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Fast Cars, Cool Rides is empirically rich, full of arresting observations and revealing verbatim quotes. --"American Journal of Sociology" "Best shines a fluorescent street light on young people in high octane motion, making meaning and community through their cars. . . . Best's subjects articulate an intricate interplay of class, race, gender, and identity formation; she's given a great American institution its props." --Donna Gaines, author of "Teenage Wasteland: Suburbia's Dead End Kids" "Best's insights and observations should help youth workers and other adults understand this often powerful symbol." --"Youth Today" "How pleasantly jarring to be invited to enter Santa Clara Street, to feel the heat of the summer, to smell the alcohol on the breaths of the youth, to hear the bottles breaking on the sidewalk and to, most importantly, be treated to a fine analysis of the experiences of some of these cruisers." --Daniel Thomas Cook, author of "The Commodification of Childhood: The Children's Clothing Industry and the Rise of the Child Consumer" "Has the potential to expand our knowledge about young people's great social power, their contributions to changing culture, and their influence in marketplace decision-making. . . . A compelling and thought-provoking read." --Debra Van Ausdale, author of "The First R: How Children Learn Race and Racism" In Fast Cars, Cool Rides, Amy Best takes the inside lane on how and why young people use their cars as a means of cultural expression. Whether the school parking lot, auto-shop class, or the San Jose cruising scene, and whether the goal is personal freedom, racial solidarity, masculine power, or femininerebelliousness, the car is the vehicle for the job, affording youth the symbolic and material means to solidify their identities within the context of global consumer culture. An intelligent, well-written book on kids and their cars; buckle up and take this ride." --Laura Grindstaff, author of "The Money Shot: Trash, Class, and the Making of TV Talk Shows" "Amy Best once again proves herself a most astute observer of youth cultures. This exciting study of diverse American car cultures brims with insight about identity formation, commodification, and the making of diverse modern selves." --Janice M. Irvine, author of "Talk About Sex: The Battles Over Sex Education in the United States" "Social observers from Tom Wolfe to George Lucas have seen Californians' car-cruising as emblematic of our larger society and social structure. Amy Best studied the scene in San Jose. In her eyes, young people's actions and attitudes toward cars reveal links among gender, ethnicity, material culture, and contemporary social structure." --Joel Best, author of "Damned Lies and Statistics: Untangling Numbers from the Media, Politicians, and Activists" Bass booms from custom speakers, pick-up trucks boast lowered suspensions, chrome rims reflect stoplights, and bare arms dangle from open windows. Welcome to Santa Clara Street in San Jose, California, where every weekend kids come to cruise late at night, riding their cars slow and low. On the surrounding, less-traveled streets you can also find young men racing customized cars to see who has the "go," not just the "show." And, in the daylight hours, in a nearby suburb, you might find a brand new SUV parked in the driveway, a parents' Sweet 16present. In Fast Cars, Cool Rides Amy Best provides a fascinating account of kids and car culture. Encompassing everything from learning to drive to getting one's license, from cruising to customizing, from racing to buying one's first car, Best shows that never before have cars played such an important role in the lives of America's youth as they do today. Drawing on interviews with over 100 young men and women, aged 15-24, and five years of research--cruising hot spots, sitting in on auto shop class, attending car shows--Best explores the fast-paced world of kids and the