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The Muscle Car Wars
By John Ketwig (reviewer)
The Muscle Car Wars
by B.J. Miller
(Anaphora Literary Press, 2015)
I must admit that I was bitten by the car bug at an early age. I spent my professional career in the car business, and I am a total car enthusiast. "The Muscle Car Wars" is a novel, a work of fiction that takes place in the late 1960s and early 1970s. It was an era when powerful American muscle cars dominated the automotive scene...and also the hopes and dreams of many young drivers and car enthusiasts. That said, I was prepared to enjoy this book, and I did. If you have ever floored the accelerator and felt a 400+ cubic inch engine roar, you will enjoy it too.
The author has done a lot of research into the various makes and models, paint colors, trim levels, horsepower ratings and technical trivia concerning the muscle cars of that time, and he brought back a lot of memories with his enthusiastic descriptions of a young man's life in those days. This is a work of fiction, actually a coming-of-age story with the aromas of hi-test gasoline and tire smoke carefully woven throughout. The author is a confirmed car enthusiast. Still, along with the automotive nostalgia this story contains many of the standard coming-of-age dilemmas we all experienced. The young hero struggles to become sexually active. He longs to escape the family's tombstone and stone cutting business, but he feels obligated to honor his father's artistry and help the business to prosper. The book reverberates with the popular music of the time, and many of the political situations, including the war in Vietnam. It is a good story, but could have benefitted from the attention of a professional editor. For example, that boxy area between the bucket seats is a console, not a counsel. Camaro's is not the plural of Camaro. There is a big difference between the possessive and the plural. Still, this is a very enjoyable tale about a colorful and exciting time. The author is thoughtful and often politically outspoken in ways that most readers of The Veteran will appreciate. "The Muscle Car Wars" is a realistic look back at the sixties and seventies, and it will make baby boomers nostalgic. It throbs with authentic sounds, it accelerates hard and it makes the reader smile. What a time that was!
John Ketwig is the author of ...and a hard rain fell: A G.I.'s True Story of the War in Vietnam which remains in print after 32 years and 27 printings (Macmillan, 1985). A new book, Vietnam Reconsidered: The War, the Times, and Why They Matter is slated for publication early in 2019. John is a lifetime member of Vietnam Veterans Against the War.