Christof Mauch (ed.), Thomas Zeller (ed.)

The World beyond the Windshield

Roads and Landscapes in the United States and Europe
Christof Mauch (ed.), Thomas Zeller (ed.)

The World beyond the Windshield

Roads and Landscapes in the United States and Europe


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For better or worse, the view through a car’s windshield has redefined how we see the world around us. In some cases, such as the American parkway, the view from the road was the be-all and end-all of the highway; in others, such as the Italian autostrada, the view of a fast, efficient transportation machine celebrating either Fascism or its absence was the goal. These varied environments are neither necessary nor accidental but the outcomes of historical negotiations, and whether we abhor them or take delight in them, they have become part of the fabric of human existence.
The World beyond the Windshield: Roads and Landscapes in the United States and Europe is the first systematic, comparative look at these landscapes. By looking at examples from the United States and Europe, the chapters in this volume explore the relationship between the road and the landscape that it traverses, cuts through, defines, despoils, and enhances. The authors analyze the Washington Beltway and the Blue Ridge Parkway, as well as iconic roads in Italy, Nazi Germany, East Germany, and Great Britain. This is a story of the transatlantic exchange of ideas about environment and technology and of the national and nationalistic appropriations of such landscaping.

David E. Nye: Foreword
Christof Mauch / Thomas Zeller: Introduction
Rudy J. Koshar: Driving Cultures and the Meaning of Roads. Some Comparative Examples
Timothy Davis: The Rise and Decline of the American Parkway
Anne Mitchell Whisnant: The Scenic Is Political. Creating Natural and Cultural Landscapes along America’s Blue Ridge Parkway
Suzanne Julin: "A Feeling Almost beyond Description". Scenic Roads in South Dakota’s Custer State Park, 1919–32
Carl A. Zimring: "Neon, Junk, and Ruined Landscape". Competing Visions of America’s Roadsides and the Highway Beautification Act of 1965
Massimo Moraglio: A Rough Modernization. Landscapes and Highways in Twentieth-Century Italy
Thomas Zeller: Building and Rebuilding the Landscape of the Autobahn, 1930–70
Axel Dossmann: Socialist Highways? Appropriating the Autobahn in the German Democratic Republic
Peter Merriman: "‘Beautified’ Is a Vile Phrase". The Politics and Aesthetics of Landscaping Roads in Pre- and Postwar Britain
Jeremy I. Korr: Physical and Social Constructions of the Capital Beltway

"The individual contributions to The World beyond the Windshield […] reflect ongoing debates on such matters as the prewar planning and design of Germany's autobahns and the extent of European influences on the Interstate Highway System in the United States. […] The book's contributions significantly extend our understanding of the processes through which 20th century highways were envisaged, designed, built, and used."

Rudi Volti, Comparativ – Zeitschrift für Globalgeschichte, 2009/6

"...dicht, verständlich und aufschlussreich […] Die Autoren lesen Straßenlandschaften als kulturelle Räume und versuchen damit eine Kulturgeschichte des großtechnischen Systems Autobahn. Ein Ansatz, der überzeugt,..."

Technikgeschichte 76, 2009/3

"...Generously illustrated, accessibly written and commendably cohesive, the volume recounts an important story about the process of motorization that is often obscured by our fascination with the automobile per se."
ISBN 978-3-515-09170-1
Media type Book - Hardcover with book jacket
Edition number 1.
Copyright year 2008
Publisher Franz Steiner Verlag
Length 283 pages
Illustrations 26 b/w figs.
Size 17.0 x 24.0 cm
Language English