LA Auto Show and the future of cars

How automobiles shaped our society and a speed read of classic road books

Rashmee Roshan Lall
3 min readNov 22, 2023
Image: Karen Vardazaryan, Unsplash

Welcome to This Week, Those Books, your rundown on books new and old that resonate with the week’s big news story.

The few minutes it takes to read this newsletter will make you smarter, faster. If you’d rather listen, click on the audio button above for a human, not AI, voiceover by my close collaborator Michael. These book suggestions — complete with summary, quotes and a visceral response rating — could point you to your next read or sort out watercooler convo and supper small talk. Please share. Find me on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook or YouTube.


The Big Story:

The Los Angeles Auto Show, one of the biggest on the global motoring calendar for 116 years, is underway but with fewer new models. Like Detroit, once America’s leading motor event, LA and other auto shows face an uncertain future. By some accounts, so does their signature product. The car is driving into difficult terrain. Consider this:

The Backstory:

  • The car has had a good run since Carl Benz invented his “horseless carriage” in Mannheim, Germany in 1885.
  • The Paris Motor Show, the first in the world, started in 1898.
  • In America, meanwhile, by 1898, more than 100 companies were getting ready to manufacture automobiles.
  • The Ford Motor Company, founded in 1903, led the automobile revolution with its affordable Model T.
  • By the mid-1920s, America was a country on wheels. That same year also saw the emergence of the great European producers — Austin, Morris and Singer in England, Fiat in Italy, and Citroën in France.
  • After World War II, many American cities replaced their walkable neighbourhoods with highways, parking lots and car-centric infrastructure. It became an urban design template for many parts of the world.

This Week, Those Books:

  • A riveting survey of how cars shaped our society.
  • A loving look at the significance of the automobile.
  • Three road books featuring cars.

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Rashmee Roshan Lall

PhD. Journalism by trade & inclination. Writer. My novel 'Pomegranate Peace' is about my year in Afghanistan. I teach journalism at university in London