The Automotive Bibliography
13,000 Works in English, Czech/Slovak, Danish, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Slovenian, Spanish and Swedish
by Denis Veilleux
The subtitle leaves pretty much no doubt as to what this book is about; only two questions remain: why and how? The “why” aspect is easier to answer. Research the author had done in the course of writing his own doctoral dissertation on the early years of motorization in Montreal, Canada led him to conclude that no satisfactory single reference source existed. Anyone who has ever done literature searches, especially into secondary and lower-level material, knows how spotty card and other catalogs, even electronic ones, can be.
This book catalogs monographs, theses, biographies, encyclopedias, company and government publications; even buyers’, collectors’, spotters’, and identification guides. The entries cover every aspect of motorization, including cultural aspects, in works published before 2000—and from 14 languages, although most stem from English, French, German and Italian sources. Not included are juvenile titles, restoration/technical guides, or combat vehicles.
As to the “how,” well, there is more than one way to skin a cat. You have to read, understand, and apply the principles laid out in the Introduction to get the most out of this book. If you skip it and go on a fishing expedition of your own you will without fail mislead yourself into thinking this bibliography is missing more than it contains. Or—and this will satisfy the great majority of searches—you can simply consult the 3 indeces (author, title, subject); the only caveat being that in this case you already have to know at least one of the three criteria in order to get anywhere. The real discoveries, however, are made in finding those things you didn’t know existed, and for that you do have to understand the—inevitably arbitrary—thematic classifications of the book.
There is truly no other book like it. The publisher, McFarland, has to be applauded for even taking on such a niche publication that, of necessity, has to command a high price and still may not make back its money. A book is probably not the way one would do it today because personal computing and the Internet have come a long way since 2003. It’s impossible to keep a book up to date, so maybe the author will take this project online. Still, a staggering undertaking—interesting to all, useful to many, indispensable to some.
Copyright 2011, Sabu Advani (speedreaders.info).