Saving Our Cities and Ourselves from the Automobile

Best English-language Non-Fiction Book (Quebec)
The Quebec Writers' Federation Mavis Gallant Prize for Non-Fiction, Montreal, Quebec

Finalist for Best Non-Fiction Book (Canada)
The Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Non-Fiction Prize, Toronto, Canada

Longlisted for Best Non-Fiction (Canada)
The B.C. National Non-Fiction Prize, Vancouver, British Columbia

Named one of 2012's Best Books
The Globe and Mail, November 23, 2012

Named one of 2012's Best Books Editors' Pick

Named one of 2013's Top Ten Books on Urban Planning, Design, and Development, December 10, 2012.

In Straphanger, Taras Grescoe hits the road, and the rails, in a global quest to understand and illuminate the challenges of the post-automobile age.

Straphanger is not just another attack on automobiles and suburban sprawl, but the most entertaining and most thorough examination of global car culture yet written, and an empowering tool kit for anybody looking for alternatives to a car-based lifestyle. Ultimately, its subject is the city, and it offers a global tour of alternatives to car-based living told through encounters with bicycle commuters, subway engineers, professional boulevardiers, idealistic mayors and disillusioned trolley campaigners. Along the way, Grescoe meets libertarian apologists for the automobile, urban planners who defend sprawl, champions of hydrogen and biofuels, and traffic engineers fighting to reduce congestion.

What the critics had to say:

"A passionately argued and important book." -P.D. Smith, The Guardian.

"A sort of love letter to mass transit—and an oddly compelling and entertaining one at that." —The Wall Street Journal

"All the cities we admire most in the world-the places young people want to live-boast great public transit systems or are in the process of building them. Taras Grescoe explains why: there's nothing more civilized than a great subway, or a bus rapid transit system, or a squad of ferries, or any of the other ways we've learned to move ourselves around urban space. As this splendid account makes clear, a car isn't liberation: not needing a car is liberation!"
-Bill McKibben, author of Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet

"A paean to public transportation, front-loaded with statistics edifying to city dwellers." —The New Yorker

"I was browsing through Straphanger when I came upon a chapter on Tokyo, a city I know pretty well. I soon discovered that Taras Grescoe knows far more than I about the design and infrastructure of that immense megalopolis-and he explains it all in a clear and engaging way. He does the same for a dozen cities around the world, and proves convincingly that cities work best when they treat the private car as an unneeded intruder."
-T.R. Reid, author of The United States of Europe

"Grescoe's ability to mix first-hand transit experience in more than a dozen cities with the politics of city and transit planning makes for compelling reading. It makes you want to travel the world to ride a few more buses and subways."
-John Sewell, former Mayor of Toronto, author of The Shape of the City.

"Cities around the world are struggling with public transit, the key foundation of modern city building. In this wonderful book, Taras Grescoe looks at what is happening in major cities across the globe, and across time. Anybody charged with making transit decisions in any city, and citizens trying to make sense of the political conversation about mobility- from walking and cycling to light rail and subways, and how to pay for them-should read Straphanger."
-Alan Broadbent, author of Urban Nation: Why We Need to Give Power Back to the Cities to Make Canada Strong

"A strong and timely argument for moving metropolitan motorists away from their cars."
-Publishers Weekly