The Life of the Automobile

Steven Parissien

RRP: £14.99

3 July 2014

Published by Atlantic Books

ISBN: 9781848877078

RRP: £25.00

27 September 2013

Published by Atlantic Books

ISBN: 9781848877054

RRP: £4.99

17 October 2013

Published by Atlantic Books

ISBN: 9781782390213

In this book Steven Parissien examines the impact, development and significance of the automobile over its turbulent and colourful 130-year history. He tells the story of the auto, and of its creators, from its earliest appearance in the 1880s – as little more than a powered quadricycle – via the early pioneer carmakers, the advances of the interwar era, the ‘Golden Age’ of the 1950s and the iconic years of the 1960s to the decades of doubt and uncertainty following the oil crisis of 1973, which culminated in the global mergers of the 1990s and the bailouts of the early twenty-first century.

This is not just a story of horsepower and performance. The Life of the Automobile is a tale of people: of intuitive carmakers such as Benz, Agnelli, Royce and Citroën; of exceptionally gifted designers such as Issigonis, Lefebvre, Michelotti and Bangle; and of visionary industrialists such as Ford, Tata and Porsche.

Above all, The Life of the Automobile demonstrates how the epic story of the car mirrors the history of the modern era, from the brave hopes and soaring ambitions of the early twentieth century to the cynicism and ecological concerns of a century later.


From a Ford Model T, by way of Cadillacs, Golfs and Minis, to futuristic autos, this is an exhilarating ride over bumpy roads.
The Times

Very well-written and incredibly detailed
Auto Express

It's a read to fascinate anyone interested in the history of the industry.
Daily Express

There's plenty here to fuel the petrolhead and the social historian for many miles
Literary Review