Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Thinking Small: The Long, Strange Trip of the Volkswagen Beetle

Title:  Thinking Small:  The Long, Strange Trip of the Volkswagen Beetle
Author:  Andrea Hoitt
Publication Information:  Ballantine Books. 2012. 462 pages.

Book Source:  I received this book through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program free of cost in exchange for an honest review. The book is a paperback advance uncorrected proof.

Favorite Quote:  "Like a still point through the storm, it survived the chaos of so much contradiction and turmoil, and - thanks to the persistence of the men who championed it - eventually proved that an idea created in darkness can indeed become a vessel for light."

Thinking Small is a history book told as a story. It tells the story of a car we are all familiar with. A car that is now symbolic of so much. The Volkswagen Beetle. The "People's Car." What is interesting is that the story is told through the stories of the individuals that were instrumental in bringing this car about and then marketing it.

This book traces the history of the car from its origins in Nazi Germany during World War II to the present day. It traces the journey of the car to America and the influences that helped market the car in America. The book does not truly focus on the technical development of the car itself, but rather tells the story of the car in the context of history and people.

The book is long - over 450 pages - and detailed with a lot of information, some of which is relevant and some that appears as a tangent. The story is an interesting one but sometimes gets bogged down in that detail. I learned a lot, perhaps too much. I would have preferred a more succinct version.

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