From the bestselling author of A History of the World in 6 Glasses, an eye-opening road trip through 5,500 years of humans on the go, revealing how transportation inevitably shapes civilization.
Tom Standage's fleet-footed and surprising global histories have delighted readers and cemented his reputation as one of our leading interpreters of technologies past and present. Now, he returns with a provocative account of a sometimes-overlooked form of technology-personal transportation-and explores how it has shaped societies and cultures over millennia.
Beginning around 3,500 BCE with the wheel--a device that didn't catch on until a couple thousand years after its invention--Standage zips through the eras of horsepower, trains, and bicycles, revealing how each successive mode of transit embedded itself in the world we live in, from the geography of our cities to our experience of time to our notions of gender. Then, delving into the history of the automobile's development, Standage explores the social resistance to cars and the upheaval that their widespread adoption required. Cars changed how the world was administered, laid out, and policed, how it looked, sounded, and smelled--and not always in the ways we might have preferred.
Today--after the explosive growth of ride-sharing and years of breathless predictions about autonomous vehicles--the social transformations spurred by coronavirus and overshadowed by climate change create a unique opportunity to critically reexamine our relationship to the car. With A Brief History of Motion
, Standage overturns myths, considers roads not taken, and invites us to look at our past with fresh eyes so we can create the future we want to see.
About the Author
Tom Standage is deputy editor of the Economist and the author of six previous history books, including Writing on the Wall, the New York Times bestsellers A History of the World in 6 Glasses and An Edible History of Humanity, and The Victorian Internet, a history of the telegraph. His writing has also appeared in the New York Times, the Guardian, Wired, and other publications. Standage holds a degree in engineering and computer science from Oxford University. He lives in London. @TomStandage
"There aren't many books this entertaining that also provide a cogent crash course in ancient, classical and modern history." --Los Angeles Times on A HISTORY OF THE WORLD IN SIX GLASSES
"Standage's bright idea really is bright . . . His book is loaded with the kind of data that get talked about at the figurative water cooler... Incisive, illuminating and swift." --New York Times, on A HISTORY OF THE WORLD IN SIX GLASSES
"A zippy narrative . . . [Standage] uses something mundane and everyday to tell vivid and accessible stories about the changing textures of human life." --The New Yorker, on A HISTORY OF THE WORLD IN SIX GLASSES
"An extraordinary and well-told story, a much neglected dimension of history." --Financial Times on AN EDIBLE HISTORY OF HUMANITY