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Drive - Iain Borden

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Drive - journeys through film, cities and landscapes
Iain Borden
Paperback / softback
Reaktion Books
UK Publication Date

"The open road"-it's a phrase that calls to mind a sense of freedom, adventure, and new possibilities that make driving one of our most liberating activities. In Drive, Iain Borden explores the way driving allows us to encounter landscapes and cities around the world. He takes particular notice of how driving is portrayed in film from America to Europe to Asia and from Hollywood to the avant-garde, covering over a century of history and referencing hundreds of movies.
From the dusty landscapes of The Grapes of Wrath to the city streets of The Italian Job; from the aesthetic delights of Rain Man and Traffic to the existential musings of Thelma and Louise and Vanishing Point;from the freeway pleasures of Radio On and London Orbital to the high-speed dangers of Crash, Bullitt, and C'tait un Rendezvous; this book shows how driving with different speeds, cars, roads, and cities provides experiences and challenges beyond compare. Borden concludes that as an integral part of modern life, car driving is something to be celebrated and even encouraged, making Drive a timely riposte to anti-car attitudes, and those blind to the richness of life behind the wheel.

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Iain Borden is professor of architecture and urban culture at the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London. He is the author of many books, including Skateboarding, Space and the City: Architecture and the Body.

"To pick up this book is to be taken on a smooth, fast drive. The journey starts in the city, moves out to the open road and then, as the pace quickens, heads up the motorway before a final high-speed dash that might attract flashing blue lights and penalty points. Finally, as the tyres crunch gravel at the destination, the driver (or rather the author) offers his conclusion: contrary to conventional opinion, car driving 'is something to be preserved, celebrated and even encouraged.'"


"You've seen the films, now read the book. . . . Cruises along at an exhilarating speed over scenic routes. This is one of the few books whose chapters are organised by speed limits."

The Independent

"Every now and then a book comes along from an unexpected source that completely changes your perspective. . . . Drive launches a substantial investigation into what it is about cars that we find so appealing, and how this manifests itself in cinema. . . . Superb."

Classic Cars

"What emerges from Borden's account is not a straightforward picture of driving as pleasure, but of humanity simultaneously enthralled and trapped by the car and the world we have created for it-both real and imaginary. . . . Drive is a robust account of the history of driving in 20th-century cinema."


"This isn't a conventional car book, nor is it a history of car films. Instead the author seeks to explore the sense of liberation associated with getting behind the wheel and how we view the unfolding landscape. . . . It offers an interesting and thought-provoking slant on why we love driving. . . . Well written and a pleasure to read."


"A tremendous amount of research has gone into the book and if nothing else, it is the best bibliography and filmography on the subject. To make sense of this vast catalogue of information, it is organised by cruising speed. From steady urban driving, through Sunday speeds, to well past the legal limit - it's no fun unless you're doing a ton! . . . Being taken on Borden's joyride, then, has been more a sublimation than an exploration-he is the best car salesman I have never met."

Building Design

Keyword Index
Automobile travel - Social aspects.|Automobiles in motion pictures.|Travel in motion pictures.|Automobile travel in literature.|Automobile driving - History.
Country of Publication
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