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Worst ever book on F1?


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#51 ensign14

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Posted 24 December 2004 - 22:34

Originally posted by JtP

As for the road to dusty death, I never finished to first chapter and if memory serves me right it may well have been laid down before page 5. I didn't buy it btw, my mother was the alaister maclean fan. For the rest I have happily been spared most of them, I now know not to buy any book "written" by Chris Hilton.

Get the Nuvolari one, or the Hitler GP in England (ignore the lurid title and the occasionally dense and sensationalist prose, there's some good stuff in there). There are 2 Christopher Hiltons; one that has to pour out the routine hackwork to placate the Great Unwashed, one that can write something really decent for the cognoscenti. Alas the latter is not given enough free rein.

The point about Maclean leads me to wonder whether there has ever been any decent motor racing fiction? I've heard good reports about Stroker Ace, but I've never read it (not a fiction fan).

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#52 D-Type

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Posted 24 December 2004 - 22:40

Douglas Rutherford's novels weren't too bad. he did know something about the sport as on one occasion his hero had a conversation with 'the diminutive bearded continental correspondent of Motor Sport' which earned him a favourable review from WB.

#53 Kpy

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Posted 25 December 2004 - 00:14

Originally posted by JtP


Boddy reviewed the book for MotorSport and was slightly uncomplementary. Purdy took great exception to Boddy's remarks and I percieve that a certain amount of letterspassed between them. Boddy to settle the matter published a form of retraction and stated that Purdy's name would not be printed in Motorsport again, not even an obituary. Btw thanks for pointing out how to spell it.

Now writing a boring book on Nigel Mansell must be fairly easy, but Moss! Now I might not hold him in as much esteem as himself, but how do you write a boring dreadful book on Moss?


Thanks for putting me right JtP. Actually I was thinking of the same author - WB took great exception to a book by Purdy called "The New Matadors", mainly because it dealt with and included picures of fatal crashes. Something WB didn't think should be spoken of.
I'd forgotten (still have) WB's vow never to include an obituary of Purdy in Motor Sport. I just think the book is no worse than many of the same ilk that appeared around that time. Bland. I blame Moss, just as much as Purdy, for the result. It took DSJ to sit next to Moss (several years earlier) to bring the whole thing to life and tell us just what Moss was up to.
Now write me an interesting book about Mansell!! :

#54 Vitesse2

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Posted 25 December 2004 - 00:15

Bob Judd and Bruce Carter both knew their stuff too.

I have fond memories of Carter's book "Speed Six", in which a 1950s group of Englishmen rebuild a Speed Six Bentley, run it at Le Mans and beat off all those foreign Johnnies!

#55 D-Type

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Posted 25 December 2004 - 00:21

Originally posted by Vitesse2
Bob Judd and Bruce Carter both knew their stuff too.

I have fond memories of Carter's book "Speed Six", in which a 1950s group of Englishmen rebuild a Speed Six Bentley, run it at Le Mans and beat off all those foreign Johnnies!

Not to mention the English villains in the Atlanta team!

#56 Kpy

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Posted 25 December 2004 - 00:21

Originally posted by petefenelon
I think it was the point at which the headlights of one of the Grand Prix cars (as far as I can tell the book was set in the 60s....;)) were mentioned that made me wonder if Maclean knew what he was writing about ;)


Don't know that one - bound to be a Mclean airport special. And all our yesterdays have crowded fools the way to dusty death, I seem to remember from skool in the 50s. Maybe it's only the fools who leave the headlights switched off. ;)

#57 Kpy

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Posted 25 December 2004 - 00:31

Originally posted by Vitesse2
Bob Judd and Bruce Carter both knew their stuff too.

I have fond memories of Carter's book "Speed Six", in which a 1950s group of Englishmen rebuild a Speed Six Bentley, run it at Le Mans and beat off all those foreign Johnnies!


Well they did. But they built another body for it, got a decent manager, and called it an Aston Martin. :)

#58 JtP

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Posted 25 December 2004 - 00:50

Originally posted by Kpy



Now write me an interesting book about Mansell!! :


The 8th Labour of Hercules?

#59 Kpy

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Posted 25 December 2004 - 01:22

Originally posted by JtP


The 8th Labour of Hercules?


