Synopses & Reviews
Six months after its American introduction in 1985, the Yugo was a punch line; within a year, it was a staple of late-night comedy. By 2000, NPR's Car Talk
declared it "the worst car of the millennium." And for most Americans that's where the story begins and ends.
The short, unhappy life of the car, the men who built it, the men who imported it, and the decade that embraced and discarded it is rollicking and astounding, and it is one of the greatest untold business-cum-morality tales of the 1980s. Mix one rabid entrepreneur, several thousand "good" communists, a willing U.S. State Department, the shortsighted Detroit auto industry, and improvident bankers, shake vigorously, and you've got The Yugo: The Rise and Fall of the Worst Car in History. Brilliantly re-creating the amazing confluence of events that produced the Yugo, Yugoslav expert Jason Vuic uproariously tells the story of the car that became an international joke: The American CEO who happens upon a Yugo right when his company needs to find a new import or go under. A State Department eager to aid Yugoslavia's nonaligned communist government. Zastava Automobiles, which overhauls its factory to produce an American-ready Yugo in six months. And a hole left by Detroit in the cheap subcompact market that creates a race to the bottom that leaves the Yugo...at the bottom.
"This is a fun read about a heap of junk that should make anyone feel better about having to take their car to a repair shop." ---Publishers Weekly
"Synnestvedt sounds fascinated and amused as he retells Yugo jokes (at the start of each chapter), talks about its bumpy start, recalls the initial Yugomania, and details the car's eventual demise." ---AudioFile
An exhaustive chronicle of the rise and fall of the Yugo, as well as the people and political situations that played a part in the story.
About the Author
Jason Vuic is an assistant professor of modern European history at Bridgewater College in Bridgewater, Virginia. He has published articles in the South Slav Journal, Serbian Studies, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and the Indianapolis Star. He earned a B.A. from Wake Forest University, an M.A. from the University of Richmond, and a Ph.D. in Balkan and East European history from Indiana University at Bloomington. He has also served as assistant director of the Center for Slavic and East European Studies at Ohio State University. He lives in Staunton, Virginia. Actor Erik Synnestvedt has recorded nearly two hundred audiobooks for trade publishers as well as for the Library of Congress Talking Books for the Blind program. They include The Day We Found the Universe by Marcia Bartusiak, A Game as Old as Empire edited by Steven Hiatt, and Twitter Power by Joel Comm.