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Hot Rod

3.75 of 5 stars 3.75  ·  rating details  ·  84 ratings  ·  16 reviews
Speed! Danger! Death! These words were splashed across the cover of Hot Rod, warning readers. Written in 1950, this book gives an historical look at the dangers of teens and reckless driving. After WWII, cars became more accessible, and teens were now hitting the roads for excitement. Many horrific accidents occurred all over the country. Felsen was specifically approached ...more
Paperback, 153 pages
Published 1964 by Bantam (first published 1950)
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Fever Heat by Henry Gregor FelsenCrash Club by Henry Gregor FelsenGo, Man, Go by Edward De RooStreet Rod by Henry Gregor FelsenHot Rod by Henry Gregor Felsen
Hot Rod Pulp Fiction
5th out of 17 books — 2 voters
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Hot Rod Heroes
18th out of 37 books — 4 voters

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Community Reviews

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I read most of the car books that Felsen wrote when I was in junior high back in the '60s. I can only vaguely remember them these days but I know I enjoyed them and that was a good age to read them. They were simple stories of guys with their first cars but did contain good lessons on life and such as simple as they were. I would recommend them to boys in the junior high age frame.
My brother introduced this book to me in High School. I enjoyed it then and reread it about 20 years ago and enjoyed it then, but it did not have the impact on me then that it did when I was a high school student. I loved cars and working on cars then, and just like the main character I went on to study engineering in college because of this book. If I had it to do over again I think I would study business and open an auto repair business :) Great book that captures an era of Americana that is o ...more
My thoughts on this book are influenced by the fact that I read it at age 15 about 40 years ago. I was living in a small rural community and really looking forward to getting my learners permit. Back then at that age it seemed like a great read. I even picked up a few driving techniques. );-]

For me it was the right book at the right time.

Reading it today would be a much different experience. Driving and cars are much more complicated.
Henry Le Nav
I probably read this 3 or 4 times back in the early 60's when I was in junior high school. It seemed like high drama and romance. My stars are based on my memory of it, I doubt reading it today would yield more than 3 stars. Well to be honest, I doubt I could be bothered with it today.
Doug Haynes
This book is horrible, but at the same time oh so good.

It's a strange combination of exploitation style pulp, morality plays and 'Blood on the Windshield' style drivers education films. The story itself and the writing is average or below formula pulp relying heavily on pop-culture and current slang in a sad attempt to make it relevant but the humor is greatly compounded if one realizes that much of the 'technical' info regarding the actual mechanics of autos is complete gibberish and from time
Hot Rod is what made me want to be a writer. I'm not the only one. Stephen King, among others, has also cited the book and it's author Henry Gregor Felsen a major youth inspiration. . Though I'd forgotten most of the story (except the Signal 30 ending) I've thought of the book fondly for decades. I suppose today some do-good parents group would demand its withdrawal from the library due to violent content. Screw them. When the 60th aniversary edition was published with an intro by Felsen's daugh ...more
Whitebeard Books
This incredibly entertaining book was the first I ever read cover to cover in my reading career. I was in second grade and just could not put it down. I don't know for sure what made me remember it now, but just HAD to read it again. It hasn't changed but I have. Still, what a great read for young readers, especially for boys who would all be into hotrods if they know what they are!
This book, originally published in 1950 is a gem and totally holds up over time. It might be a bit heavy handed in the teenager learns a lesson department; but, the writing is excellent and the descriptions of driving, racing and undertaking of a car project are compelling and interesting.
I read this book in jr. high school. One of only a hand full of books I read in school. Making up for it now - I read profusely now. Figured I'd read it once again.
I liked this book enought , it wasn't the best one . I read it in class
John Mullins
A defining book of my youth
Roger Lohmann
As a teenage boy in the 1950s, I was for a period of time addicted to the books of Henry Gregor Felson. Even then, I found the writing to be simplistic, cliche-ridden and not at all challenging. Even so, these tales of adolescent acting out, speed, and cars from the age of Blackboard Jungle, James Dean and Bye, Bye Birdie remain an important component in modern culture for me.
Henry Brown
Felson was a literary safety nazi. His books on car culture are fictionalized lectures on his concept of automotive safety. I have no doubt he was in the crowd that wanted a national 55 MPH limit, mandatory auto insurance and the rest of the regulatory morrass involving automobiles and travel.
It's amazing the kind of dreck that used to pass for young adult fiction.
Loved it at the time (read it at age 12 or 13). Fun, but trite now.
Allen Radtke
It's a morality tale.
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Felsen was born and attended school in Brooklyn, N.Y.C.He taught part-time at Drake University (1964-1969), and in 1977 left Iowa to spend his remaining years traveling.

After struggling financially during the Depression, Felsen sold nine books and hundreds of stories in his first eighteen months of full-time freelance writing in the early 1940s. After war service with the Marine Corps, during whi
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