Alan Judd

Va Va Voom

The Life of the Automobile: A New History of the Motor Car


Atlantic Books 437pp £25 order from our bookshop

If you wanted an introduction to the history of the 20th century you could do worse than study the history of the car; in which case this book would be a good a place to start. Because the story is one of individual enterprise, corporate endeavour, national self-assertion and global phenomenon, it reaches parts that histories of other industries – with the arguable exceptions of its twin sister, oil, and, in the previous century, rail – generally don’t reach. It is very much social history – the car shaped our towns, roads, housing, habits and aspirations – as well as economic and, to a surprising extent, political history.

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