If you’ve read Ralph Nader’s crusading work of consumer advocacy, you will remember the Chevrolet Corvair. Its lousy weight distribution and carelessly designed suspension caused the car to flip over when cornering at high or even moderate speeds, while its steering column had a tendency to piston backward in head-on collisions, impaling drivers. The saga of the Corvair makes up just one chapter of Nader’s pugnacious, deeply researched indictment of the U.S. automobile industry. He goes after everyone, from the stylists who added sharp, eye-catching (and often face- and limb-catching) protrusions to cars to traffic-safety advisory panels, whose work shifted culpability for road deaths from car manufacturers onto drivers themselves. Unsafe at Any Speed made future presidential candidate Nader a household name and helped push carmakers and the government to mandate basic safety features, such as seat belts for all passengers and rearview mirrors. But before you think Detroit’s come a long way since then, consider that in his 1965 book, Nader predicted that the industry would soon embrace a technology that would make seat belts obsolete. It took more than two decades for that device — the air bag — to become standard equipment.
Autobiography / Memoir
Self-Help / Instructional