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Reviewed by Joe Wisinski for Readers' Favorite
Marc J Rauch wrote Yes, Tin Lizzie Was An Alcoholic: Correcting Bad Revisionist History About Ford's Multi-Fuel Model T to make the case that Henry Ford’s most famous automobile was designed to run on other fuels besides gasoline, namely alcohol. The book presents the other side of a position that says the Model T could only run on gasoline. Also, part of the book makes the case that John D. Rockefeller, the founder of Standard Oil, was instrumental in getting the 18th Amendment, most often called Prohibition, passed. Rockefeller’s reasoning, according to Rauch, was that if Prohibition made it more difficult to process crops into alcohol then cars would need to run only on gasoline, thus benefiting Standard Oil. Rauch says that Rockefeller’s stance is further proof that the Model T could run on alcohol—from Rockefeller’s standpoint, there would have been no need for Prohibition if the Model T could only run on gasoline.
I enjoyed reading Yes, Tin Lizzie Was An Alcoholic. Until reading the book, I was unaware of the controversy between those who say the Model T could only run on gasoline and those who say it could also run on alcohol. Author Marc J Rauch did a good job laying out the “gasoline only” position before refuting it with multiple arguments. I liked the book’s clever name—that’s what grabbed my attention—and Rauch makes his points in a scholarly, persuasive manner. (I don’t mean to imply that the book is esoteric, only that it’s thoroughly researched.) Although it wasn’t Rauch’s intention, his book makes the argument that biofuels could have a larger part in running cars now and in the future. You don’t have to be a car enthusiast to enjoy and profit from this book.