Carjacked: The Culture of the Automobile and Its Effect on Our Lives 0th Edition
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Praise for Carjacked:
"The authors capture the fantasy and reality of our love of cars.They hold up a mirror to we, 'the people,' to let us look at our individual and collective glamour and bloat. They ask, subtly and with a good amount of wit, if we know what we are doing to ourselves? You must read it to learn the answers, which might surprise you." - John Hofmeister, former president of Shell Oil, founder and CEO of Citizens for Affordable Energy and author of Why We Hate the Oil Companies
"Carjacked should be required reading for anyone with a driver's license. It lays out the ways that bigger, faster and more plentiful cars on the road have altered America in dramatic way, influencing foreign policy, infrastructure investment, national health and personal wealth. If we wish to drive into a better future, rather than collide with it head on, it's time to address our addiction to the automobile - and this book is the perfect starting place." – Leigh Stringer, president of Advance Strategies and author of The Green Workplace
"Exceptionally well-researched and passionately, yet logically, argued, Carjacked will make you rethink your relationship not only with your car, but with the entire economic and physical infrastructure that has built up around it. While acknowledging our love of cars, it offers practical advice on how to ensure that the relationship is affordable, beneficial and sustainable, both for individuals and for society." – Cleo Paskal, Associate Fellow, Royal Institute of International Affairs and author of Global Warring
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Read this book second time. This book is filled with facts and a wealth of material. My critique above was a little harsh. I enjoyed reading Carjacked a second time.
Automobile culture is a complex thing
Where this rendition of car ills falls terribly short is in its surface-only coverage of major causes of our current car-related predicament, and its apparent apology for and/or acceptance of them. As 1 example, the authors deliberately focus on nipping and tucking our car dependence instead of taking dead aim at the whole suburban sprawl fiasco that is a true root cause of car ills and threatens now to bury us (economically). James Kunstler's writings much better address that behemoth head-on.
As another example, the authors mention how the auto and oil industries are major political forces that have behaved against the public interest again and again, but treat this only on the surface. The book does not delve into the sheer, surreal levels and layers of greed, corruption, arrogance and power abuse that chronicle those industries and comprise another true root cause of our car ills. When I took my new MBA into the U.S. car industry in 1979, I became the target of so many ethnic slurs that I finally left, but not before witnessing management's deeply held haughty contempt for labor and the buying public, as well as their contests to see which among them could hire the secretary with the largest breasts. Anything human or decent does not stand a chance to survive in such organizational cultures, and what they spew onto the unsuspecting public cannot be in our collective best interest.
Finally, the authors pander to the public's reluctance to change their own deeply held autophilia, instead of giving us badly needed warnings about the unsustainability of our car dependence. So all told, the scholarship behind this work is average, nothing more. It's an enjoyable read on a hot summer afternoon, but will not likely emerge as a definitive work over the years.