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 Lawn

Overview

A New York Times bestselling author and America’s preeminent political satirist, P. J. O’Rourke also has another side to him—a gear-loose gearhead, automotive devotee, and terrifying driver. Son and grandson of car dealers in Ohio, P.J.’s family has been in the motor vehicle business since before there were motors in vehicles. And P.J. has been writing about cars—for Car and Driver, Automobile, Esquire, Forbes, and other publications—for what seems like almost as long. In this newly collected anthology of ...

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Driving Like Crazy: Thirty Years of Vehicular Hell-Bending, Celebrating America the Way It's Supposed To Be - With an Oi

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Overview

A New York Times bestselling author and America’s preeminent political satirist, P. J. O’Rourke also has another side to him—a gear-loose gearhead, automotive devotee, and terrifying driver. Son and grandson of car dealers in Ohio, P.J.’s family has been in the motor vehicle business since before there were motors in vehicles. And P.J. has been writing about cars—for Car and Driver, Automobile, Esquire, Forbes, and other publications—for what seems like almost as long. In this newly collected anthology of spiels-on-wheels, O’Rourke celebrates cars and berates car haters, and chronicles America’s relationship with automobiles from love for a powerful chariot of freedom to tolerance of an oversized household appliance with an extra-long extension cord. Driving Like Crazy brings together thirty-some years of journalistic cornering on two wheels, including the classic “How to Drive Fast on Drugs While Getting Your Wing-Wang Squeezed and Not Spill Your Drink.” And he’s written an appendix to that piece of sage advice for those who, like himself, are thirty years older now: “How to Do Ditto While the Drugs Are Mostly Lipitor.”

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Humorist P. J. O'Rourke has always been a sly, strong advocate of automobiles: "We're told cars are dangerous. It's safer to drive through South Central Los Angeles than to walk there. We're told cars are wasteful. Wasteful of what? Oil did a lot of good sitting in the ground for millions of years. We're told cars should be replaced by mass transportation. But it's hard to reach the drive-through window at McDonald's from a speeding train." His Driving Like Crazy is a grand compilation of his writings about dream cars, SUVs, family trips in station wagons, and naughty things one shouldn't do while driving. A classic smooth ride.
Jonathan Yardley
When O'Rourke is on his game, he's as funny a writer as we have now, and even though many of the tales with which he regales us are certifiable stretchers, what matters is that they're funny, not whether they're true. If they really were true, O'Rourke would have been dead at least a quarter-century ago, yet here he is now, at the astonishing age of 62, purring along a lot more smoothly than those Buicks of yore about which he writes with more or less equal measures of affection and exasperation
—The Washington Post
Neil Genzlinger
Yes, this book is a monument to slash-and-burn living, glorifying old cars whose miles-per-gallon ratings read like shoe sizes and indulgent off-road races conducted in fragile terrain. The thing is, you'll hardly hear the cries of the rare lizards and cactuses being ground to extinction under O'Rourke's tires because you'll be laughing too hard. Sure, he's personally responsible for the impending death of our race and planet, but at his best…the guy's hilarious.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly

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.
Library Journal

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
Kirkus Reviews
Hard-edged humorist O'Rourke (On the Wealth of Nations: Books That Changed the World, 2007, etc.) certifies his American manliness with a gathering of automotive reveries, most of them originally published in Esquire, Rolling Stone and Car and Driver. Certainly the funniest guy on the right side of the political road, the author begins with a youthful essay about "How to Drive Fast on Drugs While Getting Your Wing-Wang Squeezed and Not Spill Your Drink." That piece predates "Taking My Baby for a Ride," which regards the safe transportation of his children-in anything other than the cursed minivan, of course. O'Rourke also includes the requisite recollections of road trips, including a cross-country journey in a '56 Buick, already two decades old and cursed with vapor lock; and a few expeditions to Mexico likely to appeal only to like-minded car enthusiasts. The author presents an appreciation of Jeeps in everyday life in the Philippines; writes fondly about his discovery of NASCAR; and provides the obligatory fond memories of jalopies of yesteryear. For the most part, the waggish reporter eases up on his accustomed libertarian fun as he happily tools along in his Roadmaster, coasting along and sometimes going a little too light on the brakes. Ultimately, he proudly declares that his is a car guys' book. A joy ride for those who crave a Corvette Stingray or care about torque; others may want to get out at the next light.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781441885593
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio
  • Publication date: 10/5/2010
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged, 7 CDs, 8 hrs.
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.00 (h) x 1.50 (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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Sort by: Showing all of 17 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 13, 2009

    A funny man who knows and loves cars!

