Jump to content


Photo

The last British hero: the mysterious death of Grand Prix legend Richard Seaman


  • This topic is locked This topic is locked
27 replies to this topic

#1 duby

duby
  • Member

  • 189 posts
  • Joined: April 04

Posted 06 October 2005 - 17:58

hi all

just looking at www.amazon.co.uk and found a book that about to be publish on richard seaman .

any one here heard about it or about the writer ?

thanks
duby

Advertisement

#2 duby

duby
  • Member

  • 189 posts
  • Joined: April 04

Posted 06 October 2005 - 18:07

and this is what they wrote about the book -

...Synopsis
As a child Richard Seaman dreamed of being a spy; as a young boy he dreamed of motor racing. In 1937, Adolf Hitler gave him a chance to do both. What followed was a breathtaking chain of events that changed the course of history. Seaman could have killed Hitler. Instead, Hitler's secret police murdered Seaman and his fate was buried in the avalanche of coming war. The truth was lost for over half a century until a trail of shattered lives and elaborate lies led to the discovery of Seaman's former wife, living in America. Richard Seaman was an enigma. One of Europe's leading Grand Prix drivers in the 1930s, he was a patriotic Englishman and anti-Nazi who became the only non-German driver in the Mercedes racing team that was the pride of Nazi Germany. A cocky, flamboyant daredevil, Seaman was initially admired by Hitler and seen as a useful Anglo-Saxon propaganda tool during the years of appeasement. But as the outbreak of war loomed ever closer, Seaman came to be seen as a threat and he in fact used his position at the heart of Nazi society to provide intelligence for the British Secret Service. With suspicions mounting, an off-the-cuff joke about doing the world a favour by getting rid of Hitler almost certainly sealed his fate. Sixty-six years after the British Government declared his death following a horrific accident at the 1939 Belgian Grand Prix 'a tragic accident', The Last British Hero reveals shocking evidence about the attempted cover-up of the truth behind Seaman's fate, along with enthralling details of Hitler's obsession with the Mercedes racing team, the bitter love triangle involving Seaman's young wife (the daughter of the co-founder of BMW) and a Nazi officer, Seaman's mother's affair with Hitler's foreign minister, Joachim Ribbentrop, and the wild, drug-fuelled lives of the 1930s racing crowd. After painting a compelling portrait of inter-war Berlin, the book also reveals a more recent intervention by German industrialists to prevent the recovery of Seaman's wrecked Mercedes car and race diary, believed to be buried close to his former family home in Worcestershire, England.

#3 Scribe06

Scribe06
  • Member

  • 76 posts
  • Joined: September 05

Posted 06 October 2005 - 18:39

I think this was discussed before: Discovery doc'y "Nazi Grand Prix": Does Dick Seaman deserve this treatment?

#4 Vitesse2

Vitesse2
  • Nostalgia Forum Moderator

  • 24,444 posts
  • Joined: April 01

Posted 06 October 2005 - 18:46

And here:

http://forums.autosp...&threadid=72854

#5 jpm2

jpm2
  • Member

  • 121 posts
  • Joined: December 04

Posted 06 October 2005 - 19:11

History (economic, social, anthropological, biographical history) is build uppon documents that can be read and checked by any researcher (well, in principle, at least). The rest is imagination.

This amazing scenario (with spys, adultery, and crime, to please the average reader), smells like imagination to me. But, one never knows. Life is sometimes amazing, wilder than the wildest scenarios.

Anyway, I would like to know what kind of documents the author uses to reach those conclusions. Is it mainly written documents or "oral tradition"? And, after knowing what kind of documents are used (if any), I would have to read them myself to check its interpretation. A lot of authors tend to read between the lines... and beyond the lines. :rolleyes:

#6 Gary C

Gary C
  • Member

  • 4,564 posts
  • Joined: January 01

Posted 06 October 2005 - 19:30

'by German industrialists to prevent the recovery of Seaman's wrecked Mercedes car and race diary, believed to be buried close to his former family home in Worcestershire, England'
They buried THE CAR ??? ? I've never heard of this, hard to believe.

#7 duby

duby
  • Member

  • 189 posts
  • Joined: April 04

Posted 06 October 2005 - 21:22

i read all what was written in TNF about the story , but is there any one here who saw or read that book...?

the book is ever published...?


thanks
duby

#8 Twin Window

Twin Window
  • Nostalgia Host

  • 6,611 posts
  • Joined: May 04

Posted 06 October 2005 - 21:31

Ok, duby; we get your point - but please remain calm.

TNF works in a different way to the other fora, so you may need to adopt a more patient stance. And then, in due course, you will (hopefully) be rewarded...!

