He saw a future of endless carhops and fast food replacing all family together time. He saw a growing American neurosis derived from the love/hate relationship with the automobile. He also saw a world where autokind was to the point of self replicating — where all the nation's output is focused on creating more automobiles or automobile related paraphernalia.
You can see my live blogging of the book on Tumblr.