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Publisher's Summary

From the Chrysler Six of 1924 to the front-wheel-drive vehicles of the '70s and '80s to the minivan, Chrysler boasts an impressive list of technological firsts. But even though the company has catered well to a variety of consumers, it has come to the brink of financial ruin more than once in its seventy-five-year history.

How Chrysler has achieved monumental success and then managed colossal failure and sharp recovery is explained in Riding the Roller Coaster, a lively, unprecedented look at a major force in the American automobile industry since 1925. Charles Hyde tells the intriguing story behind Chrysler--its products, people, and performance over time--with particular focus on the company's management.

The book covers Walter P. Chrysler's life and automotive career before 1925, when he founded the Chrysler Corporation, to 1998, when it merged with Daimler-Benz. Chrysler made a late entrance into the industry in 1925, when it emerged from Chalmers and Maxwell, and further grew when it absorbed Dodge Brothers and American Motors Corporation. Throughout, the colorful personalities of its leaders--including Chrysler himself and Lee Iacocca--emerged as strong forces in the company's development, imparting a risk-taking mentality that gave the company its verve.

Winner of the Michigan Notable Book Award. The book is published by Wayne State University Press.

©2003 Wayne State University Press (P)2015 Redwood Audiobooks

Critic Reviews

"Carefully documented, well written and full of detail, history professor Charles Hyde brings facts and figures together into the often astonishing story of Chrysler, right up to the merger with Daimler in 1998." (Old Cars Magazine)
"Charles Hyde's book, Riding the Roller Coaster, is a welcome addition to anyone's library of automotive history.... This volume will serve as a standard reference on the history of an American auto maker, its successes and its failures." (Larry Lankton, Michigan Technological University)

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  • Jean
  • Santa Cruz, CA, United States
  • 02-20-15

Interesting

I have always had a fascination with cars. Back in the fifties I use to think the car’s looked beautiful but now they all look the same. I remember in High School I was furious because the administration would not allow me to take auto shop, they said only boys could take the course. I do enjoy reading about automobiles planes and ships and now no one call tell I cannot read the book.

Americans are a nation of car cultures, plural. Automobile racing is a popular spectator sport. The early adoption of the automobile for private transportation and the restoration of old cars to the making of street rods are popular.

It is surprising that there are few authoritative scholarly histories of automobile companies written. Last year I read the biography of Henry Ford and found it most interesting. So when I saw this book on Chrysler displayed on Audible, I bought it.

Hyde tells the story behind Chrysler- its products, people and performance over time with particular focus on the company’s management including Lee Iacocca. The author begins with the story of Walter P Chrysler in 1925 and ends with the merger of Chrysler and Daimler-Benz in 1998. I was hoping this was a biography of the Chrysler brothers but it is primarily a business history book. Hyde discusses assembly line production and the architecture of automobile plants and their management. Hyde is an economic historian and an industrial archaeologist. He is a professor at Wayne State University in Detroit since 1974.

The book is balanced and Hyde does not shy away from making critical observations. I found the book an interesting story of the smaller component of the big three American auto companies. Dave K. Lawson narrated the book.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • TG
  • 02-24-17

Great story with a little too much detail

I did struggle through some of it. it's a great story, but there is a lot detail given for an audio book. for example, do I need to know the share price went from 23 dollars and 33 cents to 28 dollars and 28 cents?

After reading this book, you will likely have more of an appreciation for Chrysler an Bob Lutz.

You may also have a little less appreciation for Lee Iaccoca.

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Wonderfully written. Well read.

As one that loves automotive history, I was captivated from the very get-go. Awesome piece of work.

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Detailed overview of the Chrysler Corp

Captured most elements of the various eras of the corporation and it's key players. At times it jumped around a bit and had some overlap but overall a good listen. Does not include the most recent era though, see publish date.

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Bland and Dry

All numbers and statics, very little about the car makers themselves. The book on Henry Ford was much better.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful