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

Tantor Media Inc

Narrated by Sean Runnette

12 hr 30 min

America was made manifest by its cars. From the assembly lines of Henry Ford to the open roads of Route 66 and Jack Kerouac, America's history is a vehicular history-an idea brought brilliantly to life in this major work by the acclaimed author of Crash Course: The American Automobile Industry's Road from Glory to Disaster.One of the nation's most eloquent and impassioned car nuts, Paul Ingrassia offers a wondrous epic in fifteen automobiles, including the VW Beetle, the Chevy Corvair, Robert McNamara and Lee Iacocca's Mustang, the Pontiac GTO, Honda's Accord, the BMW 3 Series, and the Jeep, among others. Through them, the author shows us much more than the car's ability to exhibit the particularly American tension between the lure of freedom and the obligations of utility; he takes us through the rise of American manufacturing, the suburbanization of the country, the birth of the Hippy and the Yuppy, the emancipation of women, and so much more, including the car's unintended consequences: trial lawyers, energy crises, and pollution. Narrative history of the highest caliber, Engines of Change is an entirely edifying new way to look at the American story.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Tantor Media Inc
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Published on
May 1, 2012
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Duration
12h 30m 0s
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ISBN
9781452677354
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Language
English
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Genres
History / General
History / United States / 20th Century
Technology & Engineering / Automotive
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Eligible for Family Library

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This is the epic saga of the American automobile industry's rise and demise, a compelling story of hubris, denial, missed opportunities, and self-inflicted wounds that culminates with the president of the United States ushering two of Detroit's Big Three car companies-once proud symbols of prosperity-through bankruptcy. The cost to American taxpayers topped $100 billion-enough to buy every car and truck sold in America in the first half of 2009. With unprecedented access, Pulitzer Prize winner Paul Ingrassia takes us from factory floors to small-town dealerships to Detroit's boardrooms to the inner sanctums of the White House. He reveals why President Barack Obama personally decided to save Chrysler when many of his advisors opposed the idea. Ingrassia provides the dramatic story behind Obama's dismissal of General Motors CEO Rick Wagoner and the angry reaction from GM's board-the same people who had watched idly while the company plunged into penury. In Crash Course, Ingrassia answers the big questions: Was Detroit's self-destruction inevitable? What were the key turning points? Why did Japanese automakers manage American workers better than the American companies themselves did? Ingrassia also describes dysfunctional corporate cultures (even as GM's market share plunged, the company continued business as usual) and Detroit's perverse system of "inverse layoffs" (which allowed union members to invoke seniority to avoid work). Along the way we meet Detroit's frustrated reformers and witness the wrenching decisions that Ford executives had to make to avoid GM's fate. Informed by Ingrassia's twenty-five years of experience covering the auto industry for the Wall Street Journal, and showing an appreciation for Detroit's profound influence on our country's society and culture, Crash Course is a uniquely American and deeply instructive story, one not to be missed.
This is the epic saga of the American automobile industry's rise and demise, a compelling story of hubris, denial, missed opportunities, and self-inflicted wounds that culminates with the president of the United States ushering two of Detroit's Big Three car companies-once proud symbols of prosperity-through bankruptcy. The cost to American taxpayers topped $100 billion-enough to buy every car and truck sold in America in the first half of 2009. With unprecedented access, Pulitzer Prize winner Paul Ingrassia takes us from factory floors to small-town dealerships to Detroit's boardrooms to the inner sanctums of the White House. He reveals why President Barack Obama personally decided to save Chrysler when many of his advisors opposed the idea. Ingrassia provides the dramatic story behind Obama's dismissal of General Motors CEO Rick Wagoner and the angry reaction from GM's board-the same people who had watched idly while the company plunged into penury. In Crash Course, Ingrassia answers the big questions: Was Detroit's self-destruction inevitable? What were the key turning points? Why did Japanese automakers manage American workers better than the American companies themselves did? Ingrassia also describes dysfunctional corporate cultures (even as GM's market share plunged, the company continued business as usual) and Detroit's perverse system of "inverse layoffs" (which allowed union members to invoke seniority to avoid work). Along the way we meet Detroit's frustrated reformers and witness the wrenching decisions that Ford executives had to make to avoid GM's fate. Informed by Ingrassia's twenty-five years of experience covering the auto industry for the Wall Street Journal, and showing an appreciation for Detroit's profound influence on our country's society and culture, Crash Course is a uniquely American and deeply instructive story, one not to be missed.
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The Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of Garbology explores the hidden and costly wonders of our buy-it-now, get-it-today world of transportation, revealing the surprising truths, mounting challenges, and logistical magic behind every trip we take and every click we make.

Transportation dominates our daily existence. Thousands, even millions, of miles are embedded in everything we do and touch. We live in a door-to-door universe that works so well most Americans are scarcely aware of it. The grand ballet in which we move ourselves and our stuff is equivalent to building the Great Pyramid, the Hoover Dam, and the Empire State Building all in a day. Every day. And yet, in the one highly visible part of the transportation world—the part we drive—we suffer grinding commutes, a violent death every fifteen minutes, a dire injury every twelve seconds, and crumbling infrastructure.

Now, the way we move ourselves and our stuff is on the brink of great change, as a new mobility revolution upends the car culture that, for better and worse, built modern America. This unfolding revolution will disrupt lives and global trade, transforming our commutes, our vehicles, our cities, our jobs, and every aspect of culture, commerce, and the environment. We are, quite literally, at a fork in the road, though whether it will lead us to Carmageddon or Carmaheaven has yet to be determined.

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Door to Door is a fascinating detective story, investigating the worldwide cast of supporting characters and technologies that have enabled us to move from here to there—past, present, and future.

Worlds collide in this true story of weather control in the cold war era and the making of Kurt Vonnegut. In the mid-1950s, Kurt Vonnegut takes a job in the PR department at General Electric in Schenectady, where his older brother, Bernard, is a leading scientist in its research lab or House of Magic. Kurt has ambitions as a novelist, and Bernard is working on a series of cutting-edge weather-control experiments meant to make deserts bloom and farmers flourish. While Kurt writes zippy press releases, Bernard builds silver-iodide generators and attacks clouds with dry ice. His experiments attract the attention of the government; weather proved and decisive factor in World War II, and if the military can control the clouds, fog, and snow, they can fly more bombing missions. Maybe weather will even be – as a headline in America Magazine calls it. The New Super Weapon. But when the army takes charge of his cloudseeding project (dubbed Project Cirrus), Bernard begins to have misgivings about the use of his inventions for harm, not to mention the evidence that they are causing alarming changes in the atmosphere. In a fascinating cultural history, Ginger Strand chronicles the intersection of these brothers' lives at a time when the possibilities of science seemed infinite. As the Cold War looms, Bernards struggle for integrity plays out in Kurts evolving writing style. The Brothers Vonnegut reveals how science ability to influence the natural world also influenced one of out most incentive novelists.
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