Rollin’ Through the Years
ENGINES OF CHANGE:
A History of the American Dream in Fifteen Cars.
By Paul Ingrassia.
Simon & Schuster. 416 pp. $30
“The sun is mirrored even in a coffee spoon,” declared Siegfried Giedion, the great historian of technology and champion of modernism. He believed that studying the artifacts of ordinary life could reveal at least as much about the past as the analysis of kings and wars. This school of history has given us such diverting books as A History of the World in Six Glasses (2005), in which journalist Tom Standage considers the cultural importance of beer and wine, and British Museum director Neil MacGregor’s A History of the World in 100 Objects (2011).
Now Paul Ingrassia finds the sun shining in hubcaps. In Engines of Change: A History of the American Dream in Fifteen Cars, he examines “the automobiles that have influenced how we live and think as Americans.”
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Phil Patton, the author of numerous books, writes about automobiles and design for The New York Times and teaches in the design criticism program at the School of Visual Arts in New York.more from this author >>
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