By L J K Setright
Published byPalawan Press, £75.00 (£195 hardback)
RUussian constructivism, Sumerian traffic problems and the history of canned foods all figure in LJKS’s attempt to place the car in its economic and social context in the first half of this book.
In the second, Setright removes his bonnet and gives the bees free rein. He analyses elements from the gearbox to the wheel itself, fulminates on taxation and ‘the cancer of speed limits’, and adds essays on revolutions, cities, fashion and air-con.
His glee at his own wide knowledge shines through: footnotes crowd every page, on Engels, chemistry and kestrels, with quotes (sometimes in untranslated Greek or Hebrew) from Virgil or Saint-Exupery. Seiright even quotes himself. Both irritating and impressive, it’s beautiful and fascinating. GC