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The British Car Industry: Our Part in Its Downfall Paperback – 30 Jun 2008

4.4 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 254 pages
  • Publisher: Foresight Publications; 1st ed. edition (30 Jun. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0955952905
  • ISBN-13: 978-0955952906
  • Product Dimensions: 17 x 1.3 x 24.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 357,192 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

James Ruppert is Professor of English and Alaskan Native Studies at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks.


Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Even if you only have a passing interest in all things automotive, this book is a thoroughly interesting read, with wry observations about British society, well-observed descriptions about the 1970s and a humour that's typical of the author's self-deprecating style.

And, if you are a motoring enthusiast, you'll rapidly find the contents of this book wholly indispensable. After all, the author is a highly knowledgeable motoring journalist, with a plethora of facts - some obscure, some obvious but all interesting - at his disposal.

A highly recommended read.
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Aa a committed Petrolhead, I treated myself to this book with Christmas book vouchers. A bit pricey for its flimsy production but I'll get over that. I have enjoyed the book but I was distracted on virtually every page with errors. These were unfinished sentences, additional words which a spell check would not find, "it's" where it should be "its" and more. As a professional journalist Ruppert should know better. If you can ignore these irritations it is an entertaining and informative read.
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I have a great deal of interest in the British car industry, and it's demise. My father worked for the various incarnations of Pressed Steel Fisher/Austin/BLMV/BL/Austin Rover/Rover Group/BMW at the Swindon pressings plant for in excess of 40 years before taking early retirement under BMWs stewardship.

I stumbled upon this book when searching for an updated copy of 'End of the Road', the excellent book about the downfall of Rover. The description and reviews made me decide to purchase a copy, after which I waited a month for it to arrive!

The book itself is written in a quite clever manner - the authour is giving us a history of the successes, failures, marriages and divorces in the British car industry alongside the chronology of his own father's ownership of cars, initially British, but then moving to foriegn vehicles as the British produce bacame more troublesome to own.

This book is a very interesting read for anyone with an interest in the British car industry, especially those who wonder how such a great industry could have . It goes into quite some detail about the significant events in the industry, with suitably dry wit directed against the many errors and mistakes that the industry made as a matter of routine, in terms of business decisions, design choices, and product quality. One important point is that readers who are not technically-minded will not find the text too heavy; the author has taken great care not to get very technical.

The book does provide an excellent potted history of what was once a world-class industry. Alas, it makes it difficult not to feel that the industry deserved it's fate.

The major disapointment is the presentation of the book - Frankly, it's dreadful.
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If you are my age, around 60, and have always had an interest in cars, you will really enjoy this book. It brought back so many memories of cars I have owned and driven over the 40 years since I was 20. Well written from a personal and family background, it contains an accurate description of the history of the UK car industry in a personal and anecdotal way rather than being a book by a nerd for nerds. I would strongly recommend it.
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I liked this book a lot. I did not have far to go for each "fix" of entertainment. It is packed with amusing anecdotes. All are laid on in a linked and highly readable narrative and Ruppert is to be congratulated in that achievement. I really warmed to the general theme. The sad tale of his father's Sovereign struck a real cord and the thought of the "Grimaldi brothers" being responsible for servicing and repair, was one I had every empathy with. Nowhere have the hurt, anguish and complete time wasting, generated by incompetent dealerships been given such fair-minded but complete venting in a book on motoring experiences. It brought back similar memories of events that I had long ago forgotten about. The Grimaldi Brothers - yes that was quite an extended family they had!

My criticism - it is written with a motoring journalist's lack of rigor - (Not that many things are wrong, in fact I generally become more irritated with most motoring books, due to factual errors) - avoid those bits of the story that do not fit, or cast unsubstantiated assertions. I suppose the nerd in me likes all the details right. [One day someone will write effectively about the role of the British motoring press in the downfall of the British motor industry]. Like reviewer "Walter" I was mildly irritated with the lack of quality of finish and errors in the text.

I have given it 4 stars because the main theme is right, the main supportive facts are all correctly defined and I was entertained and enlivened reading it.

I recommend it, particularly as a gift, to an older motorist.
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The book has some useful historical content alongside a lot of anecdotal recollections (it is unclear why we should care about the latter). However, the production quality of the book is very poor. The photos are all poor quality, small black and white images and the writing has not been proof-read. As a result the book is littered with typos and grammatical errors and misplaced words.
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