History Faculty Publications
Review: 'Car Country: An Environmental History'
Journal of Transport History
Christopher Wells' environmental history of the automobile in America to 1960 fills an important gap concerning our knowledge of the complex relationship that evolved between the adoption of the car and changes in the land. Indeed, both rural and urban use in the US experienced a profound transition during the first half of the twentieth century, much of it due to the widespread diffusion of the automobile. But it was not a one-way street, so to speak, as landscape changes did much to prepare the way for the automobile to be at the center of American life.
As highways and byways were constructed in response to the needs of numerous constituencies and resulting traffic, the nation became covered with concrete and asphalt, its non-renewable energy reserves depleted, and its air fouled. Concurrently, however, in the trade-off, Americans reaped the benefit of sustained economic growth, flexibility and freedom for the constraints of space, a psychological obsession with speed, and the conveniences associated with a saving of time.
Copyright © 2014, Sage Publications
Heitmann, John Alfred, "Review: 'Car Country: An Environmental History'" (2014). History Faculty Publications. 72.
Permission documentation is on file.
Book citation information: Christopher Wells. Car Country: An Environmental History. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press, 2012.