Hard-edged humorist O’Rourke (On the Wealth of Nations: Books That Changed the World, 2007, etc.) certifies his American manliness with a gathering of automotive reveries, most of them originally published in Esquire, Rolling Stone and Car and Driver.
Certainly the funniest guy on the right side of the political road, the author begins with a youthful essay about “How to Drive Fast on Drugs While Getting Your Wing-Wang Squeezed and Not Spill Your Drink.” That piece predates “Taking My Baby for a Ride,” which regards the safe transportation of his children—in anything other than the cursed minivan, of course. O’Rourke also includes the requisite recollections of road trips, including a cross-country journey in a ’56 Buick, already two decades old and cursed with vapor lock; and a few expeditions to Mexico likely to appeal only to like-minded car enthusiasts. The author presents an appreciation of Jeeps in everyday life in the Philippines; writes fondly about his discovery of NASCAR; and provides the obligatory fond memories of jalopies of yesteryear. For the most part, the waggish reporter eases up on his accustomed libertarian fun as he happily tools along in his Roadmaster, coasting along and sometimes going a little too light on the brakes. Ultimately, he proudly declares that his is a car guys’ book.
A joy ride for those who crave a Corvette Stingray or care about torque; others may want to get out at the next light.