Americans love their cars. But why? When did cars become so wrapped up in the idea of American identity that we can’t pull ourselves away from them, knowing full well that they’re expensive, emissions-spewing death machines? Why are we so wedded to the idea of cars that we’re now developing all-electric and driverless cars instead of investing in mass transportation? To answer some of these questions, we’re joined this episode by Dan Albert, who writes about the past, present, and future of cars, from Henry Ford’s dirt-cheap and democratic Model T to the predicted death of the automobile in the 1970s—and again, today. This episode originally aired in 2019.
Go beyond the episode:
- Dan Albert’s Are We There Yet?
- In our Summer 2019 issue, Steve Lagerfeld mourns what wonders might be lost with the end of driving
- For more on how highways made modern America, read Albert’s essay “The Highway and the City” and more
- Julie Beck reports on the decline of driving (and driver’s licenses)
- An academic analysis of how different modes of transport shape urban travel patterns
- For a deeper look at Tesla and Uber, Albert recommends Edward Niedermeyer’s Ludicrous: The Unvarnished Story of Tesla Motors and Mike Isaac’s Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber (listen to our interview with Isaac here)
- More on how cars shape the way we view the world from Gijs Mom, and how driverless cars might change the world from Samuel Schwartz
- TimeOut ranks the 50 best road trip songs of all time (though we would have added Gary Numan’s “Cars”)
Tune in every week to catch interviews with the liveliest voices from literature, the arts, sciences, history, and public affairs; reports on cutting-edge works in progress; long-form narratives; and compelling excerpts from new books. Hosted by Stephanie Bastek. Follow us on Twitter @TheAmScho or on Facebook.
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