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Driving Like Crazy: Thirty Years Of Vehicular Hell Bending
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Driving Like Crazy: Thirty Years Of Vehicular Hell Bending

3.52 of 5 stars 3.52  ·  rating details  ·  338 ratings  ·  66 reviews
Spanning 30 years, this collection chronicles famed humorist and gearhead O'Rourke's love affair with the automobile from mid-20th century to now, from heyday to sickbay.
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published September 1st 2009 by Atlantic (first published May 5th 2009)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 535)
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Brooks
A lot of re-tread material from O'Rourke's magazine articles. Some stuff from the early 1970s. Only 5-10 pages of new material on the current crises. However, still had me giggling.
Kelley
I love O'Rourke. It is just that simple. While he is best known for his political writing he has covered a multitude of topics over the years. True O'Rourke fans know he has written for "Car and Driver" over the years and that he loves muscle cars. "Driving Like Crazy" is a collection of automotive essays and adventures. The humor that succeeds so well when describing how Congress doesn't work also succeeds when describing a drive through Baja California with Mike Nesmith.

I give the book a high
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William
I've been, and remain a huge fan of P. J. O'Rourke's. I've always liked his PG-13 Gonzo style of writing--a tamer version of Hunter Thompson. Witt, & Cynicism are the accounting firm of O'Rourke's mind, and they are well used here. Part travel book, part car book, with digressions into politics/economics/family life, offer something for everyone. While not my favorite O'Rourke book ("Eat The Rich" retains that honor), it is a nice book to escape into, after watching the evening news or havin ...more
Robert
You have heard of a book you cannot put down? This is one you CAN put down.
I thought I would go waaaay off course for my reading taste and try it. I suspect if you are a gearhead it might be something to read.

It was an interesting choice after reading Chris Hedges, Empire of Illusion. This culture is part of what he was ranting about.
Maybe it's a generational thing. I don't know. I found it uninteresting and unfunny.
Noah
O'Rourke is one of my favorite writers and humorists, so I expected a lot more from this book. In most of the new material, it feels like he's playing a caricature of himself, and in the old material, he hasn't finished sharpening his voice yet. Maybe he just loses something when he's not talking politics. I'm not sure what the root cause is, but this book is very skippable, even for a big P.J. O'Rourke fan.
Jonny99
Often hilarious, sometimes droll but for a limited audience. Last year after smoking marijuana at a Westchester County campsite, a woman loaded several children and a bottle of vodka into her minivan and after the equivalent of 10 drinks drove for 2 miles the wrong way down the Saw Mill Parkway North eventually killing herself, the children and two unlucky men in a Chevy Trailblazer. With this story in mind read P.J. O’Rourke’s tales of 30 years of frequently drunken vehicular shenanigans across ...more
Rich
I can't write about P.J. O'Rourke and not put in endless quotes. He is the funniest man writing today. Every night I pray God will turn me into P.J., or at least give me the direct phone number and email addresses of his agent and editor.

Recently I read "Peace Kills," which is a little more somber than I'm used, but then having been written in the shadow of 9/11/01, what else could it be?

