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Drive!: Henry Ford, George Selden, and the Race to Invent the Auto Age
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Random House Publishing Group 2016
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From the acclaimed author of Birdmen comes a revelatory new history of the birth of the automobile, an illuminating and entertaining true tale of invention, competition, and the visionaries, hustlers, and swindlers who came together to transform the world.
In 1900, the Automobile Club of America sponsored the nation's first car show in New York's Madison Square Garden. The event was a spectacular success, attracting seventy exhibitors and nearly fifty thousand visitors. Among the spectators was an obscure would-be automaker named Henry Ford, who walked the floor speaking with designers and engineers, trying to gauge public enthusiasm for what was then a revolutionary invention. His conclusion: the automobile was going to be a fixture in American society, both in the city and on the farm—and would make some people very rich. None, he decided, more than he.
Drive! is the most complete account to date of the wild early days of the auto age. Lawrence Goldstone tells the fascinating story of how the internal combustion engine, a "theory looking for an application," evolved into an innovation that would change history. Debunking many long-held myths along the way, Drive! shows that the creation of the automobile was not the work of one man, but very much a global effort. Long before anyone had heard of Henry Ford, men with names like Benz, Peugeot, Renault, and Daimler were building and marketing the world's first cars.
Goldstone breathes life into an extraordinary cast of characters: the inventors and engineers who crafted engines small enough to use on a "horseless carriage"; the financiers who risked everything for their visions; the first racers—daredevils who pushed rickety, untested vehicles to their limits; and such visionary lawyers as George Selden, who fought for and won the first patent for the gasoline-powered automobile. Lurking around every corner is Henry Ford, a brilliant innovator and an even better marketer, a tireless promoter of his products—and of himself.
With a narrative as propulsive as its subject, Drive! plunges us headlong into a time unlike any in history, when near-manic innovation, competition, and consumerist zeal coalesced to change the way the world moved.
Praise for Drive!
"[A] marvelously told story . . . The author provides a terrific backdrop to the 'Chitty Chitty Bang Bang' era in which his story takes place. On display are lucky scoundrels and unlucky geniuses, hustlers, hacks, and daredevils galore. . . . Goldstone has written a book that beautifully captures the intertwined fates of these two ingenious pioneers."The Wall Street Journal
"A wonderful, story-filled saga of the early days of the auto age . . . Readers will be swept up in his vivid re-creation of a bygone era. . . . 'Horse Is Doomed,' read one headline in 1895. This highly readable popular history tells why."Kirkus Reviews (starred reviews)
"A splendid dissection of the Selden/Ford patent face-off and its place in automotive historiography, this work will be enjoyed by business, legal, transportation, social, and intellectual historians; general readers; and all libraries."Library Journal (starred review)

"This book contains the great names in automotive history—the Dodge brothers, Barney Oldfield, all the French (they seemed, until Ford, to lead the Americans in development of the vehicle)—and it is fascinating. . . . An engaging new take on the history of technological innovation."Booklist
From the Hardcover edition.
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Format:
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Street Date:
05/17/2016
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780553394191
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APA Citation (style guide)

