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Short Synopsis
In the tradition of James Stewart's Disney War and Michael Lewis's Liar's Poker comes journalist Paul Ingrassia with the inside track on the meltdown of the American automobile industry.

Full Synopsis
This is the epic saga of the American automobile industry's rise and demise, a compelling story of hubris, denial, missed opportunities, and self-inflicted wounds that culminates with the president of the United States ushering two of Detroit's Big Three car companies—once proud symbols of prosperity—through bankruptcy. The cost to American taxpayers topped $100 billion—enough to buy every car and truck sold in America in the first half of 2009. With unprecedented access, Pulitzer Prize winner Paul Ingrassia takes us from factory floors to small-town dealerships to Detroit's boardrooms to the inner sanctums of the White House. He reveals why President Barack Obama personally decided to save Chrysler when many of his advisors opposed the idea. Ingrassia provides the dramatic story behind Obama's dismissal of General Motors CEO Rick Wagoner and the angry reaction from GM's board—the same people who had watched idly while the company plunged into penury.

In Crash Course, Ingrassia answers the big questions: Was Detroit's self-destruction inevitable? What were the key turning points? Why did Japanese automakers manage American workers better than the American companies themselves did? Ingrassia also describes dysfunctional corporate cultures (even as GM's market share plunged, the company continued business as usual) and Detroit's perverse system of "inverse layoffs" (which allowed union members to invoke seniority to avoid work). Along the way we meet Detroit's frustrated reformers and witness the wrenching decisions that Ford executives had to make to avoid GM's fate.

Informed by Ingrassia's twenty-five years of experience covering the auto industry for the Wall Street Journal, and showing an appreciation for Detroit's profound influence on our country's society and culture, Crash Course is a uniquely American and deeply instructive story, one not to be missed.

"The story that Mr. Ingrassia tells is concise, enthralling and ultimately heartbreaking." ---The Wall Street Journal

"Rich with insider anecdote, peopled with unforgettable---and unforgivable---characters, Crash Course explains not just what happened to America's cars, but to its very soul." ---Geraldine Brooks, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of March

"Ingrassia skillfully details the many enormous managementn failures of the Big Three." ---The New York Times

"In order to understand just how much of a mess [the American auto business] was---not to mention how it got that way and how, if at all, it can be cleaned up---you really need to [listen to] Crash Course." ---Washington Post

"How did America's biggest business sink? It's complicated---three Titanics, dozens of icebergs, and 60 million deck chairs per year being rearranged. Only Paul Ingrassia can explain." ---P. J. O'Rourke, author of Driving Like Crazy

"Employing superb storytelling skills, Ingrassia explains in head-shaking detail the elements of a wholly avoidable collision." ---Kirkus Starred Review

"A fascinating inside look at how ego and hubris destroyed an industry, with riveting behind-the-scenes details and great reporting." ---James B. Stewart, author of the New York Times bestseller Disney War

"A devastating and compelling narrative of the ongoing hubris and miscalculation that felled one of our country's corporate treasures." ---William D. Cohan, author of the New York Times bestseller House of Cards
Kirkus Review

Crash Course

The American Automobile Industry's Road from Glory to Disaster

Author Paul Ingrassia

Narrated by Patrick Lawlor

Publication date Jan 18, 2010

Running time 13 hrs

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