Auto Mania: Cars, Consumers, and the Environment

Auto Mania: Cars, Consumers, and the Environment

by Tom McCarthy
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0300110383

ISBN-13: 9780300110388

Pub. Date: 10/24/2007

Publisher: Yale University Press

The twentieth-century American experience with the automobile has much to tell us about the relationship between consumer capitalism and the environment, Tom McCarthy contends. In Auto Mania he presents the first environmental history of the automobile that shows how consumer desire (and manufacturer decisions) created impacts across the product

Overview

The twentieth-century American experience with the automobile has much to tell us about the relationship between consumer capitalism and the environment, Tom McCarthy contends. In Auto Mania he presents the first environmental history of the automobile that shows how consumer desire (and manufacturer decisions) created impacts across the product lifecycle—from raw material extraction to manufacturing to consumer use to disposal.

From the provocative public antics of young millionaires who owned the first cars early in the twentieth century to the SUV craze of the 1990s, Auto Mania explores developments that touched the environment. Along the way McCarthy examines how Henry Ford’s fetish for waste reduction tempered the environmental impacts of Model T mass production; how Elvis Presley’s widely shared postwar desire for Cadillacs made matters worse; how the 1970s energy crisis hurt small cars; and why baby boomers ignored worries about global warming.

McCarthy shows that problems were recognized early. The difficulty was addressing them, a matter less of doing scientific research and educating the public than implementing solutions through America’s market economy and democratic government. Consumer and producer interests have rarely aligned in helpful ways, and automakers and consumers have made powerful opponents of regulation. The result has been a mixed record of environmental reform with troubling prospects for the future.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780300110388
Publisher:
Yale University Press
Publication date:
10/24/2007
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
368
Product dimensions:
6.13(w) x 9.25(h) x 1.00(d)

Related Subjects

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction: The Great Experiment xiii

1 The Arrogance of Wealth 1

2 Foresight and Emotion 16

3 A Monstrously Big Thing 30

4 An Industrial Epic 55

5 The Death and Afterlife of Automobiles 77

6 Cadillacs and Community 99

7 Disenchanted with Detroit 130

8 If We Can Put a Man on the Moon 148

9 The One Who Got It 176

10 Out of My Dead Hands 193

11 Small Was Beautiful 207

12 The Riddle of the Sport Utility Vehicle 231

Epilogue 253

Notes 267

Index 333

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