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Motoring: The Highway Experience in America 1st Edition

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0820330280
ISBN-10: 0820330280
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In their latest collaboration (after 2004's Lots of Parking: Land Use is a Car Culture), University of Illinois landscape architecture professor Jakle and Illinois Historic Preservation Agency researcher Sculle take a detailed look at the history of the American highway, and the cascade of commercial and sociological changes it precipitated. Providing a driver's-eye-view of "motoring," Jakle and Sculle follow the development of the modern road system, from the first "named" highways through federally-subsidized state departments, focusing on "tourist travel, the source of motoring's early exhilaration, which energized much of what came after, such as commuting and the journey to shop." They look also at attendant industries like repair shops and gas stations, fast-food restaurants and motels, amusement parks and fresh fruit stands that collectively make the roadside "a place of legendary recreation." Though equally thorough, subsequent chapters on truck culture and bus travel prove less engrossing; otherwise, a compelling read about America's fascination with the open road. 75 b&w photos.
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Review

"Transports the reader through the rough roads of early automobiling to the superhighways of today . . . An exquisite and informative journey." --Craig E. Colten, author of An Unnatural Metropolis
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 360 pages
  • Publisher: University of Georgia Press; 1 edition (February 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0820330280
  • ISBN-13: 978-0820330280
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,888,171 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Henry Berry on March 20, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Between 1994 and 2004, Jakle and Sculle coauthored five other books on the automobile and aspects of American culture. These were on gas stations, motels, roadside restaurants, parking as land usage, and roadside signs. In this newest book. they do not focus on a similar specific subject related to Americans attachment to automobiles. Rather, the theme of this work is the relatively amorphous highway experience they call "motoring"; a concept they "define as that experience by which drivers, machines, and highways become integrally linked. Content such as roadside scenery and objects, design of highways as conducing to dream fulfillment, and the growth of ubiquitous convenience stores connected to gas stations with plentiful associated illustrations evince that the authors drew on their previous books--so that this is something of a synthesis of them, "Motoring," however, has a limited critical dimension not found in the earlier works. "As the wisdom of America's passionate embrace of automobility has come into serious question" in light of urban sprawl, environmental deterioration, energy waste, and class and racial issues surfacing in recent years, "reassessing how American became so dependent on automobiles seems more important than ever." To the extent they engage in criticism, Jakle and Sculle mostly point out excesses and heedlessness and occasionally silliness rather than engage in a fundamental critique of the automobile in the culture.

The book's eclectic content is also brought into the perspective of visual culture, a relatively new field which is being applied to many aspects of American culture. "The pleasure trip, as with all forms of auto trip taking, also came to privilege human visuality.
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Format: Paperback
"America really is different and in large part that's due to our love affair with the automobile and the open road. There are dozens of fascinating factoids in this journey - the first convenience store in 1927 in Dallas, the first motorized bus service in 1914 in Long Beach, California, the first toll road in 1908 in Long Island and a hundred others we don't need to know about what we see on the road every day. "
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