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The Automobile and American Culture

Subjects: Cultural Studies, History, American History
Paperback : 9780472080441, 440 pages, 42 photographs, 6 x 9, October 1983
Ebook : 9780472125999, 440 pages, 42 photographs, 6 x 9, November 2021
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Looks at the impact of the automobile on American folkways

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I. The First Decade
Why Michigan? by John B. Rae     1
My Seven Years of Automotive Servitude by Charles Madison     10
The Automobile and the City by Mark S. Foster     24
The Early Automobile and the American Farmer by Reynold M. Wilk     37
The Automobile and American Fashion, 1900-1930 by Helen Frye     48
The Great White Hope on Wheels by Michael L. Berger     59
Images of the Early Car     71
Vanishing Americana by William S. Doxey     79

II. The Transformation of America
The Road to Autopia: The Automobile and the Spatial Transformation of American Culture by Joseph Interrante     89
Commercialized Nostalgia: The Origins of the Roadside Strip by Warren Belasco     105
Sex and the Automobile: From Rumble Seats to Rockin' Vans by David L. Lewis     123
Something of Love by Robley Wilson, Jr.     134
"Woman's Place" in American Car Culture by Charles L. Sanford     137
Not from the Back Seat by Lydia Simmons     153
Moving Backward by Robert M. Lienert     159
The Automobile and the Transformation of the American House, 1910-1935 by Folke T. Kihlstedt     160
The True Mall by John Hildebidle     176

III. The Mirror of Art
A Runaway Match: The Automobile in the American Film, 1900-1920 by Julian Smith     179
Cars and Films in American Culture, 1929-1959 by Kenneth Hey     193
The Image of the Automobile in American Art by Gerald D. Silk     206
Joyce Carol Oates     22
The Automobile and American Poetry by Laurence Goldstein     224
Versions of Eden: The Automobile and the American Novel by David Laird     244
CB: An Inquiry into a Novel State of Communication by Jon T. Powell     257
Motivatin' with Chuck Berry and Frederick Jackson Turner by Warren Belasco     262

IV. Dream Machines or American Nightmare?
Bel Air: The Automobile as Art Object by Daniel L. Guillory     280
As Animals by Kathleen Spivack     290
Love at Second Sight by William E. Giles     292
Sweet Chariot by Steven Dimeo     295
The Heydey of the Car Culture     307
Cruising with Donny on the San Leandro Strip by Fred Setterberg     315
Rock and Roll by Sibyl James     324
GM Tech Center by John R. Reed     326
Crashworthiness as a Cultural Ideal by Paul W. Gikas     327
Death of a Commuter by Michael Beres     340
Our Off-Road Fantasy by Peter Steinhart     346

V. The Future
Our Romance with the Auto Is Over by Michael Barone     353
The Automobile Industry's Future Role in the Domestic and World Economy by David E. Cole and Lawrence T. Harbeck     356
The Obsolescent Auto by Catherine Marshall     371
Energy, Automobiles, and the Quality of Life by Stephen W. White     375
Notes from the Plague Planet by Sam Abrams     379
Filling Station by Edward Mortin     382
Star Wars Style and American Automobiles by Daniel L. Guillory     383

VI. Historiography
Some Milestones of Automotive Literature by Robert C. Ackerson     394
The Car Culture revisited: Some Comments on the Recent Historiography of Automotive History by James J. Flink     405
Contributors     419 


The Automobile and American Culture is the most comprehensive study of its subject ever published. Integrating scholarly and popular approaches, this anthology of essays, memoirs, fiction, poetry, and graphics describes the impact of one of this century's most fascinating inventions on American folkways. Now in its revised and expanded form, The Automobile and American Culture provides an even closer look at the past, present, and future of this country's automobile revolution. Here is described, among other subjects, the impact of the automobile on the city, the farm, the house, the arts, fashions, sex, youth and age, men and women---in sum, the modern psyche and modern society.