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ARC Review: A Brief History of Motion: From the Wheel, To the Car, To What Comes Next


A Brief History of Motion by Tom Standage

Tom Standage is back with another concise, fun history book. This time we delve into the history of wheeled transport, with the heart of the book discussing the evolution of the modern automobile, what it has meant for societies around the world, and what may come after it.

The first part of the book gives us an overview of what came before the modern car - highlighting wheels themselves (not considered exceptionally useful for a long, long time), then chariots, carts and coaches. This is followed by several interesting stories of early rail innovations. 

After that we jump into the story of the rise of the automobile, and so we spend the rest of the book from the 1880s until today. Did you know that the first person to drive an automobile over a long distance, proving that cars could be put to practical use, was a woman? Did you know that the Model T, the most popular car of it's day, was not only the car that made the Ford Motor Company, but also, because of Henry Ford's stubborn reluctance to make major changes to his lineup of offerings, led to the company's declining fortunes in the face of upstart rival General Motors? Those are just a few of the stories Standage covers in this part of the book.

Finally, the book finishes off with a discussion of how the automobile is currently transforming, including discussion of electric vehicles, self driving cars and alternate forms of ownership and ways of consuming "rides", whether on four wheels or two.

As a child of the US heartland - Michigan in particular -  cars, car manufacturing, and car culture are something I grew up surrounded with. So for me this book was an enjoyable journey through many stories and tidbits I was already mostly familiar with. I think that others not so familiar would still find this book of interest.

I really enjoyed the book and would recommend it to anyone who may be interested in quick history of the automobile. I listened to the audiobook narrated by Liam Gerrard, who did an exceptional job. I rate Tom Standage's A Brief History of Motion Three Stars ⭐⭐⭐.

NOTE: My Advanced Reviewer's Copy of the audiobook version of A Brief History of Motion was provided at no cost through Netgalley and Tantor Media in exchange for a fair and unbiased review. The book, ebook (by Bloomsburyand audiobook (by Tantor Media) versions have all just been published.

A Brief History of Motion links:

📙  Borrow this book: Find out if your library has the ebook or audiobook available.

📘 Buy this audiobook: Amazon | | Scribd  

📗 Support Indie Bookstores: Find the audiobook at an Indie Bookstore near you.