I doubt he'd have taken it on! Put it out of your mind and have a happy Christmas. :)

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#60 Barry Boor

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Posted 25 December 2004 - 09:05

I think it was the point at which the headlights of one of the Grand Prix cars


Spot on, Pete, that sentence did it for me, too!

#61 Graham Gauld

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Posted 25 December 2004 - 09:36

For the record Ken Purdy committed suicide: shot himself during a low.

#62 Gary Davies

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Posted 25 December 2004 - 10:16

I foolishly purchased Murray Walker's 'Unless I'm very much mistaken' when it was first published, thought it was ghastly and smartly palmed it to the local second hand book shop.

Alas, a new copy appeared amongst today's Christmas presents ... Anyone in Oz want it? Cheap. : As new. :wave: :|

#63 dolomite

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Posted 25 December 2004 - 12:24

I'd like to cast a vote for anything ever written by Keith Botsford....

#64 Twin Window

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Posted 25 December 2004 - 12:26

I'll vote with you, Dolomite! :up:

#65 BorderReiver

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Posted 25 December 2004 - 12:51

Bob Judd's stuff is enjoyable, but his sort of "International Finance Conspiracy" side plots are a bit of a turn off, if he stuck to Racing Fiction he'd be okay. He writes on track action well, in the same way Bernard Cornwell writes Battles better than most.

I have "Speed Six" but I havent read it. I picked it up for 20p at a car boot. It looked very "Boys Own".

#66 Simpson RX1

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Posted 25 December 2004 - 13:39

[QUOTE] Originally posted by petefenelon
My own personal "bottom 10":

- Tom Rubython's Senna biography. There's always been something about Rubython's writing that.... makes my flesh creep really. There's actually no need for his book - Richard Williams' The Death Of Ayrton Senna says a hundred times more in a third the space, and even Christopher Hilton's first Senna book The Hard Edge of Genius is better than this - although that was before Hilton got onto the treadmill of producing crap content-free biographies. The Rubython book is expensive bloatware - possibly worth a fiver in paperback if you've a flight or train journey.



Just got a copy of this for Christmas.........................Bugger!! :

#67 Enkei

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Posted 25 December 2004 - 13:47

Originally posted by Twin Window
Could one of my cloggie mates here please explain to me why this lady's name seems so very familiar to me?


She always writes a season preview and review "book". Poor writing.. only the pictures might make it worth looking through it.

#68 Twin Window

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Posted 25 December 2004 - 14:12

Thanks Enkei.

Any idea where I can find out more about her and her books? I think I must have met her in the dim & distant past...

#69 D-Type

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Posted 25 December 2004 - 20:26

Originally posted by Vitesse2
In this festive season, I'm sure some well-meaning relative will burden someone here with a copy of the execrable "Motor Racing's Strangest Races" by Geoff Tibballs. Mr Tibballs' previous masterpieces include ~

Spot on! And I've already got a copy courtesy of a discount store! I hope he's got the receipt somewhere. As compensation I also got Paul Frere's My Life Full of Cars, Mike O'Leary's Mario Andretti - The Complete Record, and David Hodges' A_Z of Grand Prix cars.
So, I'll be a bit quiet for the next few days.

#70 Vitesse2

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Posted 25 December 2004 - 20:48

Aha! I have the gift of prophecy! :rotfl:

#71 Anders Torp

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Posted 25 December 2004 - 21:11

Wasn't there a book published back in 1999 or so about how BAR - under the leadership of Craig the Great - was going to conquer the world?

#72 Kpy

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Posted 25 December 2004 - 21:25

Originally posted by Vitesse2
Aha! I have the gift of prophecy! :rotfl:

Yes you do, Richard - my sister sent me the same dreary book. AND, like D-Type, I'd already made the mistake of buying a remaindered copy some years ago.
Now I have to write a thank you letter. ;)

#73 D-Type

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Posted 25 December 2004 - 21:53

Originally posted by Vitesse2
Aha! I have the gift of prophecy! :rotfl:

Didn't they have a way of dealing with prophets in the Old Testament - they martyred them! :mad:

#74 Vitesse2

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Posted 25 December 2004 - 22:24

Right!!! Who threw that?? :drunk:

Aha! Two copies so far ... how many more? C'mon, don't be shy!!

