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High and Mighty: The Dangerous Rise of the SUVby Keith Bradsher
Winner of the New York Public Library Helen Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism
Winner of the Washington Monthly's 2002 Annual Political Book Award
A New York Times Notable Book of the Year
A BookSense 76 Pick
"The former Detroit bureau chief of The New York Times, Bradsher writes with knowledge and confidence. His book is a masterpiece of its kind, splendidly combining reporting, analysis, and indignation. It belongs on the same shelf as Ralph Nader's Unsafe at Any Speed and Ida Tarbell's The History of Standard Oil, chronicles of the dangerous interaction of corporate perfidy and regulatory breakdown. High and Mighty tells us more than we may care to know about how government malfunctions, and about the more disturbing aspects of the American cult of driving." Gregg Easterbrook, The New Republic (read the entire New Republic review)
Synopses & ReviewsPlease note that used books may not include additional media (study guides, CDs, DVDs, solutions manuals, etc.) as described in the publisher comments.
The longtime Detroit bureau chief for The New York Times lays bare the dangers posed by the most popular type of American family car: the sport utility vehicle. With a new epilogue by the author.
SUVs have taken over America's roads. Ad campaigns promote them as safer and "greener" than ordinary cars and easy to handle in bad weather. But very little about the SUV's image is accurate. They poorly protect occupants and inflict horrific damage in crashes, they guzzle gasoline, and they are hard to control.
Keith Bradsher has been at the forefront in reporting the calamitous safety and environmental record of SUVs, including the notorious Ford-Firestone rollover controversy. In High and Mighty, he traces the checkered history of SUVs, showing how they came to be classified not as passenger cars but as light trucks, which are subject to less strict regulations on safety, gas mileage, and air pollution. He makes a powerful case that these vehicles are even worse than we suspect — for their occupants, for other motorists, for pedestrians and for the planet itself.
In the tradition of Unsafe at Any Speed and Fast Food Nation, Bradsher's book is a damning exposÃ© of an industry that puts us all at risk, whether we recognize it or not.
"Perhaps the most important book about Detroit since Ralph Nader's Unsafe at Any Speed....Bradsher brilliantly captures the mixture of bafflement and contempt that many auto executives feel towards the customers who buy their SUVs." Malcolm Gladwell, The New Yorker
"This is one of the best books on American politics I have read recently, although it's supposed to be about cars....[A] marvelously told book....How [the auto market] came undone is Keith Bradsher's menacing story, and I think he has it cold..." The New York Times
"The growing grass-roots movement against the sport-utility vehicle now has a bible." The Washington Post
"[S]uperb for many reasons...fascinating historical material is presented with narrative panache....Every engaged citizen of our perishable republic ought to read this book." Newsday
"[T]horoughly researched, superbly readable....Bradsher's book is that incisive: a tribute to what one hard-nosed investigative reporter can pull off, regardless of auto-industry promotion of an alternate reality..." Philadelphia Inquirer
"Damned if Bradsher doesn't make a point. In fact a fusillade of points....[High and Mighty is a] sobering, infuriating, necessary book." The New York Times Book Review
"[High and Mighty] should be read by drivers of SUVs and all those who must share the road with them." Library Journal
"[A] book that deserves attention. Read it before you drool over the muscle-bound Explorers, Excursions, Blazers, and Cherokees in the showroom. Is the macho image worth the price?" Toronto Globe and Mail
"An intelligent reader will conclude from this meticulous and sober investigation that the makers of these behemoths have exploited a lucrative market of self-regarding urban and suburban consumers who care not a whit that...they are committing a horrendously antisocial act." The Atlantic Monthly
"In this page-turner of a book Keith Bradsher uncovers the greed of Detroit auto executives who dressed a truck up as a car, called it an SUV, and made bundles while despoiling the environment and endangering lives. High and Mighty reveals not just the get-the-profits-up-at-any-cost excesses of the auto industry, but the craven behavior of Washington that surrenders its regulatory oversight, the true safety menace these truck pose, and even the cowardly silence of environmentalists. Who speaks for consumers? This eloquent, painstakingly reported book does. It is a shout that must be heard." Ken Auletta
"High and Mighty is an expose in the best tradition. Keith Bradsher takes a phenomenon we all think we're familiar with — and then explains its hidden history and startling consequences in eye-opening ways. Anyone who has an SUV in the family or who faces SUVs on the road will want to know what's in this book." James Fallows
Book News Annotation:
This is a reprint of a 2002 book, which was published with a slightly difference subtitle ( Bureau chief for The New York Times first in Detroit and now in Hong Kong, Bradsher offers a biography of the half-tanks that are clogging US streets. He relies mostly on quotes from within the automobile industry by the people who have designed, built, and marketed them despite reservations about their practicality and safety. Among his revelations is that insurance for the vehicles is subsidized by everyone else's premiums.
Annotation ©2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
With a new Epilogue by the author, High and Mighty makes a powerful case that sport utility vehicles are much worse than cars for their occupants, for other motorists, for pedestrians, and for the planet itself.
Sport utility vehicles have taken over America's roads — pushing fuel consumption up and traffic safety down. Keith Bradsher has long been at the forefront of critical SUV coverage and in High and Mighty he delivers a thorough, undeniable indictment of these vehicles as much worse than cars — for their occupants, for other motorists, for pedestrians, and for the planet itself. This masterpiece of investigative journalism shows how a flawed regulatory system, a desperate Detroit, and our national love for "bigger and better" have combined to create a highway arms race that puts us all at risk.
This is a reprint of a 2002 book, which was published with a slightly difference subtitle ( ...SUVs the world's most dangerous vehicles and how they got that way). Bureau chief for The New York Times first in Detroit and now in Hong Kong, Bradsher offers a biography of the half-tanks that are cloggi
The longtime Detroit bureau chief for The New York Times lays bare the dangers posed by the most popular type of American family car: the sport utility vehicle. With a new epilogue by the author
About the Author
Keith Bradsher has been a staff writer for The New York Times since 1989, and was one of its Washington correspondents from 1991 to 1995 before becoming the newspaper's Detroit bureau chief. He is now the Hong Kong bureau chief for the Times.
Table of Contents
Pt. 1 The Birth of the SUV
1 Early Rumblings 3
2 Reviving a Corpse 18
3 Creating the Ford Explorer 43
4 Paving the Road to Ever Bigger SUVs 61
5 The SUV Economy 81
6 Reptile Dreams 93
Pt. 2 The Dark Side of the SUV
7 The Myth of Four-Wheel-Drive Safety 127
8 Rollovers 149
9 Kill Rates 166
10 The SUV Insurance Subsidy 207
11 Trouble for Cities 221
12 Global Warming, Gasoline Mileage, and a Gentlemen's Agreement 238
13 Seducing the Press 271
14 The Green Prince 282
15 The Ford Explorer-Firestone Tire Debacle 303
Pt. 3 The Future of the SUV
16 The Next Drivers of SUVs 341
17 Crossover Utilities 352
18 The Schwarzenegger Dividend 360
19 The Triumph of SUVs 382
20 Finding a Way Out 413
Myths and Realities about SUVs 443
The Family Tree of Automobiles 451
How to Improve Safety in Buying or Driving an SUV 459
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