"Witness the emergence of [America's] automobile-dependent landscape in the pages of this book, and you will never again see the world around you in quite the same way."
-William Cronon, author of Nature's Metropolis and Changes in the Land, from the Foreword
"Car Country is the most comprehensive recent synthesis of the automobile in twentieth-century America, of unusual scope and readability."
-Peter D. Norton, author of Fighting Traffic: The Dawn of the Motor Age in the American City
"Car Country offers a valuable historical perspective that is directly related to many pressing contemporary issues."
-Owen D. Gutfreund, author of Twentieth-Century Sprawl: Highways and the Reshaping of the American Landscape
"Car Country is an outstanding piece of scholarship.... Like much of the best environmental history, it utilizes a range of approaches, bringing together political history, the history of technology, and economic history. And like much of the best environmental history, Wells's approach may best be described as ecological: he deftly untangles the interconnections among humans' economic practices, institutional arrangements, and ideas, and the environments upon which these activities depend.... Wells's book is a remarkable achievement. Anybody interested in how the automobile shaped the American environment will regard Car Country as indispensable."
-Theodore Strathman, Southern California Quarterly 95 (2013): 331-34.
"In this lively, learned, and ambitious book Christopher Wells approaches the history of the American car culture from the perspective of the environmental historian.... Wells masters and makes use of the absolutely immense literature on the history of the car culture.... [V]ery strong environmental history ... first-rate work ... a terrific excavation of the sprawlscape that still drives our days."
-Virginia Scharff, Human Ecology 41 (October 2013): 793-94.
"The central theme of Wells' important new book is that whilst car dependency in the United States is now the norm for nearly all people and most places, this is a surprisingly recent historical development.... Car Country provides a valuable historical analysis and record of the processes and policies which enabled car dependency to emerge and become the norm in the United States in the first 60 years of the 20th century."
-Richard Knowles, Journal of Transport Geography 32 (2013): 102-3.
"The suburbanization of the United States has been one of the most powerful social, cultural, and economic trends in the nation's history.... Through an impressive use of primary and secondary materials along with a lucid narrative style, Christopher Wells successfully describes and analyzes the complex interactions of widespread automobile ownership and the ubiquity of suburban life."
-Rudi Volti, Environmental History, forthcoming.
"In this well-written and broadly conceived work, Christopher Wells offers a new interpretation of the way automobiles have reshaped the American landscape.... [T]he book provides a lot to think about with regard to the relationship between technology and the built environment. Moreover, there is a wealth of interesting information about automobiles and road building, the kind of details that will enhance cocktail conversation and class lectures alike for years."
-Lawrence Lipin, Oregon Historical Quarterly 114 (Fall 2013): 386-87.
"Wells is at his best getting us to 'think about landscapes,' and the impact they have on people's decisions about driving.... Wells's study proves that Americans are not hard-wired to love cars, and that creating more compact, mixed-use developments in cities and even suburbs around good transit and safe streets for bicycling and walking can wean Americans from their environmentally destructive and unhealthy auto habit."
-John Lloyd (History, Cal Poly Pomona), "Cars and the Environment Pt. 2: Review of Car Country," Boyonabike! blog, July 19, 2013.
"Christopher Wells' environmental history of the automobile in America to 1960 fills an important gap concerning our knowledge of the complex relationship that evolved between the adoption of the car and changes in the land.... Wells' monograph is a thoroughly researched and extremely well documented study. The attached bibliography is of real value to anyone interested in transportation history. I will assign this book in my car culture courses, as it is exemplary of excellent scholarship.
-John Heitmann (History, Univ. of Dayton), "A Review of Christopher Wells' Car Country," The Automobile and American Life blog, Oct. 22, 2013.
"The relationship between Americans and automobiles has long been wrapped in mythology about the nation's love affair with the road. Wells demystifies this history by studying the structural basis of why Americans need to drive and centering his analysis on how road building shaped the nation's relationship to the automobile.... Car Country is a valuable addition to our knowledge on urban development, the environmental impact of automobiles, and the evolution of the twentieth-century American landscape."
-Erik Loomis, Enterprise and Society 14 (December 2013): 854-56.