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10 New Automotive History Books That Make Great Holiday Gifts

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Whether you need the perfect gift book for the gearhead history buff in your life or a new read for yourself, you’ve come to the right place. These 10 recently published titles have two things in common — each book dives deep into a fascinating automotive history topic, and each one is an entertaining, informative read that won’t be easy to put down.

Across the Airless Wilds: The Lunar Rover and the Triumph of the Final Moon Landings by Earl Swift 

Product Details: 384 pages (hardcover)

Publication Date: July 6, 2021

Publisher: Custom House

The Apollo 11 moon landing gets all the attention, but later Apollo missions broke new ground, too. In Across the Airless Wilds, Ear Swift tells the thrilling story of how astronauts explored the moon’s surface behind the wheel of NASA’s ingenious lunar rover vehicle.

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Becoming the Motor City: A Timeline of Detroit’s Auto Industry by Paul Vachon

Product Details: 176 pages (hardcover)

Publication Date: Sept. 15, 2021

Publisher: Reedy Press

How did the Motor City turn into the bustling, innovative center of the American automotive industry? This detailed — and heavily illustrated — book traces Detroit’s rise, fall, and future potential, combining a detailed historical timeline with stories about the key personalities and forces that shaped the city.

A Brief History of Motion: From the Wheel, to the Car, to What Comes Next by Tom Standage

Product Details: 272 pages (hardcover)

Publication Date: Aug. 17, 2021

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing

Starting with the invention of the wheel, A Brief History of Motion takes readers on a whirlwind multi-millennia tour through humanity’s advances in transportation — and how those developments have changed the world for good and for ill.



The Brown Bullet: Rajo Jack’s Drive to Integrate Auto Racing by Bill Poehler

Product Details: 240 pages (hardcover)

Publication Date: May 5, 2020

Publisher: Lawrence Hill Books

Like most sports in the United States, auto racing was once strictly segregated by race. This book tells the dramatic true story of Rajo Jack, a Black man who fought his way into the world of California outlaw racing in the 1930s and played a key role in integrating the sport.



The History of Speed: The Quest to Go Faster, from the Dawn of the Motor Car to the Speed of Sound by Martin Roach

Product Details: 256 pages (hardcover)

Publication Date: Sept. 10, 2021

Publisher: Firefly Books

Boasting hundreds of photos and exciting stories of innovation and obsession, Martin Roach’s book takes a deep dive into humanity’s quest to make automobiles go ever faster and faster — and the inventors, engineers, and daredevils who’ve made those speeds possible.



Hollywood Eden: Electric Guitars, Fast Cars, and the Myth of the California Paradise by Joel Selvin

Product Details: 320 pages (hardcover)

Publication Date: April 6, 2021

Publisher: House of Anansi Press

The 1960s pop charts presented California as a world of hot rods, surfing, and beautiful young people on the beach — but what was the reality? This fascinating book looks at the flawed and often tragic personalities behind “Surf City,” “Fun Fun Fun,” and the era’s many other teenage dreams.



Indy Split: The Big Money Battle That Nearly Destroyed Indy Racing by John Oreovicz

Product Details: 432 pages (hardcover)

Publication Date: May 30, 2021

Publisher: Octane Press

In 1996, the IndyCar racing world exploded in controversy and separated into two rival leagues: CART and the Indy Racing League. In Indy Split, racing journalist John Oreovicz tells the dramatic story of how the two sides broke apart, how they eventually came together again, and how this series of events forever changed auto racing.



Midnight in Vehicle City: General Motors, Flint, and the Strike That Created the Middle Class by Edward McClelland

Product Details: 232 pages (hardcover)

Publication Date: Feb. 2, 2021

Publisher: Beacon Press

America’s once-booming middle class didn’t just happen — it was created in large part by union upheavals like the one that rocked General Motors in 1936 and 1937. Midnight in Vehicle City tells the tale of this resounding victory for labor and explores its resonance in today’s world of declining prosperity and weakened unions.



The MotoLady’s Book of Women Who Ride: Motorcycle Heroes, Trailblazers and Record-Breakers by Alicia Mariah Elfving

Product Details: 184 pages (hardcover)

Publication Date: May 25, 2021

Publisher: Motorbooks

Motorcycle racing fans will appreciate this book about the sport’s most inspirational women. From historic pioneers to present-day enthusiasts, The MotoLady’s Book of Women Who Ride is packed with stories and photos that celebrate women’s contributions to cycle riding, design, activism, and much more.



Traveling Black: A Story of Race and Resistance by Mia Bay

Product Details: 400 pages (hardcover)

Publication Date: March 23, 2021

Publisher: Belknap Press

Throughout history, Black Americans have fought intensely just to enjoy basic rights, and one of the key battlefields has been the world of transportation. This book traces how activists and ordinary people alike struck blows against segregation and discrimination, bravely pursuing their right to travel freely and equally across the country in buses, trains, cars, and planes.