Door to Door

Door to Door

The Magnificent, Maddening, Mysterious World of Transportation

Book - 2016
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The Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of Garbology explores the hidden and costly wonders of our buy-it-now, get-it-today world of transportation, revealing the surprising truths, mounting challenges, and logistical magic behind every trip we take and every click we make.

Transportation dominates our daily existence. Thousands, even millions, of miles are embedded in everything we do and touch. We live in a door-to-door universe that works so well most Americans are scarcely aware of it. The grand ballet in which we move ourselves and our stuff is equivalent to building the Great Pyramid, the Hoover Dam, and the Empire State Building all in a day. Every day. And yet, in the one highly visible part of the transportation world--the part we drive--we suffer grinding commutes, a violent death every fifteen minutes, a dire injury every twelve seconds, and crumbling infrastructure.

Now, the way we move ourselves and our stuff is on the brink of great change, as a new mobility revolution upends the car culture that, for better and worse, built modern America. This unfolding revolution will disrupt lives and global trade, transforming our commutes, our vehicles, our cities, our jobs, and every aspect of culture, commerce, and the environment. We are, quite literally, at a fork in the road, though whether it will lead us to Carmageddon or Carmaheaven has yet to be determined.

Using interviews, data and deep exploration of the hidden world of ports, traffic control centers, and the research labs defining our transportation future, acclaimed journalist Edward Humes breaks down the complex movements of humans, goods, and machines as never before, from increasingly car-less citizens to the distance UPS goes to deliver a leopard-printed phone case. Tracking one day in the life of his family in Southern California, Humes uses their commutes, traffic jams, grocery stops, and online shopping excursions as a springboard to explore the paradoxes and challenges inherent in our system. He ultimately makes clear that transportation is one of the few big things we can change--our personal choices do have a profound impact, and that fork in the road is coming up fast.

Door to Door is a fascinating detective story, investigating the worldwide cast of supporting characters and technologies that have enabled us to move from here to there--past, present, and future.

Publisher: New York, NY : Harper, [2016]
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780062372079
Characteristics: 372 pages ; 24 cm


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May 17, 2016

His documentation of the role transportation plays in our modern world is fascinating. Surprising in places like the fact that the significant carbon footprint of ocean shipping is "off book". Our 'stuff' and its innards really do get around! His discussion of today's auto transport tends towards a rant but the picture he paints of what self-driving cars and uber/lift might evolve into was revealing.

Apr 23, 2016

This is a stupendous book, Mr. Humes always researches his subjects to the max - - and to a fanatical researcher such as myself, this is no small praise!
Problem, at times the author goes murky on important stuff. At various points he simply doesn't connect the dots of those for types of transportation, those against modes of transportation, and the financial powers-that-be. [E.g., not in this book but a sterling example: Seattle and the monorail. They've spent tons of money to build everything underground here {which costs 100 times more than above the surface} and gone against the monorail, which would have solved many of the travel woes here long ago, because the Community Development Roundtable, the super-rich who call the shots, want it that way!]
Humes does mention outsourcing and offshoring, but never connects them to the story. He briefly mentions the longshore slowdown on the West Coast, but NEVER mentions that the cause - - absolutely unreported except possibly in USA Today - - was the offshoring of longshore jobs!
On p. 38 he provides us with a nebulous argument for offshoring manufacturing jobs - - insufficient, and how EXACTLY would he apply that to offshoring scientists' jobs, engineering jobs, programmer jobs, attorney jobs, doctors' jobs, et cetera, et cetera?!?!?!?
Why I must give a great book only 3 1/2 stars, I'm afraid . . .


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