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Download Crash Course: The American Automobile Industry’s Road from Glory to Disaster Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Crash Course: The American Automobile Industry’s Road from Glory to Disaster Audiobook, by Paul Ingrassia Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (175 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Paul Ingrassia Narrator: Patrick Lawlor Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2010 ISBN: 9781400185108
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Crash Course is the epic saga of the American automobile industry’s rise and demise, a compelling story of hubris, denial, missed opportunities, and self-inflicted wounds that culminates with the president of the United States ushering two of Detroit’s Big Three car companies—once proud symbols of prosperity—through bankruptcy. The cost to American taxpayers topped $100 billion—enough to buy every car and truck sold in America in the first half of 2009. With unprecedented access, Pulitzer Prize winner Paul Ingrassia takes us from factory floors, to small-town dealerships, to Detroit’s boardrooms to the inner sanctums of the White House. He reveals why President Barack Obama personally decided to save Chrysler when many of his advisers opposed the idea. Ingrassia provides the dramatic story behind Obama’s dismissal of General Motors CEO Rick Wagoner and the angry reaction from GM’s board—the same people who had watched idly while the company plunged into penury.

In Crash Course, Ingrassia answers the big questions: Was Detroit’s self-destruction inevitable? What were the key turning points? Why did Japanese automakers manage American workers better than the American companies themselves did? Ingrassia also describes dysfunctional corporate cultures (even as GM’s market share plunged, the company continued business as usual) and Detroit’s perverse system of “inverse layoffs” (which allowed union members to invoke seniority to avoid work). Along the way we meet Detroit’s frustrated reformers and witness the wrenching decisions that Ford executives had to make to avoid GM’s fate.

Informed by Ingrassia’s twenty-five years of experience covering the auto industry for the Wall Street Journal, and showing an appreciation for Detroit’s profound influence on our country’s society and culture, Crash Course is a uniquely American and deeply instructive story, one not to be missed.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Rich with insider anecdote, peopled with unforgettable—and unforgivable—characters, Crash Course explains not just what happened to America’s cars, but to its very soul.”

    Geraldine Brooks, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of March

  • “Ingrassia skillfully details the many enormous management failures of the Big Three.”

    New York Times

  • “The story that Mr. Ingrassia tells is concise, enthralling, and ultimately heartbreaking.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • “In order to understand just how much of a mess [the American auto business] was—not to mention how it got that way and how, if at all, it can be cleaned up—you really need to [listen to] Crash Course."

    Washington Post

  • “Employing superb storytelling skills, Ingrassia explains in head-shaking detail the elements of a wholly avoidable collision.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jocelyn | 2/16/2014

    " Lots of information on the history about the "Big 3" and how they ended up in their respective financial woes. The political acrobatics with the UAW and internal politics within the Detroit 3 are something else. I knew they were bad but cheezopizza. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Amanda Bennett | 2/9/2014

    " great book for detroit-o-philes! cars and the car industry's role in our world.... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Thomas | 1/19/2014

    " Easy, satisfying coverage of an all-too familiar topic. Well narrated. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 J | 1/15/2014

    " A Thirty-Thousand foot look from N.Y. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bruce | 12/19/2013

    " An excellent, thourough, and entertaining summary of how the American auto industry rose to powerful heights only to be undone by executive greed and self serving unions and how they are trying to make a comeback. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kim | 12/15/2013

    " You can sum up the car companies and union in one word: idiots. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tara | 12/12/2013

    " I just read through this for a project I'm doing in one of my classes. Surprisingly readable history of the automobile industry and how it ended up in front of Congress recently. If you're interested in these issues, I'd recommend - well written and easy to get through. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tim Munn | 10/1/2013

    " Was concerned after Ingrassia zipped through 60 years of automotive history that he might run out of material but thankfully he didn't. A great cautionary tale for any of us who get too passive and comfortable feathering our own nests no matter the pursuit. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jim | 2/12/2013

    " goes through hsitory of American car industry and how poorly managed it was and how the Big Three and the UAW lived high off the rest of the country until their greed and hubris led to their current status "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ryan | 1/4/2013

    " it's hard to decide if you hate unions or executives or legislators more at the end of this book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Adam Hoffman | 8/30/2012

    " Great behind-the-scenes look to what created the American motor industry which was in such trouble in the 2000's and needed federal bailout money to make it through. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nicole Marble | 2/27/2012

    " The inside scoop on what Detroit has been up to for all these years, how insulated and clueless both management and their unions are, details of the car makers recent bankruptcy - and- clues about tomorrows Detroit. Excellent reading - if you are interested in that sort of thing. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Wei Weng | 1/17/2012

    " Wash you off your prejudice of who causes the demise of auto-industry of stubborn Detroit. Hint: not the government. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Terry | 4/9/2011

    " This is a very interesting book that chronicles the greed, hubris, stupidity and bad judgement that led to the failure of the US auto industry and the bailouts by the US taxpayer! It is well done and worth the read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ruth | 3/14/2011

    " Really interesting read. I had no idea that cars were so integral to US culture until I read this, although the hubris of all those involved is depressing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kim | 1/29/2011

    " You can sum up the car companies and union in one word: idiots. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jocelyn | 8/14/2010

    " Lots of information on the history about the "Big 3" and how they ended up in their respective financial woes. The political acrobatics with the UAW and internal politics within the Detroit 3 are something else. I knew they were bad but cheezopizza. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Thomas | 7/28/2010

    " Easy, satisfying coverage of an all-too familiar topic. Well narrated. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jim | 6/8/2010

    " goes through hsitory of American car industry and how poorly managed it was and how the Big Three and the UAW lived high off the rest of the country until their greed and hubris led to their current status "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nicole | 4/8/2010

    " The inside scoop on what Detroit has been up to for all these years, how insulated and clueless both management and their unions are, details of the car makers recent bankruptcy - and- clues about tomorrows Detroit. Excellent reading - if you are interested in that sort of thing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tara | 2/11/2010

    " I just read through this for a project I'm doing in one of my classes. Surprisingly readable history of the automobile industry and how it ended up in front of Congress recently. If you're interested in these issues, I'd recommend - well written and easy to get through. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Wei | 2/11/2010

    " Wash you off your prejudice of who causes the demise of auto-industry of stubborn Detroit. Hint: not the government.
    "

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About the Author

Paul Ingrassia, the former Detroit bureau chief for the Wall Street Journal, speaks with authority and confidence about the automotive industry. In 1993 he won the Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on the management crisis and boardroom revolt at General Motors. Ingrassia has chronicled the car industry’s successes and epic failures over the past twenty-five years, and as a former executive of Dow Jones, he is one of few authors who has been trained as a journalist and has direct experience in running a business. His is in demand on many media programs, including NPR’s Morning Edition and The Diane Rehm Show; CNBC’s Squawk Box; ABC World News with Charles Gibson; and Good Morning America.

About the Narrator

Patrick Lawlor, an award-winning narrator, is also an accomplished stage actor, director, and combat choreographer. He has worked extensively off Broadway and has been an actor and stuntman in both film and television. He has been an Audie Award finalist multiple times and has garnered several AudioFile Earphones Awards, a Publishers Weekly Listen-Up Award, and many starred audio reviews from Library Journal and Kirkus Reviews.