As every woman in America knows, automobile culture is highly gendered. Parkin’s Women at the Wheel provides a lively commentary on the numerous experiences that shape that culture. Drawing on advertising, popular journalism, reports from related industries, and automobile marketing information, she charts a century’s worth of examples of how women were pushed to the periphery of automobility. “Most women found their legitimacy as drivers compromised by a cultural expectation that placed men in the driver’s seat and relegated women to the passenger side of the car whenever both were present. The cultural representations of men’s control of cars served to dissuade women from assuming an identity as driver” (x).

Although Parkin provides many instances of this predicament, at times she seems a little too eager to shape the evidence. For example, she cites a 1930 study finding that 81 percent of rural boys drove whereas only 46 percent of...

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