The Car

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Audiobook Downloadable / ISBN-13: 9781399604383

Price: £21.99

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More than any other technology, cars have transformed our culture. Cars have created vast wealth as well as novel dreams of freedom and mobility. They have transformed our sense of distance and made the world infinitely more available to our eyes and our imaginations. They have inspired cinema, music and literature; they have, by their need for roads, bridges, filling stations, huge factories and global supply chains, re-engineered the world. Almost everything we now need, want, imagine or aspire to assumes the existence of cars in all their limitless power and their complex systems of meanings.

This book celebrates the immense drama and beauty of the car, of the genius embodied in the Ford Model T, of the glory of the brilliant-red Mercedes Benz S-Class made by workers for Nelson Mandela on his release from prison, of Kanye West’s ‘chopped’ Maybach, of the salvation of the Volkswagen Beetle by Major Ivan Hirst, of Elvis Presley’s 100 Cadillacs, of the Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost and the BMC Mini and even of that harbinger of the end – the Tesla Model S and its creator Elon Musk.

As the age of the car as we know it comes to an end, Bryan Appleyard’s brilliantly insightful book tells the story of the rise and fall of the incredible machine that made the modern world what it is today.


The car has totally changed our society. Bryan Appleyard is just the writer to get to the heart of this phenomenon.
Melvyn Bragg
As cars undergo their latest electro-smart evolution, Bryan Appleyard's extraordinary cultural history of them explains how they changed our everyday experience. This is a brilliantly written and thoughtful account of the machines which made our lives recognisably modern.
Michael Burleigh
An entertaining and superbly researched story about the industrial age's most astonishing and enchanting creation.
Gavin Green, Car Magazine
Very few people could do justice to this extraordinary story - and with this book Bryan Appleyard sets the bar impossibly high for anyone else.
Rory Sutherland
An exhilarating spin through the history of the machine that transformed our culture from its earliest incarnation to its imminent demise.
Saga Magazine
The prose is sharp, well organised and well researched.
Country Life
Bryan Appleyard is well known to readers as a thoughtful interpreter of our frets and anxieties... a thinking man's Clarkson.
This engaging history of the motor car is full of rich anecdotes and detail.
Sunday Times
This fond look at the history, development and significance of the automobile is supercharged by wonderful writing... As sharply as he draws portraits of the key players, Appleyard, one of the liveliest minds in journalism, is at his most acute when musing on the cultural effects of the car.
Appleyard, an unashamed petrol-head, rightly celebrates the pleasures of driving and the freedoms that the automobile has brought us... immensely readable.
Nick Rennison, Daily Mail
[Audio edition review] An enjoyable ride through the history of the automobile ... This is a romp of a book. After a provocative introduction on the social significance of the automobile, Bryan Appleyard takes us through a motorcade of inventors ... John Sackville has one of the most taking voices in the audio industry, sounding enthusiastic and endlessly interested in a way that makes it impossible not to keep listening.
Christina Hardyment, THE TIMES
Appleyard draws upon a vast knowledge of science, mechanics and cultural lore as he successfully supports his thesis that the car didn't merely influence the modern world - it created it.
Jonathan Kellerman, The New York Times
An encyclopedic retrospective of how the car came to be, how it has evolved over the past century and how, as the subtitle suggests, it has shaped the world we live in.
Mark Yost, The Wall Street Journal