Here he's back to his usual irreverent, hilarious self--a collection from his 30 years of automotive writing
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Anna
One (well, me) occasionally hears the notion bandied about that conservatives aren’t funny. This is, of course, as reductive generalizations tend to be, complete and utter bunk; as incontrovertible evidence, I offer the sublime, wicked, merry-making stylings of Mr. P.J. O’Rourke. I defy anyone to read my all-time favorite chapter heading from “Parliament of Whores”—“Our Government: What the F*** Do They Do All Day, and Why Does It Cost So Goddamned Much Money?”—without respecting the snark, even ...more
Scott
This book is based on automotive magazine articles done by O'Rourke, re-issued and (more than once) re-worked for the current political situation, where the Obama "fun-suckers" rule the roost in Washington. O'Rourke is a conservative libertarian, and he skewers both political parties, as well as anyone else in his way. His gonzo writing style recalls the manic, nervous pace of Hunter Thompson. There is plenty of abuse here for most anyone not named P.J. O'Rourke, and he occasionally finds great ...more
Mark
I have greatly enjoyed O'Rourke's political satires, "Parliment of Whores," and "Eat the Rich," but this is a book of a different sort. O'Rourke, who is one of the best conservative political writers, began his writing career as a pot-smoking, carousing, hedonistic anarchist, writing first for National Lampoon and then for Car and Driver. Somewhere in the Car and Driver days, he "saw the light" politically speaking. This book as a collection with commentary of his writing concerning American car ...more
Chris Walker
There are several laugh out loud moments in this book but I also felt rather horrified at times, like when laughing at Pulp Fiction. It took me several chapters to get over what Mr O'Rourke said he'd like to do to Ralph Nader's brain for writing Unsafe at Any Speed in the introduction, for example. The section on driving in the Baja Peninsula and India was rather predictable, too, but would be enjoyed by Top Gear enthusiasts. The witty turns of phrase are plentiful but maybe a little too clever. ...more
Lacey
So far, my continuing with this book at all is a testimony to what a good writer PJ O'Rourke is. The book is about cars, a subject in which I have no interest. The major secondary focus so far seems to be drinking and taking drugs, two activities that have little appeal for me and don't seem like interesting subjects to nonparticipants. There's also a misogynist streak in the earliest of the essays included here. I will say that the misogyny seems to get milder over time, and that O'Rourke's mor ...more
Mark Edlund
How can you not like a book with a first chapter named "How to Drive Fast on Drugs While Getting your Wing Wang Squeezed and not Spill your Drink." This was written during his NatLamp years. The next chapter is his 50 year old self responding to his 20 year old self. O'Rourke makes me laugh out loud even though his politics are just left of Genghis Khan. The story of the Land Rover trip through India was hilarious and the Baja race was close on the laugh meter.
Several Canadian references:
Mention
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Robert Dunlap
You can't go wrong. His reflections on becoming reformed will be truly funny to anyone no longer wild; the lines about headlights looking for Voyager and night crawlers put me in tears they were so funny.
Jay Winters
Book Closing: Having been a PJ O'Rourke fan for a while, I can't say that "Driving Like Crazy" is his absolute best work, but if you've never read PJ before, it gives you a great dose of his hard hitting, laugh-out-loud-while-reading-silently prose. This time, PJ is centering his views about aging and the way that our world is changing by following the vehicles he has driven throughout his career as a foreign correspondent and basically gonzo journalist for organizations like Car & Driver to ...more
Michael Hagerty
P.J. O'Rourke has been a favorite of mine for 35 years...since the National Lampoon years. And I was one delighted Car and Driver subscriber when the late David E. Davis, Jr. brought P.J. onboard as a contributing editor.

But where P.J. disappoints is in his editing and re-editing of what he wrote decades ago. Perhaps at 62, we all would have written things differently than we would have at 32, but not only does P.J's tinkering smack of political correctness (anathema to fans of P.J.), it robs hi
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Anthony
Jun 21, 2009 Anthony rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: car enthuists, libertarians, libertarian car enthusiasts
PJ O'Rourke is one of my favorite authors - a former 60's hippie turned libertarian hawk, he's written for a number of magazines including Rolling Stone, The Atlantic, and currently writes for the Weekly Standard. He's also written for a number of car magazines, and this book is a collection of essays from those mags, as well as some new ones. It's laugh out loud funny in places, like where PJ talks about how the Plymouth Valient he drove in the 60's overheated "because the bong was blocking the ...more
Paul
P.J. looks back at some of his better automobile-based stories from his years as a journalist, updating some with an older but not necessarily wiser man's perspective and leaving some stories of his on-the road adventures alone. Aside from getting too preachy at times about the "fun suckers" out to ruin his desire to drive as fast as he can and suck up all the gas in the world, and of course, the Obama adminstration (you lost the last election guys, get over it already!) it's a fun book. Richard ...more
Steve
I have enjoyed O'Rourke since I first found his writing in Rolling Stone Magazine back in College. This book is a collection of articles written for various sources (PJ has written for lots of different publications) that relate to Vehicles and O'Rourke's love of them which makes it a little disjointed but still entertaining. New commentary to relate the older articles to his current point in life and Libertarian point of view I found myself laughing out loud at the authors wry commentary Americ ...more
David
I have liked P.J. for many years. A lot of what he writes is utter garbage but I like the ideas behind what is written. Even when the ideas are crap. This book is largely retrospective and not being a car lover myself it is really the way he tells the stories that entertains. Some of the stories may have only a mustard grain of fact in them but he elaborates well enough to make them entertaining. Nice that he comes clean on some of his earlier exploits/stories.
Skylar Burris
I usually like P.J. O’Rourke. Though I laughed quite a bit when I read the introduction to this book, I only laughed once or twice during the first and second chapter, and I had to skim more than a little. It really dragged for me. I will have to abandon this read…I’m just not that into cars. Or even a little bit into cars, for that matter. I much prefer O’Rourke when he is writing about economics, environmentalism, war, or politics.
Sean Tremel
Driving Like Crazy is exactly as it's title suggests. Stories about P.J.'s many adventures consisting of a car and America (And Mexico). P.J. goes out of his way to break every law possible at that moment in time, without getting caught. When writing this book, P.J. doesn't hold back on the colorful language, not for younger audiences. The adventures are told in great detail and I felt like I was in the story.
Brett
I knew this was just a collection of his magazine contributions from over the years with some updating but being a "car guy" I found them quite hilarious. PJ has a way of pointing things out in a different perspective sometimes. Or maybe just a twisted way of describing an event.

