Whyte recounts the rise and fall of America's most important industry. At the center of his narrative are the titans of the automotive world but also the crusaders of safety, including Ralph Nader and a group of senators including Bobby Kennedy. Their collision left Detroit in a ditch, launched a new era of consumer advocacy and government regulation, and contributed significantly to the decline of American enterprise.
... vigorous, provocative ... compelling, bold and stylishly written. But in his epilogue, Mr. Whyte overplays his hand. He compares the regulation of auto makers to current attempts to hold pharmaceutical companies responsible for the opioid epidemic.
If Whyte frames the book in sometimes off-putting conservative terms—he refers to the array of landmark laws passed by the 89th Congress, including the Social Security Act, the Voting Rights Act, and the Highway Safety Act (mandating seat belts and head restraints), as an 'orgy' of legislation—he does a good job of parsing the self-interests of many of the principals, while adding depth and welcome nuance to this significant American business story.