    P. J. O'Rourke republishes some of his best works of humor that involve owning, driving, crashing, and drinking in cars. Going back to his National Lampoon days, P. J. not only skirts the political-correctness line, he boozily dances back and forth across it. He writes the way we all wish we could speak in public. There are actually some real automotive industry history and commentary in between the laughs!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 31, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    P.J. O'Rourke is Crazy Like a Fox

    I've always been a big P.J. O'Rourke fan, and I enjoyed reading this compendium of automobile "crazy" articles. The only drawback is that some of the articles are 20 or more years old, so the cultural/social context is now lost in the faded memories of generation "What me worry?"

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 1, 2009

    Oh, for the 60's when cars had personality...and their drivers, too!

    Funny, a bit irreverant, maybe a bit exaggerated (car tales like fishing tales...), did I say facetious, and a bit influenced by his mentor - David E. Made me laugh.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 27, 2009

    Not P.J.'s best.

    A collection of various auto-related pieces from over the past 30 plus years with a few new comments and shorts added. I generally like O'Rourke's "smart ass" humor and found parts of this book to be LOL quality. But generally felt there were more valleys than hills on the humor rating scale. If you can buy used, or otherwise on the cheap, I would recommend it. Or of course, check it out from your public library before they are all closed.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2012

    The book was overall pretty good. The humor in it kept me intere

    The book was overall pretty good. The humor in it kept me interested. Since cars are not really my thing i might not have enjoyed it as much as somebody else. Or becasue of my lack of background knowlegde i could have enjoyed it more. The book outlines firslty why Americans love cars and secondly about the fading industry of American made cars. The author takes you through some of the stories in his life where he meets some of the strangest people ever, in some of the worst places to explore the relationship of automobiles to humans and also becasue thats just where luck would have him be found at.

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  • Posted November 11, 2009

    uninteresting

    This book has to be good for something. I just don't know what. The author tried to be funny and witty. He failed in both. Book needs to be rated as a waste of money

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2009

    Nice if you like his politics, otherwise mildly amusing

    Mr. O'Rourke has, or at least used to have, a devastating sense of humour and a quick way with a word. Some of his earlier material in this book, such as the Car & Driver road test in Mexico, is genuinely funny.

    However, Mr. O'Rourke's politics are extremely right leaning and his sense of humour when it comes to those who do not share his views veers more towards bitter and nasty and not sarcastic and funny. There are entire sections of this book in which he is nothing but a cheap political pundit, name calling in the best Fox News manner. In other parts of the book he comes off as a cheap Hunter S. Thompson impression, but without the "funny."

    Mr. Rourke's automotive exploits are interesting but his retelling of them is less than that.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 22, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    This is one for the trash bin.

    Boring stories compiled from former magazine articles. Most driving articles were based on his driving while stoned on drugs or booze. He should be dragged off to jail by MADD. Total waste of money and time. Threw it in the trash where it can be recycled into anything better.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 4, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Not as good as previous P.J.'s works

    This seems to be a compilation of articles from periodicals I read 20+ years ago. I suppose the younger crowd would find it funny, but I never even finished the book. It now resides on a shelf for someone else.

    P.J.......quit living the 60's and 70's (this coming from a 65 year old Vietnam vet).

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 20, 2009

    Crap

    Conglomeration of routine articles from auto and motorcycle magazines of 10-20 years ago. Includes all the jargon and crap that have ruined this genre' for most enthusiasts in the last few years.
    The stories and anecdotes are just as unbelievable as they were in the 70's.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted June 14, 2009

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