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Book Review

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Journal of the Society of Automotive Historians


Gijs Mom particularly wants to answer the question of Why? Why the car (and not, say, the bicycle) Why in the North-Atlantic realm, and not elsewhere initially? During the course of seven intense and lengthy chapters that are further divided into two parts (1895-1918 and 1918-1940) Mom goes deep into motives as to why the internal combustion engine car has come to dominate our lives. These include masculinity and adventure; tourism; male violence and aggression; pleasure and consumption; encapsulation in closed vehicles and the cyborg relationship between driver and the machine; thrills and risks; gender and family structures; tinkering and maintenance; and finally competing technological systems involving the flexible motor vehicle and rail. Mom's work is fundamentally a cultural history, drawing on both non-fiction and fiction. Yet more than that, it represents one slice of a total history, with a subsequent history of motor vehicle technology.

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Book citation infomrmation: Mom, Gijs. Atlantic Automobilism: Emergence and Persistence of the Car, 1895-1940. New York, NY: Berghahn Books, 2014.


The Society of Automotive Historians



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