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Drive On!: A Social History of the Motor Car Paperback – August 1, 2004


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 406 pages
  • Publisher: Granta UK (August 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1862076987
  • ISBN-13: 978-1862076983
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 6 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,129,953 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Drive On! enthusiastically tosses tactoids, anecdotes, musings, and statements into a swift blast that effectively places automotive development.” -- Choice

“Compelling reading from start to finish. Each chapter is awash with opinion, fact, and above all, a fresh perspective… remarkable.” -- Classic Car Weekly

“This book draws together Setright’s elegant writing with the remarkable story of the development of the car.” -- The Times --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Publisher

Stimulating, informative, provocative, and witty, Drive On! charts the international history of the car, decade by decade, examining how cars have adapted as a result of what society has demanded of them. While some chapters are devoted to quirky topics like “Where to Stop” and “What to Wear,” others look at the technological changes of the last century, from wooden wheels to computer control. Along the way, L.J.K. Setright, who is considered one of the world’s foremost and most forthright writers on the subject, offers fascinating divagations on everything from the origins of the word “dashboard” to the maximum speed of a raindrop. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Greg N. Brown on August 18, 2005
Format: Hardcover
As an automotive journalist, I've read my share of histories of the motorcar, but none captured my interest like Setright's fresh look at the interaction between car and society. Instead of opining on how the car has impacted on society, he writes about how society has transformed automotive technology and styling over the last 100 years. Be prepared for strong opinions and a decidedly Eurocentric point of view, but also enjoy a tale of heroes and charlatans and some of the best writing ever on the subject. It's also beautifully illustrated, and the layout is worthy of the best coffee tables. Give it to someone who thinks he knows the subject and watch how he keeps telling you about interesting stuff he reads in this great book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Martin Berry on June 11, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Setright's book is a must read, not only for car enthusiasts, but also for anyone interested in the social history of the last 150 years. It is full of wit and insight, and is vastly entertaining and enlightening. This hardbook version stimulated me to read it all over again. It is every bit as good as I remembered it.

I have only one gripe. It was described as the illustrated edition, but has no more pictures in it than the paper back version I purchased a couple of years ago.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Get one of these fast, the price is going out of sight. This is about where we were before cars and the changes brought about by their proliferation. Setright talks about English horse-drawn carriages arriving at their stops with passengers dead from the cold, the short lifespan of industrial workers, and the changes in manufacture and technology, and spins a great story that can be read chapter-by-chapter if you like. Probably the best of a great author's books.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Raymond Jepson on December 8, 2004
Format: Paperback
The good: Setright will teach most people more about cars and technology in this book, than one could learn from reading 100 others. He uses his unique skill to focus on what is truly important technology and to ignore the waste.
Setright's many opinions are worth as much as his technical details are. His impressions of things like all wheel steering and automatic transmissions are a true breath of fresh air.
The bad: Those who have read Setright will know his writing is top notch. This book though is sometimes repetitive and disorganized. It feels like he may have tried to be too broad for once.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kevin L. Martin on June 4, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Back in the day, maybe it was the 1970s or '80s, Car and Driver magazine published Setright as a monthly columnist. I found him to be an insufferable pedantic bore. But a couple of years ago, I read some comments by other automotive writers that indicated that Setright may have had some points worth considering. So I bought Drive On. I was right the first time, the guy was (he has since passed) an insufferable dick. If you are a fan of driving railroad spikes into your skull, this book's for you.
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