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Harley Earl and the Dream Machine

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  • Posted February 21, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Innacuracies, snideness and little else.

    How disappointed I was in this book, and its author. This is a large book, yet it has wide, unused margains, and contains very little in content. There are good photographs, but considering the vastness of Mr. Earls output with General Motors, and the photos are inadequate. There are errors in fact as well, that indicate a casual attitude toward research. However the worst offense is the very tone of the writing: snide, condescending, with a great greasy dollop of amatuer psychology. The writing is neither clever, nor witty, though the author obviously enjoys that misconception. This was not a tome on Harley Earl as much as some sort of weird hit piece on American design and culture. When I had finished this book, I had to wonder : Why would anyone write a book about something they so obviosly despise? Allow me to take the same tack and tone as the author: Mr. Bayley was born in Britian in 1951, and so grew up in a post war country that was still under reconstruction. The motorcars that he experienced in his youth were drab, ill designed and poorly engineered. Mr. Bayley probably saw a few American cars, and the contrast between these marvels and his own shoddy surroundings must have wounded him deeply. So Mr. Bayley, instead of aspiring to lift himself up, embarked on tearing others down. He became a critic, lecturer and author, giving us this book, and much to the distress of London, helping in the birthing process of it's most spectacular white elephant, The Millennium Dome. Of course his dislike of chrome, horsepower and American style might just be a reflection of his own, shall we say inadaquacies? But that would just be so much petty speculation. Just like this sad little book.

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