#9 duby

duby
  • Member

  • 189 posts
  • Joined: April 04

Posted 06 October 2005 - 21:38

TNF is my favorit place in the web !!!

i try to learn from the great people here , at least 1 hour a day .
TNF just make me want to learn more & more about the subject and to try to look for as many info as i can get .
but it learns me one more thing , try to do the best and to get all the info about one subject .

you know , to read stuff in abook is o.k but to read about it in TNF is like sitting in a university and hearing the students talking and sharing alot of info and that is one great thing for me .
who could be a better teacher then mr. DOUG NYE ...?


thanks again for all of you


duby

and sorry if i it looks like i try to heart some one ...

#10 Twin Window

Twin Window
  • Nostalgia Host

  • 6,611 posts
  • Joined: May 04

Posted 06 October 2005 - 21:43

Originally posted by duby

and sorry if i it looks like i try to heart some one ...

No problem, my friend. :wave:

I was merely concerned that you seemed a little over-anxious, but I can see now that wasn't the case... :up:

Let's see what the 'TNF University' provides! :D

#11 Vitesse2

Vitesse2
  • Nostalgia Forum Moderator

  • 24,444 posts
  • Joined: April 01

Posted 06 October 2005 - 21:58

Duby: this book has been theoretically on the verge of publication for some time. Back in August 2003 the publishers - Mainstream of Edinburgh - announced that the film rights had been sold, even before the manuscript had been delivered: you can find a cached version of the press release via Google.

First quoted publication date I saw was October 2004, but it's kept slipping in the schedule and is not even currently featured on their website. Amazon claim it's due in May 2006, but as Mainstream's Spring 2006 catalogue hasn't yet been produced, that may be just as theoretical as any other date previously quoted. You can find pdf versions of Mainstream's seasonal catalogues at http://www.mainstrea.../catalogue.html

#12 duby

duby
  • Member

  • 189 posts
  • Joined: April 04

Posted 06 October 2005 - 22:00

thanks

#13 Dennis Hockenbury

Dennis Hockenbury
  • Member

  • 657 posts
  • Joined: April 03

Posted 07 October 2005 - 00:18

Given my interest in this era of motor racing which includes RJBS, it offends my nature to admit that I will be quite pleased if this title never makes it to publication.

This one is simply a complete waste of trees.

#14 Vitesse2

Vitesse2
  • Nostalgia Forum Moderator

  • 24,444 posts
  • Joined: April 01

Posted 07 October 2005 - 21:00

Dennis, whilst I agree with the sentiment you've expressed, however bad or good this book turns out to be, it will - if nothing else - create more interest in the golden era. For that we should be grateful: I'm sure that the real historians of this period (inside and outside racing history) will be lining up to demolish the story and expose any falsehoods.

I resent paying good money for what looks like a sensationalist potboiler, but if there's a grain of truth in what is in it, then maybe it'll be worth it.

#15 D-Type

D-Type
  • Member

  • 8,116 posts
  • Joined: February 03

Posted 07 October 2005 - 21:50

Richard,

You might have a point there.it might generate a flicker of interest in some readers. does anybody know if "Early one morning" increased laymen's interest in prewar Bugs?

#16 Vitesse2

Vitesse2
  • Nostalgia Forum Moderator

  • 24,444 posts
  • Joined: April 01

Posted 07 October 2005 - 22:19

I do know a couple of non-racing people who read that: neither was over-impressed by the novel, so I don't think it would have done much in that regard.

Bugatti Queen OTOH .... :up: I've recommended that to several friends and they all loved it!

#17 KJJ

KJJ
  • Member

  • 702 posts
  • Joined: February 02

Posted 07 October 2005 - 23:32

It would surely have been quite remiss of MI6 not to have had some informal contact with Seaman. By the way wasn't he a Trinity College contemporary of Philby, Burgess and friends? It's interesting that Erica Seaman remained in England after the war began, even getting engaged to Reggie Tongue in 1940. All the rest seems very far fetched but I guess we will have to wait and see.

I wonder if any of our professional writers have ever been tempted to create a potboiler for Hollywood gold?

#18 Vitesse2

Vitesse2
  • Nostalgia Forum Moderator

  • 24,444 posts
  • Joined: April 01

Posted 08 October 2005 - 09:19

Originally posted by KJJ
It's interesting that Erica Seaman remained in England after the war began, even getting engaged to Reggie Tongue in 1940.

