The New York Times
Driving Like Crazy: Thirty Years of Vehicular Hell-Bending Celebrating America the Way It's Supposed to Be - with an Oil Well in Every Backyard, a Cadillac Escalade in Every Carport, and the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Mowing Our Lawnby P. J. O'Rourke
Driving Like Crazy celebrates cars and author P. J. O’Rourke’s love for them, while chronicling the golden age of the automobile in America. O’Rourke takes us on a whirlwind tour of the world’s most scenic and bumpiest roads in trouble-laden cross-country treks, from a 1978 Florida-to-California escapade in a 1956 special four-door/i>… See more details below
Driving Like Crazy celebrates cars and author P. J. O’Rourke’s love for them, while chronicling the golden age of the automobile in America. O’Rourke takes us on a whirlwind tour of the world’s most scenic and bumpiest roads in trouble-laden cross-country treks, from a 1978 Florida-to-California escapade in a 1956 special four-door Buick sedan to a 1983 thousand-mile effort across Mexico in the Baja 1000 to a trek through Kyrgyzstan in 2006 on the back of a Soviet army surplus six-wheel-drive truck. For longtime fans of the celebrated humorist, the collection features a host of O’Rourke’s classic pieces on driving, including “How to Drive Fast on Drugs While Getting Your Wing-Wang Squeezed and Not Spill Your Drink,” about the potential misdeeds one might perform in the front (and back) seat of an automobile; “The Rolling Organ Donors Motorcycle Club,” which chronicles a seven-hundred-mile weekend trip through Michigan and Indiana that O’Rourke took on a Harley Davidson alongside Car & Driver publisher David E. Davis, Jr.; his brilliant and funny piece from Rolling Stone on NASCAR and its peculiar culture, recorded during an alcohol-fueled weekend in Charlotte, North Carolina, in 1977; and an hilarious account of a trek from Islamabad to Calcutta in Land Rover’s new Discovery Trek.
The New York Times
The Washington Post
Humorist O'Rourke shifts gears, covering and combining past pieces on cars (for Automobile, Car and Driver, Esquire and Forbes) with new material to set this auto anthology in motion. Much has been reworked "because the writing-how to put this gently to myself-sucked." Starting with car journalism language ("Drop the bottle and grab the throttle"), he steers the reader toward California cars: "Many automobiles were purchased to attract members of L.A.'s eight or ten opposite sexes." He writes about a variety of vehicles, from off-road racers to Philippine jeepneys ("a Willys cut in half and lengthened"). Accelerating the humor, he updates his 1979 account of a 700-mile weekend trip through Michigan and Indiana: "I can imagine what the farm girls and small town teen angels who looked so longingly at the Harley-Davidson FXE-80 Super Glide would have thought if I had been riding a Segway: 'dork.'A " His early essay "How to Drive Fast on Drugs While Getting Your Wing-wang Squeezed and Not Spill Your Drink" is followed by wild road trips, NASCAR nights and selecting "a new grocery hauler, parent trap, Keds sled, family bus." Never in neutral, O'Rourke offers laughter on wheels. (June)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
An original writer for the National Lampoon, O'Rourke (Peace Kills) knows a thing or two about satire. Here he collects material from the past 30 years as well as some new essays about the automobile. With the car industry under attack, both socially and economically, it is pleasing to read O'Rourke's trenchant analysis of all the good things the automobile has brought to American society, even as his tongue is firmly planted in cheek. He is an automobile lover whose work has appeared in Automobile magazine, Car and Driver, Esquire, and Forbes. If O'Rourke loves his SUV, thinks the auto executives are to blame for the current industry problems, and believes it is an American right to drive fast in gas-guzzling machines, then he is probably in the majority. VERDICT Much of this material will be new to casual readers and, to the rest, a reminder of a talented writer at work. A great book for summer reading; thumbing through it elicits a laugh at almost any point. [See Prepub Alert, LJ12/09.]Eric C. Shoaf, Univ. of Texas Lib. at San Antonio
Eric C. Shoaf
- Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
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- 5.56(w) x 8.38(h) x 0.79(d)
Meet the Author
P. J. O’Rourke is the author of twelve books, including Parliament of Whores and Give War a Chance, both of which were #1 New York Times best sellers. His most recent book is the best seller On the Wealth of Nations.
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