Lawrence Goldstone. (2016). Drive!: Henry Ford, George Selden, and the Race to Invent the Auto Age. Random House Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Lawrence Goldstone. 2016. Drive!: Henry Ford, George Selden, and the Race to Invent the Auto Age. Random House Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Lawrence Goldstone, Drive!: Henry Ford, George Selden, and the Race to Invent the Auto Age. Random House Publishing Group, 2016.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Lawrence Goldstone. Drive!: Henry Ford, George Selden, and the Race to Invent the Auto Age. Random House Publishing Group, 2016.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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      • bioText: Lawrence Goldstone is the author or co-author of more than a dozen books of fiction and nonfiction, most recently Birdmen: The Wright Brothers, Glenn Curtiss, and the Battle to Control the Skies. One of his novels won a New American Writing Award; another was a New York Times notable mystery. His work has been profiled in The New York Times, the Toronto Star, Salon, and Slate, among others. He lives on Long Island with his wife, Nancy.
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title
Drive!
fullDescription
From the acclaimed author of Birdmen comes a revelatory new history of the birth of the automobile, an illuminating and entertaining true tale of invention, competition, and the visionaries, hustlers, and swindlers who came together to transform the world.
In 1900, the Automobile Club of America sponsored the nation's first car show in New York's Madison Square Garden. The event was a spectacular success, attracting seventy exhibitors and nearly fifty thousand visitors. Among the spectators was an obscure would-be automaker named Henry Ford, who walked the floor speaking with designers and engineers, trying to gauge public enthusiasm for what was then a revolutionary invention. His conclusion: the automobile was going to be a fixture in American society, both in the city and on the farm—and would make some people very rich. None, he decided, more than he.
Drive! is the most complete account to date of the wild early days of the auto age. Lawrence Goldstone tells the fascinating story of how the internal combustion engine, a "theory looking for an application," evolved into an innovation that would change history. Debunking many long-held myths along the way, Drive! shows that the creation of the automobile was not the work of one man, but very much a global effort. Long before anyone had heard of Henry Ford, men with names like Benz, Peugeot, Renault, and Daimler were building and marketing the world's first cars.
Goldstone breathes life into an extraordinary cast of characters: the inventors and engineers who crafted engines small enough to use on a "horseless carriage"; the financiers who risked everything for their visions; the first racers—daredevils who pushed rickety, untested vehicles to their limits; and such visionary lawyers as George Selden, who fought for and won the first patent for the gasoline-powered automobile. Lurking around every corner is Henry Ford, a brilliant innovator and an even better marketer, a tireless promoter of his products—and of himself.
With a narrative as propulsive as its subject, Drive! plunges us headlong into a time unlike any in history, when near-manic innovation, competition, and consumerist zeal coalesced to change the way the world moved.
Praise for Drive!
"[A] marvelously told story . . . The author provides a terrific backdrop to the 'Chitty Chitty Bang Bang' era in which his story takes place. On display are lucky scoundrels and unlucky geniuses, hustlers, hacks, and daredevils galore. . . . Goldstone has written a book that beautifully captures the intertwined fates of these two ingenious pioneers."The Wall Street Journal
"A wonderful, story-filled saga of the early days of the auto age . . . Readers will be swept up in his vivid re-creation of a bygone era. . . . 'Horse Is Doomed,' read one headline in 1895. This highly readable popular history tells why."Kirkus Reviews (starred reviews)
"A splendid dissection of the Selden/Ford patent face-off and its place in automotive historiography, this work will be enjoyed by business, legal, transportation, social, and intellectual historians; general readers; and all libraries."Library Journal (starred review)

"This book contains the great names in automotive history—the Dodge brothers, Barney Oldfield, all the French (they seemed, until Ford, to lead the Americans in development of the vehicle)—and it is fascinating. . . . An engaging new take on the history of technological innovation."Booklist
From the Hardcover edition.
reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: Dale Oesterle, Reese Chair, Moritz College of Law, Ohio State University
      • content: "Drive! is business history as you have never read it before. Lawrence Goldstone tells the tale of the important but now forgotten legal fight over the patent for the automobile. With more plot twists than a murder mystery and a cast of well-known industrial titans, Drive! takes the reader down the road from the dawning age of the automobile, when Henry Ford's dream almost turned into a nightmare."--James McGrath Morris, author of Pulitzer: A Life in Politics, Print, and Power "Utterly compelling and filled with fascinating stories and larger-than-life characters, Drive! is a joyride. I'll never get behind the wheel of my car again without thinking about Drive!"--Howard Blum, author of Dark Invasion and American Lightning "In suitably fast-paced prose, Goldstone tells the enthralling story of the fraught early days of the 'Horseless Age.' The cast in the high-stakes battle includes brilliant engineers, Gilded Age tycoons, and reckless daredevils both on the track and in the boardroom--a heady mix of motors, money, and testosterone. Silicon Valley's billionaires have nothing on these guys for either ingenuity or ruthlessness."--Ross King, author of Brunelleschi's Dome "Goldstone pulls back the curtain on a totally new tale, long hidden from view, about the unsung heroes behind the most consequential invention of the twentieth century: the automobile. In doing so, he creates a refreshingly original account, a bold, powerfully argued retelling of the history of the automobile. A lucid, intelligent page-turner, Drive! will enthrall and enlighten you."--Elizabeth MacDonald, senior stocks editor, FOX Business "Drive! is an exquisite treasure. Titanic court battles; personal feuds among robber barons; hair-raising, death-defying early automobile races; and a slice of history, beautifully researched and written, that shaped the country in the early twentieth century--there is something in this book for all lovers of epic, transformative struggles."
      • premium: False
      • source: Rick Hughey, International Motor Racing Research Center at Watkins Glen
      • content: "Drive! cruises back rooms, boardrooms, and courtrooms as pioneer racers compete for their place in motoring history. Hang on!"
      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        Starred review from April 15, 2016
        The creation of the American automobile. Goldstone (Birdmen: The Wright Brothers, Glenn Curtiss, and the Battle to Control the Skies, 2014, etc.) offers a wonderful, story-filled saga of the early days of the auto age. Against the background of late-17th-century attempts to use controlled explosions as a power source and the eventual rise of German and French carmakers, the author traces the development of American car manufacturing through the lives and work of a colorful cast of entrepreneurs and innovators, most notably Henry Ford (1863-1947), a farmer's son whose Model T would make him America's richest man, and George Selden (1846-1922), a judge's son whose patent for an automobile he never built spawned an industry. Ford dominates the narrative: at once charismatic and enigmatic, he was a marketing genius--the Steve Jobs of his time--who, contrary to legend, did not invent the automobile or mass production but made his fortune by selling the inventions of others. He converted "ideas to cash," which, writes Goldstone, is the definition of innovation. In the process, Ford betrayed associates, borrowed ideas, and notoriously took credit for the work of others. He would clash in courtroom encounters with the visionary Selden, the first American to apply the nascent technology of internal combustion to powering a "road carriage." Lacking funds to build such a vehicle, Selden patented his idea and subsequently collected licensing fees from makers of motorcars. While aspects of Goldstone's book will be familiar to auto buffs, the story is so compelling and well-crafted that most readers will be swept up in his vivid re-creation of a bygone era. The book abounds with detailed accounts of races, auto shows, and heroic cross-country journeys and explains in plain English the advances in automotive engineering that transformed early vehicles from playthings of the wealthy to functional, low-cost cars for the masses. "Horse Is Doomed," read one headline in 1895. This highly readable popular history tells why.

