Rudi Volti 's Cars And Culture

1319 Words6 Pages
Marilynn Bach
STS.001 Technology in American History
Professor Merritt Roe Smith
17 March 2015 Rudi Volti’s Cars and Culture: The Life Story of a Technology (Greenwood Press, 2004) examines the evolution of the automobile, starting from 1765, with Nicholas Cugnot’s steam-powered vehicles, to the present day. The goal of the book, as stated by Volti in the introduction, is to “pay particular attention to the automobile’s technical evolution while at the same time delineating the cultural, social, and political context in which that evolution has taken place” (xi). Thus, Volti also demonstrates the cultural and societal effects that resulted from the emergence and mass production of automobiles. Volti divides the history of automobiles into seven time periods, each a separate chapter that achieves his goal. He accomplishes his objectives by stating the technological advances and societal context under different headings, occasionally linking the two topics together. Drawing from mostly secondary sources, Volti brings together different interpretations of the historians before him and presents his perceptions in a way that seems very factual. For example, he often spoke of the relationship between automobiles and women; in chapter three, he states that “the automobile thus served as a key artifact in . . . women’s liberation” (62), making his judgment seem much more unbiased than it really was. In addition, he uses statistics and data from secondary sources; the only two

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