"Beetle Mania: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and...

Editor's Choice

January 07, 2001|By Michael Pakenham

"Beetle Mania: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bug: a History and Celebration of an Unlikely Icon," by Alessandro Pasi (Thomas Dunne Books, 143 pages, $24.95).

Shamelessly a coffee-table book - or one for the permanent collection in the smallest room of the house - this is a well-designed, lushly illustrated tracing of the Volkswagen's origins and adventures. Begun as an egalitarian master-project of Hitler's Germany, the basic mechanics and design elements grew from the 1930s until, and including, the "New Beetle" that was introduced to the American market in 1998 and is proliferating. Not heavy reading, but the text is fact-filled and the illustrations are instructive as well as charming.

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