I’ve been in publishing for a long time, and I’m very leery of any book title that includes: “Complete,” “Only” or “Best.”
On the other hand, I’m always intensely attracted to a book that delivers the goods from the very first page.
Miles Collier’s long-awaited “The Archaeological Automobile: Understanding and Living with Historical Automobiles” delivers the goods — and more.
This sumptuous, 390-page book is heavy in weight, but it is so easy to read. Collier is the ultra-rare combination of historian, racer, artist, collector and gifted writer, and he takes the reader on an almost-cinematic tour of the history of the car, why the car has shaped our modern world more than any other technology, why we love our cars and how we can preserve cars — and the knowledge that makes them so special.
I’m not going to attempt a full-blown review of this book right now, but you’ll see one in the next issue of Linkage, which will come out in early May.
I will say that most people who love cars will open this book and find it difficult to put it down.
Collier’s easy, conversational writing style — and the vivid stories he sprinkles throughout the book — take the reader on a fascinating journey.
At start of the book, Collier reminds us that horses dominated life until the onset of the automobile. Collier tells us that 130,000 horses worked in Manhattan in 1900 — and that 1,100 tons of manure, 270,000 liters of urine and 20 dead horses fell on the streets of New York each day.
This set of amazing facts sets up Collier’s statement that horse power was unsustainable in a world that was becoming more and more mechanized — and more crowded.
This is a scholarly book, but it has the flow and narrative pace of a good novel.
I promise you won’t be able to put it down.
You can find this book on Amazon or at www.thearchaeologicalautomobile.com