Davison, Graeme: Car wars

Graeme Davison with Sheryl Yelland

Car Wars: How the Car Won Our Hearts and Conquered Our Cities, Allen & Unwin, Crows Nest, NSW, 2004

War snuffs out lives and begets dreams. For servicemen and civilians alike, World War II was a time of deferred hopes and frustrated desires. For half a decade normal life was suspended, while people put their plans on hold. No sooner had the threat of defeat receded, however, than all the pent-up longings of the war years – sexual, scientific and material – were released. The 1940s and early 1950s were a time of new dreams in Australian society. (p. 1)

The book focuses on the impact of cars on Melbourne in the period after World War II, showing

how the car entered our consciousness – as an object of desire, a symbol of status, a creator of freedoms, a shaper of sexual mores. [This] is a fascinating journey through landscapes changed and cities redesigned by the car, of mayhem on the road and influence in the world of politics, of communities challenged and the environment threatened, and of an ongoing love affair with a machine. (blurb)

A review by Geoffrey Blainey is here and another one is here.

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