DRIVING TO DETROIT

AN AUTOMOTIVE ODYSSEY

Hazleton (automotive columnist for the Detroit Free Press and author of, among other works, Confessions of a Fast Woman, 1992) takes us on a journey into “the heart, soul, and wallet of the enduring American obsession with the car.” The author is an unorthodox guide. Born British, a former psychologist, former political correspondent, an environmentalist, she is not the type of person one would expect to be bonkers about cars. She hits the road—a six-month journey from Seattle to the Detroit Auto Show, with countless detours along the way. She goes in search of the culture of cars; she finds it, for instance, at Bonneville Salt Flats of Utah, where Craig Breedlove, at age 59, attempts (unsuccessfully) to break the sound barrier in a car. She finds it at Concours d’ElÇgance at Pebble Beach, Calif., where the super-rich display their multimillion-dollar autos. She finds it at Frog Todd’s ABC Junkyard of Houston, Tex. What is it about cars? There is sexuality. (In a line that could be straight out of Raymond Chandler, she writes of one classic car: “It had a sensuously chiseled sleekness, like the high cheekbones of a supermodel.”) At high speeds, there is the sense of transgression, and always there is the illusion of power, of being in control of tons of metal, when we control little in our lives. There is the romance of death: It is cool to die in a crash, but only if you are young and in a hot car (her father’s death, of natural causes, in England in the middle of her journey heightens her awareness of this foolish illusion). Would James Dean’s legend continue if he had died in a Hyundai, she wonders. Hazleton arrives at no grand conclusions here but in finely etched vignettes reveals why we so dearly love our automobiles. An exceptional writer at the top of her game. A car book that is about a lot more than cars.

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 1998

ISBN: 0-684-83987-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Free Press

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1998

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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