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Fins

Harley Earl, the Rise of General Motors, and the Glory Days of Detroit
Narrated by: Peter Berkrot
Length: 9 hrs and 3 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (33 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The New York Times best-selling author of Bitter Brew chronicles the birth and rise to greatness of the American auto industry through the remarkable life of Harley Earl, an eccentric six-foot-five, stuttering visionary who dropped out of college and went on to invent the profession of automobile styling, thereby revolutionized the way cars were made, marketed, and even imagined.

Harleys Earl’s story qualifies as a bona fide American family saga. It began in the Michigan pine forest in the years after the Civil War, traveled across the Great Plains on the wooden wheels of a covered wagon, and eventually settled in a dirt road village named Hollywood, California, where young Harley took the skills he learned working in his father’s carriage shop and applied them to designing sleek, racy-looking automobile bodies for the fast crowd in the burgeoning silent movie business.

As the 1920s roared with the sound of mass manufacturing, Harley returned to Michigan, where, at GM’s invitation, he introduced art into the rigid mechanics of auto-making. Over the next 30 years, he functioned as a kind of combination Steve Jobs and Tom Ford of his time, redefining the form and function of the country’s premier product. His impact was profound. When he retired as GM’s VP of Styling in 1958, Detroit reigned as the manufacturing capitol of the world and General Motors ranked as the most successful company in the history of business.

Knoedelseder tells the story in ways both large and small, weaving the history of the company with the history of Detroit and the Earl family as Fins examines the effect of the automobile on America’s economy, culture, and national psyche.

©2018 William Knoedelseder (P)2018 HarperCollins Publishers

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The Glory Days of Car Design and How it Came About

Not just about Harley but many other gifted designers and their contribution to car styling

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excellent listen. I highly recommend this book

Even of you are not an automotive fan this book is excellent. It follows the storied life of a automotive design pioneer with some great sidebars along the way

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Vivid and Entertaining

Author William Knoedelseder has a great eye for a good story, and this wonderfully entertaining, vivid, analytical, and at times cinematic book tells story after story about Harley Earl, his cars, and his era. Peter Berkrot does a fantastic job narrating this book in a compelling and witty way. Several times I laughed out loud while listening. Highly recommended for anyone who likes cars or even just good history.