BTW, if anyone would like a copy of Mr Mutch's masterpiece I know of a bookseller who currently has two copies. :p

#75 Milan Fistonic

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Posted 25 December 2004 - 23:05

Originally posted by Vitesse2


BTW, if anyone would like a copy of Mr Mutch's masterpiece I know of a bookseller who currently has two copies. :p



How much are they asking for them?

I've got four copies!!

#76 Doug Nye

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Posted 25 December 2004 - 23:16

...that's nowhere near as many copies as Mr Mutch still has.... :smoking:

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#77 Ivan

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Posted 26 December 2004 - 00:35

I have the Tom Rubython - Senna book.
I thought it was very good. I did however think it was needlessly wordy.

#78 Zawed

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Posted 26 December 2004 - 04:57

Originally posted by Anders Torp
Wasn't there a book published back in 1999 or so about how BAR - under the leadership of Craig the Great - was going to conquer the world?


From Dream to Reality by Gerald Donaldson, published by Hazelton. It's sitting in my bookshelf, and I have looked at it just once since I picked up from the bookshop bargin bin. I think there might be two editions of this book, illustrated by two different photographers.

Most of Alan Henry's stuff recently has been utter tripe, and I see his latest effort is the
"unauthorised" biography of Jenson Button. I don't know about other people, but I find it is an irritation to see biographies of drivers still competing in F1, and who have several years of their F1 career ahead of them, being published. Smacks of sensationalism and trying to capitalise on the history of an individual before they have had too much of a chance to create history. I suppose though there is a market for them, otherwise they wouldn't be published.

#79 petefenelon

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Posted 26 December 2004 - 10:14

Originally posted by ensign14

The point about Maclean leads me to wonder whether there has ever been any decent motor racing fiction? I've heard good reports about Stroker Ace, but I've never read it (not a fiction fan).


Burt Levy's "The Last Open Road" trilogy is uniformly excellent.

Bob Judd's first few novels were pretty good (given that Bob has a background in racing the background was pretty reasonable), although the later ones turned into fairly generic techno-thrillers with a little bit of racing background.

I did once download an e-book called "The Ragged Edge" that wasn't devoid of promise - set in the late 60s and about an American privateer team having a go at F1. Not brilliant, but certainly atmospheric, fairly well-researched and readable. Can't remember the author's name - I'm not at home at the moment so can't ferret around my LAN to find it!

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#80 petefenelon

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Posted 26 December 2004 - 10:21

Originally posted by Zawed


From Dream to Reality by Gerald Donaldson, published by Hazelton. It's sitting in my bookshelf, and I have looked at it just once since I picked up from the bookshop bargin bin. I think there might be two editions of this book, illustrated by two different photographers.

Most of Alan Henry's stuff recently has been utter tripe, and I see his latest effort is the
"unauthorised" biography of Jenson Button. I don't know about other people, but I find it is an irritation to see biographies of drivers still competing in F1, and who have several years of their F1 career ahead of them, being published. Smacks of sensationalism and trying to capitalise on the history of an individual before they have had too much of a chance to create history. I suppose though there is a market for them, otherwise they wouldn't be published.


There were two awful BAR PR fluff books - "Realisation Of A Dream" (about the setting up of the team) by Alan Henry and "From Dream To Reality" by Gerry Donaldson about how it was a load of crap. Both were shameless fluff of the worst order, although the pictures (when not excessively and pretentiously arty) were occasionally good.

I suspect that even if Jenks himself had written a book on BAR's first season I would've loathed it though - something about the way Craig Pollock went racing caused my hackles to rise.;)

#81 Vitesse2

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Posted 26 December 2004 - 11:42

Originally posted by petefenelon
.... something about the way Craig Pollock went racing caused my hackles to rise.;)


Kicking the metaphorical cr*p out of Uncle Ken, for one thing .... :mad:

#82 petefenelon

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Posted 26 December 2004 - 13:43

Originally posted by Vitesse2


Kicking the metaphorical cr*p out of Uncle Ken, for one thing .... :mad:


Exactly, then only taking on about four of his men :(

#83 Ruairidh

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Posted 26 December 2004 - 15:56

Originally posted by petefenelon



Bob Judd's first few novels were pretty good (given that Bob has a background in racing the background was pretty reasonable), although the later ones turned into fairly generic techno-thrillers with a little bit of racing background.

