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qKnow thy gadgets; first step in restoring some kind of wholeness to one's life.q So observes John Jerome about his purpose for rebuilding a 1950 Dodge pickup. Yes, he needs the truck to haul manure, but Jerome also hopes that qby knowing every nut, lockwasher, and cotter pin I could have a machine that had some meaning to me.q Thus his year-long odyssey under the hood, among the brake shoes and valves, becomes more than a mechanic's memoir; it is a meditation on machines, metaphysics, and the moral universe. Nearly two decades after publication in 1977, the essential dilemma of Truck still rings true: as Jerome dismantles the aged straight six, he also disassembles our reliance on qtwo-hundred-dollar appliances that sport flaws in thirty-five-cent partsq and decries the qdeliberate encapsulation, impenetrability, of the overtechnologized things with which we furnish our lives.q Despite gouged knuckles, a frigid New Hampshire winter, frustrating and inexplicable assemblies, and a close call when the truck rolls off its jacks, he perseveres. In the end, he admits, qI did not find God out there in the barnq among the cans of nuts and bolts.q What he does find, however, is that he must make peace with technology; it's a mistake, he says, to qassume there is a point on that line between the caveman's club and the moon shot that marks the moral turnaround, before which technology was somehow benign, after which it is malign.q While Jerome gains a truck that runs-sometimes-we gain new insight into a technology that continues to encroach upon our lives.The engine is the only part of the automobile that most shade-tree mechanics really understand, the one aspect of automobility that has been ... Sears, Roebuck sells remanufactured engines a€” mostly late model a€” starting at about $200.

Author: John Jerome
Publisher:University Press of New England - 2014-11-01

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