------ Wolfgang ZUCKERMANN

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ImageWolfgang Joachim Zuckermann (born 11 October 1922) is a harpsichord maker, author and environmental and social activist. He was born in Berlin, became an American citizen in 1938 and lived in France since 1995.

He saw front line action as a Private with the U.S. Army and followed this by obtaining a B.A. in English and Psychology from Queens College, New York, winning the title of Queens College Scholar, the highest honor conferred upon graduates at that institution.



1. THE MODERN HARPSICHORD New York and London 1969/70

2. THE MEWS OF LONDON Exeter UK 1982 (only book ever written on the more than 500 mews of London

From World Car Crisis to Sustainable Transportation, Vermont USA 1991
Wolfgang Zuckermann, 1991, 300 pages.

There are half a billion cars on the planet, and this is one of the earliest books to take a long, hard look at the contrast between the image and the reality of this fact. Zuckermann offers 33 "ways out" of our car dependence, including pedestrianisation, traffic calming, alternative transport modes, restructuring public transport and rearranging our lives.


This colourful illustrated book teaches children the problems of car culture through the eyes of a family of anthropomorphised forest mice, who decide to buy a car, build a road into their previously intact forest and, eventually, create an urban hell. An eye-opener complete with the obligatory moral message.


5. ALICE IN UNDERLAND Avignon 2000. Social satire depicting the classical Alice in a modern American shopping mallImage

I read this while on vacation in a remote farming village where peace and quiet reigned, so the contrast with the National Automobile Slum was about as extreme as it can get. The book is, of course, a take-off on the famous book by Lewis Carroll (Charles Dodgson). It's filled with odd characters who collide, gently, with the prim, ever-so-polite Alice, who has a great deal of trouble understanding why contemporary America might ever have been arranged in such a peculiar and unattractive fashion. The venerable Wolfgang Zuckermann has managed to mimic the style of Carroll's book surprisingly well. The book is nicely illustrated with pen-and-ink drawings.

If you'd like a Girl-from-Victorian-England look at the absurdities of contemporary US auto-centric life, this book is a pleasant diversion. It's also a candidate for reading aloud to children aged 5 to 12 (assuming that anybody still has time to read to children after spending all those hours in the car).

Reviewed by J.H. Crawford


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