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Other titles in the Weyerhaeuser Environmental Books series:

Car Country: An Environmental History (Weyerhaeuser Environmental Books)

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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

For most residents of the United States, getting almost anywhere begins with reaching for the car keys. This is true, Christopher Wells argues, because the United States is car country: a nation whose landscapes are so completely oriented around personal vehicles that other forms of transportation tend to be inconvenient at best and nearly impossible at worst.

Car-dependent landscapes seem perfectly natural to us today, but they are a relatively new historical development. In Car Country, Wells explains how, over the course of just a few decades, entrepreneurs demonstrated the profitability, practicality, and political attractiveness of remaking the nation around the easy movement of automobiles. He also shows how government policies, from the federal to the local, created a dense thicket of new regulations, incentives, and practices surrounding both transportation and land use, which together redefined "development" as "car-oriented development."

From the dawn of the motor age to the establishment of the interstate highway system and the rise of the suburbs, Wells untangles the complicated relationships between automobiles and the environment, charting a history essential for understanding American transportation and land-use issues today.

Christopher Wells is associate professor of environmental history at Macalester College.

"Car Country is arguably the most carefully researched, clearly written, and consistently engaging study anyone has yet written exploring the far-flung and extraordinarily complicated landscapes created by and for automobiles in the twentieth-century United States. The story is all the more remarkable because most of us who now inhabit this landscape take it so much for granted without having the slightest clue how it came into being." -from the Foreword by William Cronon

"Car Country offers a valuable historical perspective that is directly related to many pressing contemporary issues." -Owen D. Gutfreund, author of Twentieth-Century Sprawl: Highways and the Reshaping of the American Landscape

"Car Country is the most comprehensive recent synthesis of the automobile in twentieth-century America, of unusual scope and readability." -Peter D. Norton, author of Fighting Traffic: The Dawn of the Motor Age in the American City

Synopsis:

For most people in the United States, going almost anywhere begins with reaching for the car keys. This is true, Christopher Wells argues, because the United States is Car Country-a nation dominated by landscapes that are difficult, inconvenient, and often even unsafe to navigate by those who are not sitting behind the wheel of a car.

The prevalence of car-dependent landscapes seems perfectly natural to us today, but it is, in fact, a relatively new historical development. In Car Country, Wells rejects the idea that the nation's automotive status quo can be explained as a simple byproduct of an ardent love affair with the automobile. Instead, he takes readers on a lively tour of the evolving American landscape, charting the ways that new transportation policies and land-use practices have combined to reshape nearly every element of the built environment around the easy movement of automobiles.

From the dawn of the motor age to the establishment of the Interstate Highway System and the rise of the suburbs, Wells untangles the complicated relationships between automobiles and the environment, allowing readers to see the everyday world in a completely new way. The result is a history that is essential for understanding American transportation and land-use issues today.

Christopher W. Wells is associate professor of environmental history at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota.

"Wells seeks in this lively, playful, and wonderfully accessible account to introduce readers to the transformations wrought upon the national landscape of the United States to make it fit for Americans and their cars. . . . To grasp the complexities and fascinations and paradoxes of Car Country, I know of no better guide than this engaging book."--from the Foreword by William Cronon

"Car Country offers a valuable historical perspective that is directly related to many pressing contemporary issues."--Owen D. Gutfreund, author of Twentieth-Century Sprawl: Highways and the Reshaping of the American Landscape

"Car Country is the most comprehensive recent synthesis of the automobile in twentieth-century America. Of unusual scope and readability." --Peter D. Norton, author of Fighting Traffic: The Dawn of the Motor Age in the American City

Product Details

ISBN:
9780295992150
Subtitle:
An Environmental History
Author:
Wells, Christopher W.
Author:
Cronon, William
Publisher:
University of Washington Press
Subject:
United States - 20th Century
Subject:
Environmental History
Subject:
Transportation -- History.
Subject:
Automotive - General
Copyright:
Series:
Weyerhaeuser Environmental Books
Publication Date:
20130124
Binding:
Hardback
Language:
English
Pages:
464
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Politics » General
History and Social Science » US History » 20th Century » General
Science and Mathematics » Environmental Studies » Environment
Transportation » Automotive » General

Car Country: An Environmental History (Weyerhaeuser Environmental Books) New Hardcover
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$58.95 In Stock
Product details 464 pages University of Washington Press - English 9780295992150 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , For most people in the United States, going almost anywhere begins with reaching for the car keys. This is true, Christopher Wells argues, because the United States is Car Country-a nation dominated by landscapes that are difficult, inconvenient, and often even unsafe to navigate by those who are not sitting behind the wheel of a car.

The prevalence of car-dependent landscapes seems perfectly natural to us today, but it is, in fact, a relatively new historical development. In Car Country, Wells rejects the idea that the nation's automotive status quo can be explained as a simple byproduct of an ardent love affair with the automobile. Instead, he takes readers on a lively tour of the evolving American landscape, charting the ways that new transportation policies and land-use practices have combined to reshape nearly every element of the built environment around the easy movement of automobiles.

From the dawn of the motor age to the establishment of the Interstate Highway System and the rise of the suburbs, Wells untangles the complicated relationships between automobiles and the environment, allowing readers to see the everyday world in a completely new way. The result is a history that is essential for understanding American transportation and land-use issues today.

Christopher W. Wells is associate professor of environmental history at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota.

"Wells seeks in this lively, playful, and wonderfully accessible account to introduce readers to the transformations wrought upon the national landscape of the United States to make it fit for Americans and their cars. . . . To grasp the complexities and fascinations and paradoxes of Car Country, I know of no better guide than this engaging book."--from the Foreword by William Cronon

"Car Country offers a valuable historical perspective that is directly related to many pressing contemporary issues."--Owen D. Gutfreund, author of Twentieth-Century Sprawl: Highways and the Reshaping of the American Landscape

"Car Country is the most comprehensive recent synthesis of the automobile in twentieth-century America. Of unusual scope and readability." --Peter D. Norton, author of Fighting Traffic: The Dawn of the Motor Age in the American City

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