Autogeddon Paperback – 29 Aug 1991
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A campaigning narrative poem with an anthology of prose writings, this is about the devastating effect of the motor car on our lives. More than 17 million people have been killed on the roads in the century since the first motor car appeared and an incalculable number seriously hurt, or have died later from the effects of road accidents. This is but one fact among many that build up to the evidence of man's heedless inhumanity to his fellow traveller. But this book is much more than a catalogue of death and destruction - of maimed children, of noxious pollution in the air, and through the petro-chemical industry, in rivers and the soil. It is a revelation of the extent to which the human psyche has become possessed by a machine until we can no longer control the effects of it. The author also wrote "Whale Nation".
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This book answered two questions which I had been asking for some time, namely; how many people have been killed globally by the automobile, and what is the annual death rate in traffic accidents? "Autogeddon" put the figure at 17 million people dead (at the time this book was written), and people are being killed at the rate of 500,000 per annum. According to the World Health Organization the number is now 25 million dead ........and counting. The number may be far higher when premature deaths due to pollution from traffic are included.
"Autogeddon" by Heathcote Williams is a brilliant poetic diatribe on the havoc which cars can cause but it offers no solutions to the problem. "Risk" another excellent book on traffic accidents analyses in detail why we take the risks which cause this havoc, but equally offers no complete solutions.
"The Joy of Motion" by John B. Gilmore goes a step further and offers a solution to the problems of transport which allows us to take risks and enjoy the thrill of motion at the same time. ...