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In ‘Engines Of Change’ the automobile is the vehicle to understanding the American Dream

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For every significant milestone in American History, there was –right behind it, carrying the masses—an automobile that became the icon for that time. Whether it was the Ford Thunderbird that helped usher in the California dream of endless summers and perfect waves or the VW Beetle that symbolized a youth revolt of status quo and drove the counter culture; cars were our mileposts to where we were and where we were going.

In Engines Of Change: A History Of The American Dream In Fifteen Cars, Pulitzer Prize winning author Paul Ingrassia looks at American History through the windshields of those iconic automobiles and reflects on what our vehicular history has to say about the times we experienced. From the Model-T to the BMW and the pick-up to the Prius; Ingrassia travels the country to find out what it is about us, our cars and our country that are so closely connected.

Also profiled are the men (and women) behind the cars who not only built them but who pioneered them as part of society’s zeitgeist, a group so eclectic that names like Henry Ford and Jerry Garcia can share the backseat on a road trip across the US.

So, what kind of car comes to mind when you think American History? What cars today do you think will symbolize our society in the future? Do you still own a piece of American history?


Paul Ingrassia, Author of Engines of Change: A History of the American Dream in Fifteen Cars (Simon & Schuster); deputy editor-in-chief of Reuters; former Detroit bureau chief for the Wall Street Journal and later the president of Dow Jones Newswires; Winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 1993 (with Joseph B. White) for reporting on management crises at General Motors