Jerome, once an editor of Car and Driver, had settled into apple-cider and organic-gardening rusticity in New Hampshire when he decided to buy and rebuild an old pickup truck. To haul manure to the garden. And that, from early reconnaissance to disassembling, cleaning, and fixing, to the day when the 1950 Dodge, the Harry S. Truman, started to roll--that, folks, is the plot. In between come heroic ruminations on land ethics, the monstrous malfeasance of technology, the need to reclaim nuts-and-bolts basics. Not to mention some passing thoughts on competence as a signal of adulthood/manliness. In short, a goof on Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Leastwise, we hope it's a goof, because Jerome's extended monologue on the metaphysics of crankshafts, ignition systems, cylinders, valves, brakes, pistons, and steering-wheel alignment is a work of sheer, clever contrivance and only a liberal anointment of self-mockery saves the reader from terminal boredom. After 15 months he realized that the damn truck was just a truck. ""Not project, process or product, not gesture, philosophical statement, or symbolic act."" Just a truck. (Actually, you suspect he knew it all along.) The funny part is that it will be read by antique car freaks who wouldn't dream of using it to transport horse dung to the asparagus patch.