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Eat My Dust: Early Women Motorists [NOOK Book]

Overview

The history of the automobile would be incomplete without considering the influence of the car on the lives and careers of women in the earliest decades of the twentieth century. Illuminating the relationship between women and cars with case studies from across the globe, Eat My Dust challenges the received wisdom that men embraced automobile technology more naturally than did women.

Georgine Clarsen highlights the personal stories of women from the United States, Britain, ...

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Eat My Dust: Early Women Motorists

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Overview

The history of the automobile would be incomplete without considering the influence of the car on the lives and careers of women in the earliest decades of the twentieth century. Illuminating the relationship between women and cars with case studies from across the globe, Eat My Dust challenges the received wisdom that men embraced automobile technology more naturally than did women.

Georgine Clarsen highlights the personal stories of women from the United States, Britain, Australia, and colonial Africa from the early days of motoring until 1930. She notes the different ways in which these women embraced automobile technology in their national and cultural context. As mechanics and taxi drivers—like Australian Alice Anderson and Brit Sheila O'Neil—and long-distance adventurers and political activists—like South Africans Margaret Belcher and Ellen Budgell and American suffragist Sara Bard Field—women sought to define the technology in their own terms and according to their own needs. They challenged traditional notions of femininity through their love of cars and proved they were articulate, confident, and mechanically savvy motorists in their own right.

More than new chapters in automobile history, these stories locate women motorists within twentieth-century debates about class, gender, sexuality, race, and nation.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

This wonderfully intriguing book examines the relationship between women and cars from the late 1880s through the years following World War I. Clarsen (history & politics, Univ. of Wollongong, Australia) uses what she calls a "transnational" approach, bringing the stories of women from the United States, Britain, Australia, and colonial Africa to bear as she talks about the often ironic fact that, despite their embrace of cars in everyday life (and, notably, the important role women and cars played in times of extremis like war) and their skills as knowledgeable mechanics able to repair their own vehicles, the "very term woman motorist indicated that they were supplementary to the main game." The history of feminism, technology, class, and consumerism all figure in this nicely illustrated book, which includes a fine "Essay on Sources" that reflects Clarsen's scholarship. Some readers may find her language slightly old-fashioned, but most will probably find her discussions of misperceptions about "wealthy motor girls," "social frippery," and "female automobility" colorful and descriptive. Highly recommended for academic and special libraries.
—Ellen Gilbert

American Historical Review
Presents an excellent case study of the ways in which new technologies take on gendered meanings in the process of their social integration... Highly readable book.

— Anne Clendinning

Reviews in History
Georgine Clarsen has produced a fascinating account of women motorists in the first three decades of the automobile age. Her crisp and elegant prose takes the reader on a speedy trip over a wide range of terrain, indicating the importance of the car in the cultural politics of the early 20th century.

— Sean O'Connell

Academia
This is an extremely interesting book in that it provides the reader with a different perspective on the automobile age and what it meant to women as well as society as a whole... A must-have book for anyone interested in women's history. The photographs of various women traveling or involved in mechanical work are a great addition as well. It is a fascinating look at the way that cars freed many women and started us on the path to greater 'mechanical' equality with men.

— Marcia A. Lusted

Technology and Culture
Eat My Dust stands as an impressive account of women's engagement with numerous aspects of automobile culture and thus with the ways that technology shapes and is shaped by concerns of gender, race, and the body.

— Deborah Clarke

Choice

This study holds great value, helping readers to appreciate the rich history of women's involvement in things mechanical.

Cruise-in.com
For anyone wanting to fully understand early automotive history, this book is a necessary read.

— Dennis E. Horvath

Academia - Marcia A. Lusted
This is an extremely interesting book in that it provides the reader with a different perspective on the automobile age and what it meant to women as well as society as a whole... A must-have book for anyone interested in women's history. The photographs of various women traveling or involved in mechanical work are a great addition as well. It is a fascinating look at the way that cars freed many women and started us on the path to greater 'mechanical' equality with men.
Reviews in History - Sean O'Connell
Georgine Clarsen has produced a fascinating account of women motorists in the first three decades of the automobile age. Her crisp and elegant prose takes the reader on a speedy trip over a wide range of terrain, indicating the importance of the car in the cultural politics of the early 20th century.
American Historical Review - Anne Clendinning
Presents an excellent case study of the ways in which new technologies take on gendered meanings in the process of their social integration... Highly readable book.
Cruise-in.com - Dennis E. Horvath
For anyone wanting to fully understand early automotive history, this book is a necessary read.
Technology and Culture - Deborah Clarke
Eat My Dust stands as an impressive account of women's engagement with numerous aspects of automobile culture and thus with the ways that technology shapes and is shaped by concerns of gender, race, and the body.
Choice
This study holds great value, helping readers to appreciate the rich history of women's involvement in things mechanical.
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Georgine Clarsen is a senior lecturer in the School of History and Politics at the University of Wollongong.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1

1 Movement in a Minor Key: Dilemmas of the Woman Motorist 12

2 A War Product: The British Motoring Girl and Her Garage 30

3 A Car Made by English Ladies for Others of Their Sex: The Feminist Factory and the Lady's Car 46

4 Transcontinental Travel: The Politics of Automobile Consumption in the United States 64

5 Campaigns on Wheels: American Automobiles and a Suffrage of Consumption 86

6 "The Woman Who Does": A Melbourne Women's Motor Garage 104

7 Driving Australian Modernity: Conquering Australia by Car 120

8 Machines as the Measure of Women: Cape-to-Cairo by Automobile 140

Notes 169

Essay on Sources 179

Index 189

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