        COPYRIGHT(2016) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        Starred review from February 15, 2016

        In 1895 attorney George B. Selden received a patent for a "road-carriage" he designed but didn't construct. The Selden patent covered all rudimentary gasoline-powered vehicles built since 1879 and manufactured, sold, or used in the United States during a 17-year span. His collaborators, the Association of Licensed Automobile Manufacturers, awarded licenses and collected royalties on automobiles made by other manufacturers until 1903, when the patent was challenged by a coalition of automakers headed by Henry Ford. Historian Goldstone (Birdmen) argues that Selden was a visionary, one of the first Americans to apply a nascent technology--the internal combustion engine--to a vehicle, and that had Selden acquired the necessary funding and political connections, he almost certainly would have become a preeminent auto magnate. Goldstone outlines Ford's eventual legal victory over Selden in 1911; this revisionist work insists that Ford's genius was not inventor but rather as a corporate manager, publicist, and an adapter to the demands of the marketplace. He concludes, "men such as Henry Ford will always be patrolling the fringes eager to convert ideas to cash. And it is that alchemy...that defines the process we call innovation." VERDICT A splendid dissection of the Selden/Ford patent face-off and its place in automotive historiography, this work will be enjoyed by business, legal, transportation, social, and intellectual historians; general readers; and all libraries.--John Carver Edwards, formerly with Univ. of Georgia Libs.

        Copyright 2016 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        March 1, 2016
        George Selden's name is largely forgotten today, but it was he, rather than Henry Ford, who created the automobile. Ford, however, popularized it, as he did assembly-line production, which he is wrongly credited for inventing. This book contains the great names in automotive historythe Dodge brothers, Barney Oldfield, all the French (they seemed, until Ford, to lead the Americans in development of the vehicle)and it is fascinating to read just how distant the events of about a century ago are. Traffic lights were introduced, highways paved, paints improved, engines developed, and the car itself moved from its primitive beginnings to the familiar sight it quickly became. Ford himself, largely absent in the early pages of this book, was not a nice fellow, but after a series of court cases (which he lost) he emerges as the pioneer of the automobile as we know it. An engaging new take on the history of technological innovation.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2016, American Library Association.)

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From the acclaimed author of Birdmen comes a revelatory new history of the birth of the automobile, an illuminating and entertaining true tale of invention, competition, and the visionaries, hustlers, and swindlers who came together to transform the world.
In 1900, the Automobile Club of America sponsored the nation's first car show in New York's Madison Square Garden. The event was a spectacular success, attracting seventy exhibitors and nearly fifty thousand visitors. Among the spectators was an obscure would-be automaker named Henry Ford, who walked the floor speaking with designers and engineers, trying to gauge public enthusiasm for what was then a revolutionary invention. His conclusion: the automobile was going to be a fixture in American society, both in the city and on the farm—and would make some people very rich. None, he decided, more than he.
Drive! is the most complete account to date of the wild early days of the auto age. Lawrence...
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