Hot Rod Empire: Robert E. Petersen and the Creation of the World’s Most Popular Car and Motorcycle Magazines, by Matt Stone with Gigi Carleton, 208 pages, hardbound; Motorbooks, quartoknows.com/ motorbooks
Fresh off his Dean Batchelor Award–winning biography of Ed Iskenderian, veteran journalist and former Motor Trend executive editor Matt Stone charts the multifaceted accomplishments of Robert E. Petersen and his wife, Margie. While his namesake publishing company looms largest in his legacy, Petersen was so much more than just a magazine publisher. This book sheds light on those varied pursuits, from his love of the outdoors to the landmark automotive museum that bears his name. Stone could not have had a better coauthor, as Carleton spent more than 40 years as the Petersen’s executive secretary and personal manager. Their insight, along with the recollections of many others interviewed or quoted in the book, bring a personal, conversational touch to the writing. The book is packed with photos, illustrating not just the subjects of the various Petersen titles but more personal views of the Petersens themselves. As a bonus, the book also traces the history of the automotive hobby, as it, and the publishing company, are inextricably intertwined.