I think it is definitely a book more enjoyed by automotive enthusiaists than a normal reader might.
Brian Jones
I always enjoy P.J. O'Rourke books, but this one seems to be a relatively minor one. The format, which is based for the most part on updates to automotive magazine essays written over the last thirty years, sets up a strange inconsistency in his voice that is distracting. Really funny as always and perfectly enjoyable, but there are other books of his that I much prefer.
Gene Cords
Vry funny in spots, but also too much funny stuff in others. These are columns O'Rourke has written over the years, and so they carry the flavors of those times--i.e., what was hilarious then may not be be now so much. But he is always a good thing to read. His views of everything are right out there and usually presented with a slight twist of humor.
Robert
Not being a gear-head I probably missed more than a few of the nuances in this collection of car-centric columns, but they are well written and entertaining enough to be worth a read even if you replace every car-centric paragraph with the phrase doohickey and thingamajig, or if you skip them entirely.
Dennis
That PJ O"Rourke not only still has it, but had it from long ago. My only dissapointment came from not seeing his "Handling characteristics of Pickup trucks" from Car and Driver circa '81 in the the book. I still laughed until I cried in most of the chapters.
Lisa
PJ O'Rourke has been my imaginary author boyfriend since his National Lampoon days and this is the first thing I've read from him in a long while. He is just as I remembered, acerbic, witty and funny ~ the very things to comprise an interesting boyfriend.
Surfing Moose
I didn't know that this was retread of older material with a smidgen of new. Since it is the first PJ O'Rourke book I've read, I'll give it a 3 as it was fun to read and try and pick up something that he has written and is only original material.
Joanne Emery
Still reading this one - but so far, it's one of those annoying (for my partner) books that make me laugh out loud in bed! Droll and dark, irreverent and very un-PC, this feels like a naughty indulgence, especially if you love cars. Recommended :)
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P. J. O’Rourke was born and raised in Toledo, Ohio, and attended Miami University and Johns Hopkins. He began writing funny things in 1960s “underground” newspapers, became editor-in-chief of National Lampoon, then spent 20 years reporting for Rolling Stone and The Atlantic Monthly as the world’s only trouble-spot humorist, going to wars, riots, rebellions, and other “Holidays in Hell” in more tha ...more
More about P.J. O'Rourke...
Parliament of Whores: A Lone Humorist Attempts to Explain the Entire U.S. Government Holidays in Hell: In Which Our Intrepid Reporter Travels to the World's Worst Places and Asks, "What's Funny About This" Eat the Rich: A Treatise on Economics All the Trouble in the World Give War a Chance: Eyewitness Accounts of Mankind's Struggle Against Tyranny, Injustice, and Alcohol-Free Beer

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