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Thinking Small: The Long, Strange Trip of the Volkswagen Beetle Hardcover – January 17, 2012
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"[Hiott] presents the history of the whimsical German automobile, unveiling an intricate saga that spans nearly 90 years and includes some of the most monumental shifts in politics, economics, and creativity in the past century...a surprisingly substantial and far-reaching chronicle of 'a car that belongs to the world.'" Publishers Weekly
"Hiott set out to find out how this modest car became a symbol of two antithetical ideas of utopia, one animated by racial hatred, the other by unconditional love...The story of its creators and champions is... an 'amalgamation of the larger shifts taking place in the world...'"-Michael Washburn, San Francisco Chronicle
"...rich and rewarding in its historical detail..." Brett Berk, Bloomberg Businessweek
"Hiott's account should appeal to history buffs, car enthusiasts and readers who delight in a fascinating story." -- Jerry Harkavy, Associated Press
Advance praise for Thinking Small
“I am definitely the kind of person who very much appreciates the difficulty and value of looking at something everyone is familiar with in a fresh, new way. Candidly, at first I had very little interest in this book because I am so familiar with the VW/Porsche story. But to my delight, as I looked through it I found a fascinating new perspective on the events. Also many untold stories, such as the beginnings of Doyle Dane Bernbach, the greatest advertising agency of all time. My congratulations to Ms. Hiott for a marvelous piece of work.”—Jerry Seinfeld, comedian
“Thinking Small is a delight—the improbable, wonderfully told tale of the Volkswagen Beetle, from its early days as Adolf Hitler’s dream car to the beloved symbol of freedom and fun for millions of Americans. With her impeccable research and deep understanding of German and U.S. history and culture, Andrea Hiott does a superb job of bringing to life both the snub-nosed little car and the large cast of colorful characters who designed it, then made it one of the most coveted consumer objects in the world.”—Lynne Olson, author of Citizens of London
“From Hitler’s Germany to Woodstock, selling matzos to selling cars, and urban architecture to automotive design, in Thinking Small, Andrea Hiott takes readers on a wise and crafty ride over a wide and twisting narrative terrain. It’s a journey that is deeply compelling, thought-provoking, and, not least, great fun.”—Howard Blum, New York Times bestselling author of The Floor of Heaven and American Lightning
From the Inside Flap
Sometimes achieving big things requires the ability to think strange.
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Top customer reviews
For the record, our very first car was a 1956 Beetle and we were so proud of it we nearly popped. At the time I was in the United States Navy and our home port was Norfolk, Virginia when we decided it was time to buy our first car. I cannot remember the factors that went into our selecting a 1956 VW but the price probably had a lot to do with it; as I recall it was somewhere around $1,800 total.
When I saw this book advertised I thought that it would be interesting in light of our history with the Beetle. I could tell a lot of stories about our adventures with that little car, especially when I got discharged and drove it back home to Texas. All I was really expecting was a story about the car but what I got was a comprehensive study of not only the car, but the men involved in its development and the times in which they lived. I was really excited by the opportunity to learn so much about the background that produced this car and found the book to be a serious page turner.
There is one thing for sure and that is the author was not thinking small when she developed her concept for the book; if one is looking for a review similar to an article in one of the contemporary auto magazines this is most assuredly not it. If, on the other hand, one has a broader interest in the car as it was developed in the context of the political, economic, and social environment this book does a wonderful job of filling in many important details that had a profound influence on its development and eventual production.
This book is beautifully tuned to the globalist, detail oriented mindset and I definitely fall into that category. If on the other hand you want to just get to the point and move on you may find this book loaded with too much tedious detail. As a Vine Voice, I received an "Advance Uncorrected Proofs" copy of the book; I have since ordered a final published edition to add to my permanent collection. That is the highest recommendation I can give it.
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