High Performance: The Culture and Technology of Drag Racing, 1950-2000

High Performance: The Culture and Technology of Drag Racing, 1950-2000

by Robert C. Post
     
 

High Performance is a dramatic, firsthand history of this daring sport, from the earliest "legal" drags run on rural airfields to the spectacular — and sometimes tragic — careers of drag racing's most daring innovators. Post, a former racer himself, was an eyewitness to many of the episodes he describes. He has interviewed many of drag racing's legends

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Overview

High Performance is a dramatic, firsthand history of this daring sport, from the earliest "legal" drags run on rural airfields to the spectacular — and sometimes tragic — careers of drag racing's most daring innovators. Post, a former racer himself, was an eyewitness to many of the episodes he describes. He has interviewed many of drag racing's legends and superstars, such as "Pappy" Hart, who opened the first commercial strip in Santa Ana, California, in 1950, and Florida's "Big Daddy" Don Garlits, the first person to define himself as a professional drag racer.

Post looks at all aspects of drag racing: the sport, the business, the means of personal affirmation. But most of all he explores it as a case study of technological enthusiasm, tracking the innovations that permitted racers to disprove on pavement the "laws of physics" authorities had laid out on paper. What emerges is a compelling look at the men and women who have devoted their lives to this extraordinary pursuit. In this revised edition, Post continues the story into the present, surveying the dynamics of the sport during the past decade.

Editorial Reviews

American Heritage
Engrossing . . . [Post] tells the whole story of drag racing and its colorful characters.
John Wilkes
As Post deftly guides the reader through four densely packed decades and his own cogent and persuasive analysis, his relish for the subject matter is unabashed. What's more, his prose is vigorous and tidy, and his research . . . is not likely to be surpassed. Staking out a technological fringe area, High Performance offers a truly memorable scholar-enthusiast's view of the bond uniting human beings and the machines they build. —Technology Review
Don Garlits
This book will be the Bible of drag racing for future generations.
Voice Literary Supplement
A junkie's confession for a culture addicted to speed and noise.
Journal of Popular Culture
All the roar and smell of rubber that one finds at drag races is present in this comprehensive study.
Frederic D. Schwarz
[Post] delves into [his] topic intensely, skillfully elucidating its connections with other areas of study. The resulting performance is high indeed. —Invention & Technology

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780801866647
Publisher:
Johns Hopkins University Press
Publication date:
05/28/2001
Series:
Johns Hopkins Studies in the History of Technology
Edition description:
Revised Edition
Pages:
452
Product dimensions:
7.00(w) x 9.96(h) x 1.19(d)

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

Robert C. Post is a professor of history at the University of Maryland, curator emeritus at the National Museum of American History, and past president of the Society for the History of Technology. He is the author or editor of more than a dozen books on the relationship between technology and culture, including Street Railways and the Growth of Los Angeles and The Tancook Whalers: Origins, Rediscovery, Revival.

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