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Original Essays | June 20, 2014

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It's a wild and thundery night. Inside a ramshackle old manor house, a beautiful young girl lies asleep in bed. At the window, a figure watches... Continue »
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Thinking Small: The Long, Strange Trip of the Volkswagen Beetle

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Thinking Small: The Long, Strange Trip of the Volkswagen Beetle Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Sometimes achieving big things requires the ability to think small. This simple concept was the driving force that propelled the Volkswagen Beetle to become an avatar of American-style freedom, a household brand, and a global icon. The VW Bug inspired the ad men of Madison Avenue, beguiled Woodstock Nation, and has recently been re-imagined for the hipster generation. And while today it is surely one of the most recognizable cars in the world, few of us know the compelling details of this car's story. In Thinking Small, journalist and cultural historian Andrea Hiott retraces the improbable journey of this little car that changed the world.

Andrea Hiott's wide-ranging narrative stretches from the factory floors of Weimar Germany to the executive suites of today's automotive innovators, showing how a succession of artists and engineers shepherded the Beetle to market through periods of privation and war, reconstruction and recovery. Henry Ford's Model T may have revolutionized the American auto industry, but for years Europe remained a place where only the elite drove cars. That all changed with the advent of the Volkswagen, the product of a Nazi initiative to bring driving to the masses. But Hitler's concept of the people's car would soon take on new meaning. As Germany rebuilt from the rubble of World War II, a whole generation succumbed to the charms of the world's most huggable automobile.

Indeed, the story of the Volkswagen is a story about people, and Hiott introduces us to the men who believed in it, built it, and sold it: Ferdinand Porsche, the visionary Austrian automobile designer whose futuristic dream of an affordable family vehicle was fatally compromised by his patron Adolf Hitler's monomaniacal drive toward war; Heinrich Nordhoff, the forward-thinking German industrialist whose management innovations made mass production of the Beetle a reality; and Bill Bernbach, the Jewish American advertising executive whose team of Madison Avenue mavericks dreamed up the legendary ad campaign that transformed the quintessential German compact into an outsize worldwide phenomenon.

Thinking Small is the remarkable story of an automobile and an idea. Hatched in an age of darkness, the Beetle emerged into the light of a new era as a symbol of individuality and personal mobility--a triumph not of the will but of the imagination.

Synopsis:

Published to coincide with the release of the newly redesigned VW Beetle, a history of the iconic car reveals the agendas of famous design contributors including Ferdinand Porsche, Adolf Hitler and Heinrich Nordhoff, describing the 1950s advertising campaign in America that launched its phenomenal success.

About the Author

Andrea Hiott was born in South Carolina and graduated with a degree in philosophy from the University of Georgia in Athens. She then went to Berlin to study German and neuroscience, and ended up staying and working as a freelance journalist. In 2005, alongside a group of international artists and writers, she cofounded a cultural journal called Pulse. She now serves as editor-in-chief.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780345521446
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Subject:
main_subject
Author:
Hiott, Andrea
Subject:
all_subjects
Series Volume:
The Long, Strange Tr
Publication Date:
20120117
Binding:
ELECTRONIC
Language:
English
Pages:
492

Related Subjects

Business » Advertising
History and Social Science » World History » General
Transportation » Automotive » General
Transportation » General

Thinking Small: The Long, Strange Trip of the Volkswagen Beetle
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Product details 492 pages Random House Incorporated - English 9780345521446 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Published to coincide with the release of the newly redesigned VW Beetle, a history of the iconic car reveals the agendas of famous design contributors including Ferdinand Porsche, Adolf Hitler and Heinrich Nordhoff, describing the 1950s advertising campaign in America that launched its phenomenal success.
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