Book review: Motor Girls: How Women Took the wheel and Drove Boldly into the Twentieth Century, Sue Macy

Macy, Sue. Motor Girls: How Women Took the wheel and Drove Boldly into the Twentieth Century. National Geographic, 2017. $18.99. 96p. ISBN 978-1-4263-2698-1. Ages 11-14. P7Q7

The first two decades in the United States was a time when women had to fight for their rights, and gaining the right to drive the new invention of the automobile was one way that they did it. Macy describes the early history of the car through clips from publications at that time, vignettes of women drivers, vintage photographs, and text about women’s advances. By World War I, women were useful in driving ambulances, trucks, and other vehicles important to the war work, cementing the idea that women were not too frail and “nervous” to be behind the wheel.

Verdict: The book is carefully researched but has a leisurely style not necessarily commensurate with the excitement of women and automobiles. The sidebars also make some of the pages look busy and hard to read. Despite the omission of women who were not allowed to participate in the advancement of women, its unique approach makes it a valuable addition to libraries for tweens and teens.

March 2017 review by Nel Ward.

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