The Automobile and American Life, 2d ed.

The Automobile and American Life, 2d ed.

by John Heitmann


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781476669359
Publisher: McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers
Publication date: 08/26/2018
Pages: 291
Sales rank: 518,147
Product dimensions: 7.00(w) x 10.00(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

John Heitmann is a professor at the University of Dayton, where he teaches courses in the history of science and technology.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi

Preface to the Second Edition 1

Introduction: The Automobile, Its History and Influence, and Some Contradictions 3

1—Beginnings: From a Mechanical Curiosity to a Plaything for the ­Well-to-Do 11

European by Birth, American by Adoption 11

Technological Antecedents—The Bicycle 13

Compact Power: The Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) 16

Choices Made: Competition from Steam Engines and Electric Motors 18

American Pioneers 21

Organization as Power 23

The Automobile for Better or Worse? 25

Music Galore 29

The Mechanical Arts and the Coming of the Machine Age 30

The Quest for Speed 32

2—The Inscrutable Henry Ford and the Rise of the Machine Age 35

From a Dearborn Farm to the World Stage 36

Frederick Winslow Taylor and “One Best Way” 39

The Genesis of Mass Production at Highland Park 40

The Flivver King 46

The Model T: What a Car! 48

World War I: War Without End 50

Later Years: Hero or ­Anti-Hero? 51

Early Economy Runs and the Gilmore Years, 1906–1941 52

Industrial America: The “Carnival of Speed” and the Indianapolis 500 53

3—The Rise of the Competition and the Consumer During the 1920s 55

“Billy” Durant and “Silent” Sloan 55

Kettering, Earl and “Keeping the Customer Dissatisfied” 58

The City of the Future and Dynamic Dayton of the 1930s 65

The Last of the Big Three: The Chrysler Corporation 66

The Independents 70

Innovation at the Periphery: The Cracker Jacker, Rickenbacker 71

The Jordan and Advertising the Dream 72

4—From Mud to the Open Road 75

Which Came First: Good Roads or the Automobile? 75

The Good Roads Movement 76

A Transcontinental Link: The Lincoln Highway 78

Federal Legislation and the Gas Tax 79

Two Lane Black Top, or Concrete If There Is Money 79

Auto Camping and “Gypsying” Across America 82

Fill’er Up 83

Road Food 86

Divided Highways, Parkways, and Expressways 87

5—Religion, Courtship, Sex, and Women Drivers 91

An Answer to Prayer or Something to Pray About? 91

Sex in the Back Seat 95

Those Women Drivers! 98

Cars as Homes 100

6—The Interwar Years: The Great Depression, Aerodynamics, and Cars of the Olympian Age 105

Olympian Automobiles of the 1930s 106

Streamlining and the Chrysler “Airflop” 111

Sitdown, the Coming of the United Auto Workers, and the Battle of the Overpass 114

The Poetic Response to the Automobile 117

Singing the Blues About Automobiles and Life 118

Filming on the Race Track and Soundstage 121

7—World War II and the Reconversion Economy: No Time for Sergeants or Aspiring Automobile Manufacturers 122

“Little Bo Peep Has Lost Her Jeep…” 124

Wartime Labor: Sacrifices and Selfishness 127

The Black Market: “Chiseled Gas” 131

The Reconversion Economy and a Man’s Dream 133

 8—The Golden Age of the Automobile: The 1950s in America 137

The Automobile and Civil Rights 140

Hot Rod 142

Sports Cars on American Tracks, and The Red Car 146

Some Critics Surface: Safety and the Environment 149

Dealers, Good and Bad 151

The UAW, the Big Three, and Pattern Bargaining 154

The Cars of the Golden Era 156

The 1958 Recession and European Competition 158

The Volkswagen Bug 159

Cars and Rock and Roll 160

Film: The Rebels 163

A Night at the ­Drive-In 165

On the Road 165

The Coming of the Interstates 166

Summing Up the Glorious 1950s 167

 9—The ­Go-Go Years, 1959–1970 169

The Microbus, Cars, and the Hippies 169

The Cadillac and the Establishment 172

An Age of Ambivalence 174

Ralph Nader and Unsafe at Any Speed 175

Government Regulation: Safety and the Environment 178

From a Brief Affair with Economy Vehicles to the Emergence of the Muscle Car 179

California Dreaming 184

James Bond, Steve McQueen, and the Action Thriller 184

Summing Up the Sixties 187

10—America and the Automobile During the 1970s 188

Introduction: A Decade Often Forgotten, Rarely Celebrated, Yet Certainly Pivotal 188

“We Can’t Fail”: The Gremlin, Vega, and Pinto 189

A Fresh Wind from Foreign Shores 191

The Early 1970s: Structural Shortcomings 192

Harry Crews and the “White Trash” in His Novel Car 193

On the Eve of Oil Shock: Auto Culture During the Summer and Fall of 1973 194

Oil Shock I 196

Japanese Cars Come in a Big Way to America 197

The New Automotive Technologies of the 1970s 199

Fasten Your Seat Belt; Watch Your Speed! 201

Mobile Lovemaking 202

Wither the Automobile? 203

11—The Automobile World Upside Down, 1980–2015 204

Oil Shock II, the Big Three, and Japan 205

Oil Shock Shockwaves: Chrysler and American Motors Corporation 205

The Automobile and Contemporary Art 208

The UAW in Retreat 209

Rivethead and the Quality Cat 209

Trucks, Sport Utility Vehicles, and Crossovers 212

The Car Hobby: Car Crazy 214

The Fast and Furious: Thank God for Fast Cars 216

Cars and Crime: The ­Drive-By 217

NASCAR Nation 218

Saturn, NUMMI, Chrysler, and Germans in the New South 220

New Technologies 224

Automobiles, Women, Eros, and Film 226

Poetry, Women, and Passion 228

The Great Recession, the GM and Chrysler Bankruptcies of 2007–2009, and Recovery 232

A New Global Order: China, the Largest Market for Automobiles in the World 233

Where Does the Automobile in American Life Go from Here? 234

Epilogue: The Automobile and One American Life 236

Chapter Notes 239

Select Bibliography 263

Index 273

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