Straphanger by Taras Grescoe

83%

17 Critic Reviews

A captivating, convincing case for car-free—or at least car-reduced—cities.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

Taras Grescoe rides the rails all over the world and makes an elegant and impassioned case for the imminent end of car culture and the coming transportation revolution

"I am proud to call myself a straphanger," writes Taras Grescoe. The perception of public transportation in America is often unflattering—a squalid last resort for those with one too many drunk-driving charges, too poor to afford insurance, or too decrepit to get behind the wheel of a car. Indeed, a century of auto-centric culture and city planning has left most of the country with public transportation that is underfunded, ill maintained, and ill conceived. But as the demand for petroleum is fast outpacing the world's supply, a revolution in transportation is under way.

Grescoe explores the ascendance of the straphangers—the growing number of people who rely on public transportation to go about the business of their daily lives. On a journey that takes him around the world—from New York to Moscow, Paris, Copenhagen, Tokyo, Bogotá, Phoenix, Portland, Vancouver, and Philadelphia—Grescoe profiles public transportation here and abroad, highlighting the people and ideas that may help undo the damage that car-centric planning has done to our cities and create convenient, affordable, and sustainable urban transportation—and better city living—for all.

 

About Taras Grescoe

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Taras Grescoe is the award-winning author of four books and countless articles focusing on world travel. He's written for The New York Times, The Times (London), Wired, the Chicago Tribune Magazine, and the Los Angeles Times. He currently lives in Montreal. He has never owned a car.
 
Published April 24, 2012 by Times Books. 336 pages
Genres: Other, Political & Social Sciences, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Straphanger
All: 17 | Positive: 16 | Negative: 1

Kirkus

Excellent
Feb 15 2012

A captivating, convincing case for car-free—or at least car-reduced—cities.

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Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by PD Smith on Sep 07 2012

Good public transport is essential to the success of any world city. Grescoe argues that North America has fallen far behind Asia in its public transport infrastructure...

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Toronto Star

Above average
Reviewed by Nancy Wigston on Apr 21 2012

With 21st century leadership, we might yet emulate those Copenhageners who nurture body and psyche by “hopping on a bike, and starting to pedal.” Sadly, for now, it appears the transit revolution has started without us.

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Toronto Star

Excellent
Reviewed by Nancy Wigston on Apr 21 2012

Treating us to a first-person account of what works — and what doesn’t — Grescoe delivers the goods on transit with intelligence and wit.

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Star Tribune

Excellent
Reviewed by Kevin Canfield on Jun 16 2012

The product of an enormous amount of reporting, Taras Grescoe's "Straphanger" is a persuasive and urgent book.

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National Post

Excellent
Reviewed by Shawn Micallef on Apr 27 2012

Straphanger is a book by somebody who loves cities for people who love them — and to its credit, it doesn’t sugarcoat the challenges ahead.

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Globe and Mail

Excellent
Reviewed by Ken McGoogan on Apr 20 2012

Mark my words: Later this year, you will see it short-listed for non-fiction awards.

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Newstalk 1010

Excellent
Reviewed by Justine Lewkowicz on Apr 20 2012

Grescoe has a compelling argument and every city planner should know the transit history outlined in this book.

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Montreal Gazette

Above average
Reviewed by Andy Riga on Apr 24 2012

He makes the case that vibrant cities are the future and those that make themselves more livable will thrive. He points to Copenhagen, Denmark, and Strasbourg, France.

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rabble.ca

Below average
Reviewed by Eric Doherty on Jun 28 2012

While Grescoe does an admirable job of outlining the kinds of changes needed to deal with automobile dependency and the global warming crisis, his analysis is inconsistent on a crucial point.

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Urban Times

Excellent
Reviewed by Cristina Pietropaolo on May 15 2012

Straphanger is an eloquent and engaging argument for the larger role public transit should have in our lives.

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S. Krishna's Books

Good
Apr 29 2012

While this may seem like a boring subject, Grescoe makes it very interesting.

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BookPage

Good
Reviewed by Pete Croatto on May 01 2012

With Straphanger, Grescoe has fashioned a cogent, spirited call-to-arms that is also a practical, insightful handbook for change.

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Urban Toronto

Good
Reviewed by Sean Marshall on Jun 08 2012

Straphanger is an excellent read for the layperson to understand, and hopefully be inspired by these lessons.

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A Daily Dose of Architecture

Good
Reviewed by John Hill on Apr 11 2012

This makes his tour that much more valuable: Readers can see the links between urban form and public transportation, getting a better idea of what may work where they live.

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PhiloBiblos

Good
Reviewed by Jeremy Dibbell on Feb 28 2012

By profiling the bad and the good, Grescoe offers both a cautionary tale and a call to action, and it's one I hope will resonate with many readers.

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Strong & Free

Good
Reviewed by Mike Simpson

This book is an indispensible read for anyone curious and passionate about the future of transit, and the future of cities.

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Reader Rating for Straphanger
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admin 21 Feb 2013

Rated the book as 4 out of 5

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