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Women at the Wheel

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Table of Contents

Preface. Driving in Circles Chapter 1. Learning to Drive Chapter 2. Buying a Car Chapter 3. Driving a Car Chapter 4. Caring for a Car Chapter 5. The Car and Identity Epilogue. Nouveau Riche Pretenders List of Abbreviations Notes Index Acknowledgments

About the Author

Katherine J. Parkin is Professor of History at Monmouth University and author of Food Is Love: Advertising and Gender Roles in Modern America, also available from the University of Pennsylvania Press.


"Buying, driving, and fixing cars has always been a highly gendered experience, as Katherine Parkin shows in this engaging and richly researched narrative. But when the focus is shifted from an experience overwhelmingly understood to be male to what it was like for women at the wheel, a deeper meaning is revealed: the ongoing power imbalance between women and men."-Susan Ware, author of Game, Set, Match: Billie Jean King and the Revolution in Women's Sports "If you've ever wondered just what it was that drove Thelma and Louise over a cliff, you need to read this book. In her fascinating work of historical scholarship, Katherine Parkin uses twentieth-century popular culture-from lowbrow to high, from the front pages of newspapers to the poetry of e.e. cummings, from an interview with Newt Gingrich to the fiction in magazines-to demonstrate how American men tried to stop American women from discovering the empowerment possibilities that lay 'behind the wheel.'"-Ruth Schwartz Cowan, author of More Work for Mother: The Ironies of Household Technology from the Open Hearth to the Microwave "Women at the Wheel is a remarkable tour de force. The book sweeps through the twentieth century and into current times to examine how American women have been associated with the car. The scale of the coverage is awesome, and the sources are both numerous and diverse . . . Katherine Parkin has combined the traditional diligence of the historian digging through archives and libraries with the technology of the internet to create an analysis which should appeal not only to academics, but to a much wider audience."-The Journal of Transport History "Now I understand why I so often end up in the passenger seat! Katherine Parkin has convinced me that driving-and all that surrounds it-is one of the most gendered experiences in American history. Women at the Wheel reads like a romp through American popular culture, but Parkin's claims are well worth taking seriously."-Beth Bailey, author of Sex in the Heartland "Women at the Wheel takes a novel approach to exploring-and debunking-the tired but persistent cliches about women's ineptitude behind the wheel. Katherine Parkin's examination of archival and popular sources reveals how both cars and drivers have been gendered in fascinating and provocative ways."-Jennifer Scanlon, author of Bad Girls Go Everywhere: The Life of Helen Gurley Brown

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