Review of Faster, Higher, Farther: How One of the World’s Largest Automakers Committed a Massive and Stunning Fraud
Author: Jack Ewing
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Review By: Shana
This is a solid book of reporting on the VW scandal (thus far). In explaining the contours of VW's efforts to thwart United States emissions tests, Ewing first places VW in history. The book, after a brief introductory chapter, flashes back to the founding families of VW and Porshe (the Piëch and Porshe families), covering their interests in engineering, their place in Germany and Austria during WWI, the interwar period, and WWII, and the personalities at play. Ewing also gives highlights of each car company's products, explanation of some of the engineering behind advances, and a broad portrait of how the larger companies were run.
With this as foundation, we eventually find ourselves moving forward into the present day. We are given background of how the car business was changing, the competition for new markets, and the impact of oil prices and environmental concerns on both. That background, along with the knowledge of how VW was run (and the personality, in particular, of Ferdinand Piëch), sets the stage for the scandal that hit the newspapers a few years back and is still playing out in court (both the legal courts and the court of public opinion).
In the end, this is half history and half story of corporate hubris and recklessness. The book is interesting, but not necessarily gripping. Ewing is very workmanlike, and is clear and easy to understand, but not engaging enough to make this a book you can't put down. A few other reviews have noted that the story is incomplete as we are still in the pendency of legal ramifications (including class actions around the world) and long-term PR effects. I agree, and the story just seems to abruptly end. I will at least be able to keep up to date on developments in the case with a lot more understanding than I used to have, but I can't help but think this book could have waited until the story had fully unfurled.
My love of reading was sparked in 3rd grade by the promise of personal pan pizzas via the BOOK IT! Program. Hmmmm... any chance that someone might give adults free food for reading? Asking for a friend...