Catalogue


Hell on wheels : the promise and peril of America's car culture, 1900-1940 /
David Blanke.
imprint
Lawrence : University Press of Kansas, c2007.
description
x, 266 p. : ill.
ISBN
0700615156 (cloth : alk. paper), 9780700615155 (cloth : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
series title
series title
imprint
Lawrence : University Press of Kansas, c2007.
isbn
0700615156 (cloth : alk. paper)
9780700615155 (cloth : alk. paper)
catalogue key
6159716
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. 245-255) and index.
A Look Inside
Reviews
Review Quotes
"An innovative and compelling analysis of American efforts to reduce automobile accidents in the first four decades of the twentieth century. Blanke finally explains the paradox between American drivers' concerns about the lack of safety on the highways and their failure to drive more responsibly. . . . A sophisticated and significant contribution to the literature." -- Joel W. Eastman
"An excellent piece of work that fills a huge historio-graphical gap and is a pleasure to read." -- Clay McShane
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Long Description
The emergence of the automobile on the American scene represented many things--excitement, freedom, progress--but also danger, death, and injury. David Blanke tells how the automobile pulled society in two contradictory emotional directions: exhilaration in personal mobility versus anxiety over public safely. By investigating who owned cars, how they drove, and what kinds of accidents occurred, he shows how Americans struggled to resolve this dilemma. Drawing on extensive research into public safety studies, insurance records, and drivers' own stories, Hell on Wheels is an unprecedented survey of the social, political, and cultural repercussions of auto accidents. Blanke shows how the "automotive love affair" emerged as a powerful component of driving and explores the growing tension between the allure of the open road and the risk of auto accidents. Along the way, he considers a host of shared values that defined the automobile age, such as the romantic freedom of driving and the common ownership of the nation's roadways. In exposing the critical choices between collective safety and individual liberty, he recounts how Americans confronted the tensions between enforcing traffic rules and preserving drivers' liberty. In the days before mandatory drivers' education or licensing, people felt they were responsible but not accountable to the law--with the result that, between 1900 and 1940, auto accidents claimed nearly 200,000 more American lives than World War II. Blanke describes how Americans understood and responded to the new and dangerous personal freedoms unleashed by mass automobile use, examines their willingness to accept restrictions on their right to drive, and demonstrates theresulting failure of efforts to significantly reduce accidents. He then tells how fear of accident-prone drivers triggered safety reforms, improved road and car design, bettered driver training, and brought about stricter law enforcement. Since the dawn of the auto, more than 3.2 million Americans have been killed in car accidents, yet we still thrill to the open road and feel constrained by highway speed limits. Hell on Wheels is a captivating study that shows how this love affair remains a powerful force in our national life.
Main Description
The emergence of the automobile on the American scene represented many things-excitement, freedom, progress-but also danger, death, and injury. In this unique examination of Americas changing cultural perceptions of the car, David Blanke tells how the automobile pulled society in two contradictory emotional directions: exhilaration in personal mobility versus anxiety over public safely. By investigating who owned cars, how they drove, and what kinds of accidents occurred, he shows how Americans struggled to resolve this dilemma. Drawing on extensive research into public safety studies, insurance records, and drivers own stories, Hell on Wheels is an unprecedented survey of the social, political, and cultural repercussions of auto accidents. Blanke shows how the "automotive love affair" emerged as a powerful component of driving and explores the growing tension between the allure of the open road and the risk of auto accidents. Along the way, he considers a host of shared values that defined the automobile age, such as the romantic freedom of driving and the common ownership of the nations roadways. In exposing the critical choices between collective safety and individual liberty, he recounts how Americans confronted the tensions between enforcing traffic rules and preserving drivers liberty. In the days before mandatory drivers education or licensing, people felt they were responsible but not accountable to the law-with the result that, between 1900 and 1940, auto accidents claimed nearly 200,000 more American lives than World War II. Blanke describes how Americans understood and responded to the new and dangerous personal freedoms unleashed by mass automobile use, examines their willingness to accept restrictions on their right to drive, and demonstrates the resulting failure of efforts to significantly reduce accidents. He then tells how fear of accident-prone drivers triggered safety reforms, improved road and car design, bettered driver training, and brought about stricter law enforcement. Since the dawn of the auto, more than 3.2 million Americans have been killed in car accidents, yet we still thrill to the open road and feel constrained by highway speed limits. Hell on Wheels is a captivating study that shows how this love affair remains a powerful force that affects how drivers define public risk and personal safety in the modern age.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Introductionp. 1
The Car and American Life, 1900-1940p. 13
Auto Use and Auto Accidents, 1900-1940p. 40
The Dysfunctional Love Affairp. 63
Avoidable Accidents and the Challenge of Automotive Citizenshipp. 90
Perfection and Perfectibility in Auto Safety Reformp. 120
The Mirrored Glasses: Enforcement and the Inevitable Auto Accidentp. 153
Conclusion: Accidental Freedoms and the Risk Societyp. 183
Notesp. 205
Bibliographyp. 245
Indexp. 257
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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