Taras Grescoe has written books that have changed the way we look at illicit substances, in The Devil’s Picnic, and how we think about the world’s seafood, in Bottomfeeder. Now, as oil prices soar and suburbs continue to sprawl, Grescoe hits the commuter road in a global quest to understand and illuminate the challenges of the post-automobile age.
Ultimately, Straphanger’s subject is the city, and it offers a global tour of alternatives to car-based living, told through encounters with bicycle commuters, subway engineers, idealistic mayors and disillusioned trolley campaigners. Along the way, Grescoe meets libertarian apologists for the automobile, urbanists who defend suburban sprawl, champions of buses, rapid transit and light rail, and planners fighting to liberate cities from the empire of the automobile.
In a world of skyrocketing gas prices and political unrest in the oil-rich corners of the world, Straphanger is an essential book that addresses one of the most critical discussions of the near future.