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. In Straphanger, Grescoe hits the commuter road in a global quest to understand and illuminate the challenges of the post-automobile age. Straphanger is not just another attack on automobiles and suburban sprawl but the most entertaining and most thorough examination of global car culture yet written, and an empowering tool kit for anybody looking for alternatives to a car-based lifestyle. Ultimately, its subject is the city, and it offers a global tour of alternatives to car-based living told through encounters with bicycle commuters, subway engineers, professional boulevardiers, idealistic mayors and disillusioned trolley campaigners. Along the way, Grescoe meets libertarian apologists for the automobile, urban planners who defend sprawl, champions of hydrogen and biofuels, and traffic engineers fighting to reduce congestion.
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.