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Drive: A Road Trip through our Affair with the Automobile [Hardcover]

Tim Falconer
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

May 6 2008 0670065692 978-0670065691 First Edition

Liberation, lust, envy, rage, power, thrill—our cars provoke enough emotion to jam a six-lane highway.

If you name your ride, reminisce about sex in the back seat or enjoy roaring down the open road, you know why we love our wheels. But if you hate traffic, curse at the price at the pump or fight over parking spaces, you know why we hate them too.

Drive is a cross-continent adventure that explores where our fuel-injected dreams have taken us. Award-winning journalist Tim Falconer invites us on his road trip as he meets vintage car enthusiasts on Route 66, rides along in a police cruiser, kicks the tires at a Las Vegas auto show and takes a hydrogen-powered car for a spin.

Steering us along North America's interstates and blue highways, meandering through small towns, sprawling suburbs and walkable neighbourhoods, Falconer shows us the growing collision of cars and people. In this complicated affair, who's really in the driver's seat?

Can smart growth, public transit and complete streets free us?

A spirited, front-seat view of quirky locals and locales, Drive looks at what auto-dominated life means to our health, environment and communities. Falconer also opens the door on British and Argentine car cultures, and considers the road ahead for China and India, nations with increasingly American attitudes. As billions grab their keys, can we avoid carmageddon?


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Review

"Essential reading for any Canadian intrigued by the conundrum of finding better ways to get from here to there." -- Spacing magazine

"[A] fascinating survey of the automobile and its effect on society … A fun book about a serious topic." -- Winnipeg Free Press

Review

"Essential reading for any Canadian intrigued by the conundrum of finding better ways to get from here to there."

Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
By Alex H
Format:Hardcover
I'm one of those big-city dwellers who doesn't even own a car, but loves long road trips. So my first interest in this book was just to tag along vicariously on someone else's road trip. But there was a lot more there -- tons of research on all the ways cars affect us, both positively and negatively. The weaving together of those two threads was very smoothly done. In the end, my favourite part of the physical trip was the great description of the drive along the old Route 66 (which I've done myself). And my favourite part of analysis was the meeting with Donald Shoup, the UCLA researcher who studies the effect of free parking in cities.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Road Trip Worth Taking June 5 2008
Format:Hardcover
Who among us isn't interested in cars? We all either love them or hate them, and most of us, like it or not, use them. (Whether we own a vehicle, rent one, take taxis or traverse the roads in public transit, we're driving -- or being driven -- somewhere in something.) In Tim Falconer's Drive: A Road Trip Through our Complicated Affair with the Automobile, I loved the unexpected details. A proven relationship between obesity and too-low gas prices in the U.S. (It's so cheap, everyone merrily drives. When prices rise, people reluctantly use their cars less. So pathetically obvious I didn't imagine it to be true.) Or the similarly sad reality that as technology makes cars safer, drivers become more careless and as roads get more crowded, drivers get more aggressive. The book is filled with marvelous ephemera -- a lovely riff on the glorious old Blue Swallow Motel in Tucumcari, for example, where each room has its own garage, and a de rigeur visit to a classic drive-in. (You'd think they would be extinct, but they aren't... quite.) Well-researched and nicely-written, reading Drive is like taking a cross-country trip with a particularly chatty and knowledgeable companion at the wheel.
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