Cover image for Car crazy : the battle for supremacy between Ford and Olds and the dawn of the automobile age
Title:
Car crazy : the battle for supremacy between Ford and Olds and the dawn of the automobile age
Author:
Miller, G. Wayne, author.
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : PublicAffairs, [2015]
Physical Description:
xv, 350 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
General Note:
"In Car Crazy, G. Wayne Miller, takes readers back to the wild and wooly years of the early automobile era--from 1893, when the first U.S.-built auto was introduced, through 1908, when General Motors was founded and Ford's Model T went on the market. As the machine transformed American culture for better and worse, early corporate battles for survival and market share transformed the economic landscape. The fiercest fight pits Henry Ford against Frederic Smith of Olds. Olds was the early winner in the race for dominance, but now the Olds empire is in trouble, its once-industry leading market share shrinking, its cash dwindling. Ford is just revving up. But this is Ford's third attempt at a successful auto company--and if this one fails, quite possibly his last. So Smith fights Ford with the weapons he knows best: lawyers, blackmail, intimidation, and a vicious advertising smear campaign that ultimately backfires. Car Wars is a page-turning story of popular culture, business, and sport at the dawn of the twentieth century, filled with compelling, larger-than-life characters, each an American original."
Language:
English
Contents:
Fastest man on earth -- Native sons -- The selden patent -- Meet me in St. Louis -- Sensation -- Bad behaviors, bad roads -- The horse loses power -- The West, still wild -- Victories and defeats -- Doubts subsiding -- "Equal to his weight in wildcats".
ISBN:
9781610395519
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

Before the Big Three," even before the Model T, the race for dominance in the American car market was fierce, fast, and sometimes farcical. Car Crazy takes readers back to the passionate and reckless years of the early automobile era, from 1893, when the first US-built auto was introduced, through 1908, when General Motors was founded and Ford's Model T went on the market. The motorcar was new, paved roads few, and devotees of this exciting and unregulated technology battled with citizens who considered the car a dangerous scourge, wrought by the wealthy, that was shattering a more peaceful way of life.Among the pioneering competitors were Ransom E. Olds, founder of Olds Motor Works and creator of a new company called REO Olds' cutthroat new CEO Frederic L. Smith William C. Billy" Durant of Buick Motor Company (and soon General Motors) and inventor Henry Ford. They shared a passion for innovation, both mechanical and entrepreneurial, but their maniacal pursuit of market share would also involve legal manipulation, vicious smear campaigns, and zany publicity stunts,including a wild transcontinental car race that transfixed the public. Their war on wheels ultimately culminated in a courtroom battle that would shape the American car industry forever.Based on extensive original research, Car Crazy is a page-turning story of popular culture, business, and sport at the dawn of the twentieth century, filled with compelling, larger-than-life characters, each an American original.


Author Notes

G. Wayne Miller is a Visiting Fellow at Salve Regina University's Pell centre for International Relations and Public Policy, in Newport, Rhode Island, where he is director of the centre's Story in the Public Square initiative (www.publicstory.org). He is a long-time staff writer for The Providence Journal, where he was member of a Pulitzer Prize-finalist team that covered a deadly nightclub fire. Miller is the author of seven works of contemporary and historical narrative non-fiction, including Toy Wars, King of Hearts, and Men and Speed. He also wrote and co-produced three documentaries broadcast on PBS, including most recently The Providence Journal's Coming Home, about veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, which was nominated for a New England Emmy and won the regional Edward R. Murrow Award. He is the recipient of the 2013 Roger Williams Independent Voice Award from the Rhode Island International Film Festival. He lives near Providence, RI.


Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

Miller (Toy Wars; King of Hearts) looks at the impact on tradition, national infrastructure, legal precedent, and cultural change affected by the introduction of the automobile into America's landscape, detailing the battle for brand recognition and sales dominance that existed between car manufacturers such as Ford and Oldsmobile in the early 1900s. Contrasting car makers that embraced the freedom and power of the car against those that saw elegance and ease of use as an opportunity to profit greatly, Miller demonstrates the impact the burgeoning industry had on American society and laws. Offering engaging asides, the author shows how the cultural divide between those who were auto aficionados and others who were not led to antagonism, occasional violent outbursts, and ultimately a redefinition of societal norms and legal standing. VERDICT Engrossing and well-written, Miller's study of the cultural impact of the automobile is also a testament to the elements of the vehicle that car enthusiasts find endearing. This work will attract fans of motor sports as well as entrepreneurs and anyone interested in the power of technology to enact social change.-Elizabeth Zeitz, Otterbein Univ. Lib., Westerville, OH © Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Choice Review

Car Crazy is an unfortunate title for this fact-filled, enjoyable automobile history. Author and journalist Miller (visiting fellow, Salve Regina Univ.) seems to focus on and enjoy the last part of the subtitle, The Dawn of the Automobile Age, as he relates much about the crazy, dangerous, exciting early races that could make a marque, as they did in Ford's case. Miller also does a great job of defining, explaining, and relating the Selden patent adventure, painting a clear picture of this early attempt at exploitation and the favorable outcome for the men doing the real work of inventing and manufacturing the automobile. The book includes fascinating stories of early accidents and the stone-throwing crowds not thrilled with the reckless millionaire drivers. The standard folks are here, Ford, of course, and Olds, Durant, Oldfield, and Pope, as well as contributing characters to the story, such as Big Nose George Parrot and Ralzemond Parker. The chapters can for the most part be read independently, and each provides unique information. Many references to the New York Times and other newspapers help give this history context. A brief bibliography, a nice epilogue of obituaries, and a useful index support the text. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All library collections. --Charles J. Myers, University of the Sciences in Philadelphia