Car Crazy: The Battle for Supremacy Between Ford and Olds and the Dawn of the Automobile Age (Hardcover)

The Battle for Supremacy Between Ford and Olds and the Dawn of the Automobile Age

By G. Wayne Miller

PublicAffairs, 9781610395519, 368pp.

Publication Date: November 3, 2015

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Description

Before the "Big Three," even before the Model T, the race for dominance in the American car market was fierce, fast, and sometimes farcical. Car Crazy takes readers back to the passionate and reckless years of the early automobile era, from 1893, when the first US-built auto was introduced, through 1908, when General Motors was founded and Ford's Model T went on the market. The motorcar was new, paved roads few, and devotees of this exciting and unregulated technology battled with citizens who considered the car a dangerous scourge, wrought by the wealthy, that was shattering a more peaceful way of life.

Among the pioneering competitors were Ransom E. Olds, founder of Olds Motor Works and creator of a new company called REO; Olds' cutthroat new CEO Frederic L. Smith; William C. "Billy" Durant of Buick Motor Company (and soon General Motors); and inventor Henry Ford. They shared a passion for innovation, both mechanical and entrepreneurial, but their maniacal pursuit of market share would also involve legal manipulation, vicious smear campaigns, and zany publicity stunts--including a wild transcontinental car race that transfixed the public. Their war on wheels ultimately culminated in a courtroom battle that would shape the American car industry forever.

Based on extensive original research, Car Crazy is a page-turning story of popular culture, business, and sport at the dawn of the twentieth century, filled with compelling, larger-than-life characters, each an American original.


About the Author

G. Wayne Miller is a Visiting Fellow at Salve Regina University's Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy, in Newport, Rhode Island, where he is director of the center's Story in the Public Square initiative (www.publicstory.org). He is a long-time staff writer for The Providence Journal, where he was member of a Pulitzer Prize-finalist team that covered a deadly nightclub fire. Miller is the author of seven works of contemporary and historical narrative non-fiction, including Toy Wars, King of Hearts, and Men and Speed. He also wrote and co-produced three documentaries broadcast on PBS, including most recently The Providence Journal's Coming Home, about veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, which was nominated for a New England Emmy and won the regional Edward R. Murrow Award. He is the recipient of the 2013 Roger Williams Independent Voice Award from the Rhode Island International Film Festival. He lives near Providence, RI.
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