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Motor City Paperback – November, 1993

4.1 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Morris's ingenious and diverting novel of the automobile industry of the 1950s is a collage of pop-cultural referents and icons.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

General Motors general manager Ted Mackey plans to make 1954 the year he moves Buick into third place in automotive popularity. His campaign includes espionage, media manipulation, and dealer pressure, but when the 500,000th Buick rolls off the assembly line into the driveway of a crippled vet, Ted's wunderkind status will be assured. The author, a columnist for the Greensboro (N.C.) News and Record , illustrates the era's vitality with such cultural milestones as Elvis's first record and Ray Kroc's discovery of McDonald's hamburgers, but also notes the down side of this progress-driven society: gas-guzzling cars, overindulgence in alcohol and tobacco, the threat of The Bomb. From the inaugural 1954 Buick Century commercial on the New Year's Day Rose Bowl telecast to the Levittown delivery by Neal Cassady and Jack Kerouac of the 500,000th car sold, this first novel takes a joyride through the social and cultural landscape of America. Motor City is highly recommended for all libraries. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 2/1/92.
- Dan Bogey, Clearfield Cty. P.L. Federation, Curwensville, Pa.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 337 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Books; First Paperback Edition edition (November 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671868136
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671868130
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 5.2 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,571,292 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Eight years ago I was lucky enough to chance upon a novel called 'Biography Of A Buick' by a writer called Bill Morris, published in England by Penguin Books. I found myself absolutely enthralled by the book and recomended it to friends and family - I also bought several copies for friends who were too lazy to take up my recomendation. It took me about another five years to discover that the book was originally released in the USA under the title 'Motor City' and another couple still to track down a copy of the subsequent novel 'All Souls Day', which I am currently reading. 'Motor City' has stayed in my mind for the best part of a decade - and a book has to be pretty special to create that kind of impact on a reader! I can only think that the critical review below must been written by someone who was reading a completely different book! And as America is a pretty small place, if you're reading this Bill, let me know when your next book is out!
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Format: Hardcover
Highly entertaining account of the lives of about a dozen persons (loosely) connected to the Buick division of General Motors in Detroit during 1954. Then, everything was just fine with low inflation, high employment and a 50 dollar down payment to secure a 1954 Buick Century. Career prospects and a 80 dollar deposit made one owner of a brand-new home. BM describes Detroit as an industrial powerhouse with GM at its centre, the biggest company of the world, and as a metropolis attracting talent from everywhere: after Warsaw the city with the highest number of Polish people. Migrants from the South manned its factories and defined its music, later to be fused into the ‘Motown’ brand.
BM has spruced up his intrigues, betrayals and ambitions of the main protagonists with numerous cameo roles of famous or up and coming writers, musicians, movie stars, politicians, etc. This works well with e.g. Jack Kerouac and Neil Cassidy, famous from “On the Road”, helping out Buick with a logistics snag, driving a brand-new 1954 Century nonstop from Detroit to Manhattan. Another cameo is Ray Kroc, who made McDonalds big and is shown how he became a Buick fan. But other cameos fail to convince, like Buick trying to contract Marilyn Monroe for an ad campaign, or are plain offensive, such as Morris’ portrayal of author Vladimir Nabokov.
The main characters are for readers to enjoy. All make fateful decisions in 1954, some on impulse, others in a calculating manner and a few loose ends remain at the end of the book.
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Format: Paperback
Do not be discouraged by the one critical review on this page... just one person's opinion. Motor City is the real thing, a solid piece of fiction that has been translated into both German and Italian, where folks know and love their cars. Morris really knows his subject. He owned the very car pictured on the cover, and he has first hand knowledge of the workings of Detroit during this era. He is a serious researcher of his subject. They say, "write what you know," and he did.

Besides that, the story is enormously entertaining. And, after all, Motor City got excellent reviews in the New York Times and the Washington Post when it first came out.
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Format: Paperback
Bill Morris is a funny guy, and this romp through a torrid love affair set in the auto design department of Buick during the mid 1950s is as sleek and bold as a Dagmar bumper guard. Published in England by Penguin Books as 'Biography Of A Buick', the book veers, skids and accelerates through a name checked pantheon of the period's hot and cool icons before bearing down on the beast inside the machine back in Detroit. Back then they made cars fast and sexy, so beat it on down the line and get a copy of 'Motor City' to get fast and sexy your own self!
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