!


Yep, I actually thought his first two racing books were even better than pretty good, they got an excellent from me - both for the racing bits and the insight into motor racing drivers.....

Tailed off a wee bit from there in the next racing ones - still OK reads though.

#84 petefenelon

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Posted 26 December 2004 - 16:12

Originally posted by petefenelon

I did once download an e-book called "The Ragged Edge" that wasn't devoid of promise - set in the late 60s and about an American privateer team having a go at F1. Not brilliant, but certainly atmospheric, fairly well-researched and readable. Can't remember the author's name - I'm not at home at the moment so can't ferret around my LAN to find it!


Found it. Author's name is Richard Nisley, website http://www.racingfiction.com. Certainly worth buying the e-book.



#85 petefenelon

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Posted 26 December 2004 - 17:31

Originally posted by Barry Lake



It's worth having a flick through such books when they turn up on the bargain tables. You never know what you might find buried in amongst the otherwise worthless material.


When I was young and daft in my early teens - I suspect in about '83 - I saw a copy of John Wyer's "The Certain Sound" (sans dust-jacket) on the remainder table in the basement of a department store in Liverpool. For a fiver............... You can't believe the kickings I've given myself over that over the years - paid over 20 times that for a copy a couple of years ago!

Ouch.

#86 petefenelon

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Posted 26 December 2004 - 17:39

Originally posted by dolomite
I'd like to cast a vote for anything ever written by Keith Botsford....


His Alan Jones book is OK, 'cos there's a lot of direct AJ quotes in it.

His Rosberg one's awful - seems to be no rapport between author and subject and anything that makes Rosberg sound boring is clearly a badly wrong book.

#87 EcosseF1

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Posted 27 December 2004 - 03:52

I'd like to nominate Timothy Collings' bio of Jacques Villeneuve. I gave up after two chapters...got the distinct impression they had never spoken.

I have to agree about Botsford's Rosberg book too...it's now quite rare and I spent ages looking for a copy. What a let-down. He also wrote a real pot-boiler called "Champions of Formula One" which tries very hard to be "controversial". Avoid like the plague. :down:

#88 Geza Sury

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Posted 27 December 2004 - 08:32

Originally posted by EcosseF1
I'd like to nominate Timothy Collings bio of Jacques Villeneuve. I gave up after two chapters...got the distinct impression they had never spoken.

This book is sitting on my bookshelf for a while now. After reading Collings' Eddie Jordan bio, I'm not sure I would start reading it in the very near future. And I also bought Mr Collings' Jackie Stewart book...

#89 bretonbanquet

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Posted 27 December 2004 - 15:03

Originally posted by Vitesse2
In this festive season, I'm sure some well-meaning relative will burden someone here with a copy of the execrable "Motor Racing's Strangest Races" by Geoff Tibballs.


I'm afraid I must add my name to this list... even if it was a couple of Christmases ago :

A good friend of mine has been similarly blighted by three copies of "Rugby's Strangest Matches", so clearly these books hold some unhappy attraction for well-meaning-but-inspirationally-challenged relatives during frantic Christmas shopping sessions :cat:

#90 Lutz G

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Posted 30 December 2004 - 12:15

Originally posted by Muzza
I have read quite a few terrible books about Formula 1, but nothing as bad as Heinz PrĂ¼ller's biography of Jochen Rindt.

It is so bad, but so bad, that I thought "ok, it is not possible someone would write so poorly - especially a professional journalist. It must have been the translator." Thus I had the cojones of finding an edition in German (what took me more than half a year) and try to read it - with a dictionary on my lap, as I basically don't speak German. And, to my surprise, the original was as bad as the English translation...

:down:


Why? What's the Title? I got "Der James Dean der F1" and I loved it. Especially the documents - for example this letter from Rindt to Colin Chapman (9.5.1969, after the Barcelona shunt) :

-snip-

I just got back to Geneva and I am going to have a second opinion on the state of my head tomorrow . Personally I feel very weak an ill, I still have to lay down most of the day, After seeing the new Doktor and hearing his opinion we can make a final decesion on Monaco and Indy.

