Thursday, April 29, 2010

What is Jason Vuic reading?

The current featured contributor at Writers Read: Jason Vuic, author of The Yugo: The Rise and Fall of the Worst Car in History.

His entry begins:
I teach East European history, a dense and sometimes confusing subject that can be difficult for my students, so I’m always looking for books that are accessible to the average reader. I’ve come across two works of non-fiction recently that absolutely fit the bill: Julian Rubinstein’s Ballad of the Whiskey Robber and Reggie Nadelson’s Comrade Rockstar.

First, Julian Rubinstein’s Ballad of the Whiskey Robber…. Here Rubinstein describes the life and times of Attila Ambrus, “a gentleman thief, a sort of Cary Grant—if only Cary Grant came from Transylvania, was a terrible professional hockey goalkeeper, and preferred women in leopard-skin hot pants.” To Hungarians, Ambrus was a loveable rogue. In the 1990s, he robbed nearly 30 banks. Ambrus eschewed violence, left flowers for women tellers, and once sent a bottle of wine to the police detectives pursuing him. (He earned the nickname “Whiskey Robber” because he liked to drink Johnny Walker Red while staking out future heists). Through six years of robberies, Ambrus became a latter-day Jessie James. He symbolized the...[read on]
Among the early praise for The Yugo:
“Jason Vuic provides a thoroughly researched and illuminating account of what turned into a spectacular disaster.”
The Economist

“[A] rollicking chronicle of the rise and fall of the homely little hatchback that couldn’t ... [Jason Vuic] weaves a tale about crazy socialist factories, just-as-crazy Western financial practices, geopolitics in the days of the Cold War and an American public yearning for affordable cars—all combined with the ‘cutting edge Serbo-Croatian technology,’ as the Yugo was referred to in the spoof movie version of ‘Dragnet’ ... Mr. Vuic is as hard on the Western capitalism that fleetingly embraced the car as he is on the socialist system that produced it.”
—Dick Teresi, Wall Street Journal

“Vuic has written a wonderfully sunny--and thoroughly researched--study of this iconic failure.”
—Stephen Lowman, Washington Post
Jason Vuic is an assistant professor of modern European history at Bridgewater College in Bridgewater, Virginia.

Visit the official The Yugo website and Facebook page.

Writers Read: Jason Vuic.

--Marshal Zeringue