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Motorized Obsessions: Life, Liberty, and the Small-Bore Engineby Paul Josephson
Synopses & Reviews
From dirt bikes and jet skis to weed wackers and snowblowers, machines powered by small gas engines have become a permanent — and loud — fixture in American culture. But fifty years of high-speed fun and pristine lawns have not come without cost.
In the first comprehensive history of the small-bore engine and the technology it powers, Paul R. Josephson explores the political, environmental, and public health issues surrounding one of America's most dangerous pastimes. Each chapter tells the story of an ecosystem within the United States and the devices that wreak havoc on it — personal watercraft (PWCs) on inland lakes and rivers; all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) in deserts and forests; lawn mowers and leaf blowers in suburbia. In addition to environmental impacts, Josephson discusses the development and promotion of these technologies, the legal and regulatory efforts made to improve their safety and environmental soundness, and the role of owners' clubs in encouraging responsible operation.
Synthesizing information from medical journals, recent environmental research, nongovernmental organizations, and manufacturers, Josephson's compelling history leads to one irrefutable conclusion: these machines cannot be operated without loss of life and loss of habitat.
Book News Annotation:
Over several years, in Maine, Josephson (history and international studies, Colby College) has researched the industry, the clubs, and individual users of off-road recreational vehicles--dune buggies, jet skis, and the like. While acknowledging the excitement of riding such vehicles and their importance to local economies, he also documents the environmental damage and the emerging public health crisis from the injury and death of users. He urges users, dealers, and manufacturers to get their house in order before public outrage forces blunt restrictions on them. Annotation ©2008 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Engineering » Construction » Heavy Machinery