I got hold of this incdredibly picture which pretty much explains the accident, I didn't know it would fly that high, Robin Herd apparently saw the wing go, but could not see the accident, since it happened around the corner.

Now to the whole situation, Colin, I have been racing F1 for 5 years and I have made one mistake (I rammed Chris amon in Clemmont Ferrand) and I had one accident in Zandvoort due to gearselektion failure otherwise I managed to stay out of trouble, This situation changed rapidly since I joined your team , Levin, Eifelrace FII wishbones and now Barcelona.
Honestly your cars are so quick that we would still be competetive with e few extra pounds used to make the weakest parts stronger, on top of that I think you ought to spend some time chekcing what your diffrent employes are doing. I sure the wishbones on the F II car would have looked different. Please give my suggestions some thought, I can only drive a car in which I have some confidence, and I feel the point of no confidence is quite near.

-snap-

Lutz

#91 Lutz G

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Posted 30 December 2004 - 12:32

Originally posted by petefenelon
My own personal "bottom 10":

-
- Murray Walker's autobiography. Rather too "sanitised" for my taste, and again doesn't say an awful lot about Murray the man - would've liked to hear more about his Army, motorcycling and advertising days and less about the wonderful camaraderie in the paddock. Worth the four quid I paid for it in paperback, and anyway I have one of the rare unsigned copies ;)


Is this about "unless I'm very much mistaken"? More? There are hundreds of pages about his advertising and army days... Took me a while to "fight" through these chapters. Love especially the second 500 pages about Hunt & co ;) Great read.

Lutz

#92 Garagiste

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Posted 30 December 2004 - 12:49

Originally posted by bretonbanquet


I'm afraid I must add my name to this list... even if it was a couple of Christmases ago :

A good friend of mine has been similarly blighted by three copies of "Rugby's Strangest Matches", so clearly these books hold some unhappy attraction for well-meaning-but-inspirationally-challenged relatives during frantic Christmas shopping sessions :cat:



:wave: Another one here! I also got it at least a couple of years back. WH Smiths had got desperate and packaged it with a hip flask "To keep you warm whilst you watch".
The flask isn't bad actually!

Anybody who hasn't done so yet really must check out this weeks bookworm critique, BTW! :lol:

#93 ensign14

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Posted 30 December 2004 - 12:52

Murray's yearbooks used to be quite fun and a cheap review of the season, but when they became "Grand Prix Year" they became a sad joke, full of asinine 'witticisms' and pictures of babes (which were better than the pics of the cars, but in a GP book...). Haven't seen one this year.

#94 Doug Nye

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Posted 30 December 2004 - 20:56

Not sure I should say what I'm about to - but here goes anyway. When someone the racing press like, or respect, or admire, writes a turkey of a book it's usually considered kindest by his confreres NOT to review it.

Unless I'm very much mistaken, consider the number of reviews you have read from good people on...

DCN

#95 brucemoxon

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Posted 30 December 2004 - 21:05

I'll add my vote to "The Road to Dusty Death". Oh. My. God.

I'll agree wholeheartedly about Burt Levy's books (number four is coming, they tell me) and add Evan Green's "Dust and Glory" to the Good Read section. 1950s car trialling (or rallying) by one who's a) been there, b) done that and c) writes intelligently about it. And the story's pretty entertaining too.

Another one with a hint of racing is "Heaven Has No Favourites" by Erich Maria Remarque (also wrote "All Quiet on the Western Front") - not about racing but there is racing and the romantic lead is a racing driver who befriends (and then some) a girl who's decided to spend her last days living, not waiting to die. Was made into the movie "Bobby Deerfield". Pretty good book - not sure I can say the same for the film.

Then there's "The Green Helmet", by John Cleary - not a bad yarn. And there's a bit of racing (indeed the Last Grand Prix Ever) in Nevil Shute's "On The Beach".

All the above is my opinion only (I learned a hard lesson recently).



Bruce Moxon

#96 Barry Lake

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Posted 31 December 2004 - 07:32

Somehow "The Worst" in this thread has become, occasionally, "The Best".

