The Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of Garbology explores the hidden and costly wonders of our buy-it-now, get-it-today world of transportation, revealing the surprising truths, mounting challenges, and logistical magic behind every trip we take and every click we make.
Transportation dominates our daily existence. Thousands, even millions, of miles are embedded in everything we do and touch. We live in a door-to-door universe that works so well most Americans are scarcely aware of it. The grand ballet in which we move ourselves and our stuff is equivalent to building the Great Pyramid, the Hoover Dam, and the Empire State Building all in a day. Every day. And yet, in the one highly visible part of the transportation world—the part we drive—we suffer grinding commutes, a violent death every fifteen minutes, a dire injury every twelve seconds, and crumbling infrastructure.
Now, the way we move ourselves and our stuff is on the brink of great change, as a new mobility revolution upends the car culture that, for better and worse, built modern America. This unfolding revolution will disrupt lives and global trade, transforming our commutes, our vehicles, our cities, our jobs, and every aspect of culture, commerce, and the environment. We are, quite literally, at a fork in the road, though whether it will lead us to Carmageddon or Carmaheaven has yet to be determined.
Using interviews, data and deep exploration of the hidden world of ports, traffic control centers, and the research labs defining our transportation future, acclaimed journalist Edward Humes breaks down the complex movements of humans, goods, and machines as never before, from increasingly car-less citizens to the distance UPS goes to deliver a leopard-printed phone case. Tracking one day in the life of his family in Southern California, Humes uses their commutes, traffic jams, grocery stops, and online shopping excursions as a springboard to explore the paradoxes and challenges inherent in our system. He ultimately makes clear that transportation is one of the few big things we can change—our personal choices do have a profound impact, and that fork in the road is coming up fast.
Door to Door is a fascinating detective story, investigating the worldwide cast of supporting characters and technologies that have enabled us to move from here to there—past, present, and future.
About the Author
Edward Humes is the author of ten critically acclaimed nonfiction books, including Eco Barons, Monkey Girl, Over Here, School of Dreams, Baby E.R., Mean Justice, No Matter How Loud I Shout, and the bestseller Mississippi Mud. He has received the Pulitzer Prize for his journalism and numerous awards for his books. He has written for the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Magazine, and Sierra. He lives in California.
“Like “Silent Spring” and “The Omnivore’s Dilemma,” “Door to Door” is a rallying point for culturewide change. Hume’s tireless curation of figure and fact, his well-reasoned arguments and his uncluttered, well-ordered prose may turn the ship that’s just begun to budge.”
— Mary Roach, the New York Times Book Review
“So much effort goes to moving our bodies and our stuff around. And as this book makes very clear, it could be done so much better! A fascinating read, from the center of the world’s car culture”
— Bill McKibben, author Deep Economy
“In this groundbreaking work, Ed Humes shows that we could have fast, reliable and incredibly safe transport, if we only had the political guts to choose it. Hopefully, this fascinating work will prompt long overdue changes. ”
— Samuel Fromartz, editor in chief of the Food & Environment Reporting Network, and author of the award-winning In Search of the Perfect Loaf.
“Humes takes us inside the mammoth transportation systems that move things, and move us, around. Door to Door is an eye-opening account of the massive physical systems that support our increasingly digital world.”
— Richard Florida, author of the Rise of the Creative Class, University of Toronto & NYU professor
“This timely book will inspire many readers to change their habits and their views of the future.”