Car Culture's Cold War Roots

John Buell suggests that the 1950s consumerism that led to our auto culture was a backlash against the Soviet Union's anti-materialism.

A refreshingly new analysis of the roots of suburbanization: "The auto was also connected to the Cold War at a deeper cultural level. The Cold War was an effort not merely to protect the physical boundaries of the nation against foreign incursion but also to define an American identity. The private auto was synonymous with individual consumption, and freedom was increasingly defined as the right to choose among an expanding cornucopia of consumer goods."

Thanks to Kevin Brubaker

Full Story: Amtrak, federal highways and the Cold War

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