I don't often read fiction, but sometimes make an exception in the case of motor racing.

One I liked a lot, and once recommended on TNF but someone who bought it on my say-so came back to say they couldn't see what I saw in it, is Speed Triumphant by Pierre Fisson. Presumably originally in French, it was published in English in 1951. I had seen it advertised in magazines in the early 1950s, didn't get a copy until 1974, probably read it even later. What intrigued me was that the author had apparently ridden with the Gordini team mechanics in the team transporter to race meetings in late 1940s (1948 seems to ring a bell). The hero of the book was woven into the real races as an extra team member. Barring his inclusion, subsequent research by me found that the race reports were spot-on; I found no errors. So it was an insight into racing of the era, the Gordini team and its mechanics and drivers, the Gordini factory in Paris, and so on that enthralled me. Since then there have been books on Gordini and I have learned gradually more of the era, so perhaps it wouldn't be so exciting now. At the time, with my thirst for any information on the pre-1950 era, I thought it was great. And not a bad story, from memory, though certainly no classic.

In 1983, 1984 and 1985, an author named Andrew Neilson wrote three books on motor racing, respectively, Braking Point, Dead Straight and Monza Protest which I acquired and read in paperback form and found quite enjoyable. A couple of years before reading the latter, I had been to the Italian Grand Prix at Monza and (on a separate occasion) had stayed at Villa d'Este, where the grand prix drivers stayed. The descriptions in the book were spot on. When he described the road to the Villa, for example, I could picture each exact spot in my mind.

Having never heard of Neilson before or since those three novels, I did a Google search but could find no record of his having written anything else - or anything about him for that matter. I had/have never heard of him relative to motor sport. Yet he obviously either knew the subject well, or put a lot of research into those books.

Does anyone know anything about the man?

#97 ensign14

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Posted 31 December 2004 - 08:46

Mm...sounds as if it was a pseudonym of a better known writer having an experiment...

Can I throw one in that polarizes opinion?

"Mr Monaco" by Tony Rudlin...read it once, about 10 years ago, and all I can remember is that it seemed like a character assassination of someone who could not sue...

#98 Maldwyn

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Posted 31 December 2004 - 08:59

Originally posted by ensign14
Get the Nuvolari one...There are 2 Christopher Hiltons; one that has to pour out the routine hackwork to placate the Great Unwashed, one that can write something really decent for the cognoscenti. Alas the latter is not given enough free rein.

I received the Nuvolari one for Christmas and am reading it now. It appears to have been written for a Schumacher fan who may perhaps have heard the name Nuvolari but has no idea who he was. So far I've learnt little about the man himself but have read a couple of race reports (with irritating recaps of the leaderboard listed every 10 laps or so) broken up by intermezzos. It often seems as if the writer has to explain the process of writing ("this is the point to stop the narrative and find its true context.") but all this does is detract from the subject. Frustrating.

#99 karlcars

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Posted 31 December 2004 - 10:07

Thanks for the advice on books, guys! Very useful!

Actully I have a weak spot for the book that started this thread, though I am no fan of the lack of accuracy of John Bentley -- a very nice chap and a friend, by the way. I refer to the scene at Watkins Glen where Cooper meets with Howard Hughes. Bet that isn't in "The Aviator"!

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#100 ian senior

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Posted 31 December 2004 - 11:11

Originally posted by karlcars
Thanks for the advice on books, guys! Very useful!

Actully I have a weak spot for the book that started this thread, though I am no fan of the lack of accuracy of John Bentley -- a very nice chap and a friend, by the way. I refer to the scene at Watkins Glen where Cooper meets with Howard Hughes. Bet that isn't in "The Aviator"!


I think I can see where you are coming from, Karl. I bought that book when it was first published and thought it was truly, deeply, awful. It cost me a lot of money at the time, and nothing I have purchased before or since left me feeling so cheated.

Reading it again some years later, it has a certain attraction - so bad it's good, as they say. As does another of his epics - "We at Porsche". Many times I have been tempted to dump the pair of them in the bin, or give them away, but something prevents me from taking such action.

I'm sure John Bentley is a lovely guy, but he should never have been allowed near a word processor, pen or typewriter.