Year 85

1972: The Death of the Automobile

Author/Editor: John Jerome

Find it in Collins Library!

Published in 1972, this title could have been written just a few years ago!  The author, John Jerome, was an American writer of non-fiction, best known for his work associated with cars and technology.  The Death of the Automobile is a book focused on the Detroit auto industry, which Jerome called an ecological, economic and engineering disaster.  In the preface, Jerome states:

“ Technology isn’t evil, but the uses of technology often are.  The car is a bad machine – and the solution is not to build a better bad machine, but rather not to build bad machines.  Yet this huge, wealthy nation is trapped with what is virtually a single transportation system, and to suggest simply abandoning that system is to suggest paralyzing the nation.  We have become addicted to automobiles; they have become literally a necessity for sustaining life.  How we became addicted, what the future holds for such an addiction, and how we can escape the trap that the addiction ensures is what this book is about.“

He concludes the book with the following statement:

“When Alan S. Boyd became the first Secretary of Transportation, one of his first official acts was to decorate his new chambers.  On one wall, he hung a large photomural:  it showed a pair of well-shod feet.  It’s a transportation solution that hasn’t had a great deal of technological support in recent years, but it might be the salvation of us yet!”

What do you think Jerome would say about the state of transportation in 2013?

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