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History Unplugged Podcast

with Scott Rank

Cars Are the Id of the Countries that Built Them. What Do The Model T and Pontiac Aztek Tell Us About the US?

00:00 41:50
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The earliest cars were nothing more than horse buggies with motors (the first Oldsmobile was a horseless carriage with a one-cylinder engine plunked in). But once sturdier cars were invented and mass production made them cheap, the 20th century was forever defined by the automobile. It was the first industry to use the assembly line. People had unimaginable levels of freedom and mobility. Whole new industries and services sprang up, including motels, amusement parks, restaurant franchises, and fast food.

Today’s guest is Eddie Alterman, host of the new podcast Car Show. He thinks all cars are great - even the awful ones (such as the Pontiac Aztek). But some cars, he says, transcend their "car-ness." Some cars have a story to tell us because changed how we drive and live, whose significance lies outside the scope of horsepower or miles per gallon. Such models include the Model T, Porsche 911, and even the Lunar Rover. Because some cars are more than just a pile of metal, glass, and rubber. Some cars are rolling anthropology.
June 28, 2022
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Meet Your Host
Scott Rank is the host of the History Unplugged Podcast and a PhD in history who specialized in the Ottoman Empire and modern Turkey. Before going down the academic route he worked as a journalist in Istanbul. He has written 12 history books on topics ranging from lost Bronze Age civilizations to the Age of Discovery. Some of his books include The Age of Illumination: Science, Technology, and Reason in the Middle Ages and History’s 9 Most Insane Rulers.. Learn more about him by going to scottrankphd.com.
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