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L J K Setright. (Pp 405; £25 hardback.) London: Granta Books. ISBN 1-86207-628-6.
This is an entertaining, idiosyncratic history of the motor car written by a long time motoring writer. It looks at the way cars changed history—examining change first of all by decade, then by associated issues such as the effect on cities and where to stop, then according to particular technical facets from hand cranking to computer control. For those interested in injury prevention, the most significant part of the book is that a history of the motor car can be written without a single indexed reference to seat belts, airbags, safety, alcohol, or traffic lights, slighting and dismissive references to seminal work such as Nader’s Unsafe at Any Speed, which is referred to as a “snide red rag” of a book, and no understanding of the huge social and economic cost associated with road death and trauma.