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October 02 , 2008

Mad for Speed

The Racing Life of Joan Newton Cuneo


This book covers Joan Newton Cuneo's life and her role (from 1905 to 1915) as the premier female racer in the United States and spokeswoman for women drivers and good roads. Beginning with her family history and marriage to Andrew Cuneo, it traces her life in New York society, the birth of her children, and Joan's growing interest in automobile touring and racing and partnership with Louis Disbrow, her racing mechanic. The book covers Joan's experiences in three Glidden Tours, including her notes on the 1907 tour, her first races, and her rivals. It also looks at the growth and change of automobile culture and the battles for control of racing among the American Automobile Association, the Automobile Club of America, and the American Automobile Manufacturers Association – which ended in banishing women racers shortly after Joan's greatest racing victories at New Orleans (in 1909). The book then follows Joan's attempts to continue racing, the end of her marriage, her move to the Upper Peninsula, and her remarriage and death. The book also includes a chapter on her female rivals in racing and touring.

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