Chris Nixon made a bit of a play about this, but Erica was very short of money at the time, Dick's estate only amounting to about £1500 and not including his Mercedes Benz earnings, which were locked away in Germany. (Inter alia I wonder if D-B ever paid up after the war?) Reggie, OTOH, wasn't short of a bob or two and his diary records a few "desultory" meetings with Erica in Torquay in the summer of 1940. The engagement wasn't popular with his friends and was soon broken off, Erica moving on to America. I get the impression that it was perhaps almost an "engagement of convenience", since - technically - Erica was an enemy alien and could have been interned at any time. Presumably the combination of her anti-Nazi views, the fact that she was the widow of a prominent British sportsman and (maybe) an engagement to a well-connected and prosperous businessman saved her from ending up on the Isle of Man. Eric Dymock, in "High Speed Diary", makes the point that Erica never figured in Reggie's voluminous address book in her own right and concludes that perhaps his heart was never in it.

#19 Patrick Fletcher

Patrick Fletcher
  • Member

  • 684 posts
  • Joined: February 04

Posted 08 October 2005 - 10:10

Monkhouse travelled with the Seamans in the months prior to the death of Richard Seaman - a photo at breakfast including Erica [wow] and RS in his pj's appeared in MS some years ago ..........

Advertisement

#20 Sharman

Sharman
  • Member

  • 2,729 posts
  • Joined: September 05

Posted 09 October 2005 - 16:21

As well as Arden & Bull Reggie Tongue had other small partners in the Manchester area, the son of one of them had used to play lacrosse with my old man. He obviously is older than me which puts him into late 70s early 80s but I happened to see him on North West Tonight a few weeks ago. I'll try to contact him and ask what he knows

#21 Doug Nye

Doug Nye
  • Member

  • 8,458 posts
  • Joined: February 02

Posted 09 October 2005 - 20:53

The notions that Dick Seaman operated actively as "a spy" - moreso that the fatal accident at Spa was staged and that it was merely a cover for his escape into 'civilian' life and that he survived the war - and that the car in which he 'died' was shipped back to England and was interred at Pull Court, his country home - are in my (carefully) considered opinion utter UMBALA (material into which one would rather not tread) and anybody writing such total BS under the pretence it is fact should be taken out and shot (preferably dead). :cool:

DCN

#22 Mike Lawrence

Mike Lawrence
  • Member

  • 288 posts
  • Joined: September 04

Posted 09 October 2005 - 22:34

I second Doug.

#23 D-Type

D-Type
  • Member

  • 8,116 posts
  • Joined: February 03

Posted 09 October 2005 - 22:51

Originally posted by Doug Nye
~ should be taken out and shot (preferably dead). :cool:

DCN

That's a bit mild isn't it? Why 'preferably dead'? Surely something highly painful like kneecapping - or if it's a writer 'kneecapping of the wrists' :)

#24 Dennis Hockenbury

Dennis Hockenbury
  • Member

  • 657 posts
  • Joined: April 03

Posted 09 October 2005 - 23:56

Vitesse, we will respectfully have to agree to disagree on this one. While I understand your perspective, in this instance I cannot accept the oblique rationalization that any book, however flawed, is preferable to no book given the claims made Mr. Shirley in the synopsis.

In my very humble opinion, the story of Seaman is quite interesting on its own without the need for sensationalized embellishment of the sort put forth in Shirley's version.

#25 Vitesse2

Vitesse2
  • Nostalgia Forum Moderator

  • 24,444 posts
  • Joined: April 01

Posted 21 April 2006 - 22:24

Originally posted by Dennis Hockenbury
Given my interest in this era of motor racing which includes RJBS, it offends my nature to admit that I will be quite pleased if this title never makes it to publication.

This one is simply a complete waste of trees.

It looks like you may have got your wish, Dennis. As I mentioned before, it seems to have dropped from sight on Mainstream's website.

Plus, the pdfs of their seasonal catalogues appear to have been "doctored" to remove all references to it! When I last checked (see link above), it was featured in the Autumn 2004 and subsequent catalogues. It's not there any more .... :eek:

And in case they somehow manage to erase them, here, thanks to Google, is the text of two press releases issued in Autumn 2003:

http://www.mainstrea...03/news_79.html

News 14 August 2003

An LA based production company has made a substantial offer for film rights to THE LAST BRITISH HERO: The Mysterious Death of Grand Prix Legend Richard Seaman by Phil Shirley. One of Europe's leading Grand Prix drivers in the 1930s, Seaman was a patriotic Englishman and anti-Nazi who became the only non-German driver in the Mercedes racing team which was the pride of Nazi Germany. A cocky, flamboyant daredevil, Seaman was initially admired by Hitler and seen as a useful Anglo-Saxon propaganda tool during the years of appeasement. But as the outbreak of war loomed ever closer, Seaman came to be seen as a threat, and in his book Shirley suggests that he may have used his position at the heart of Nazi society to provide intelligence for the British Secret Service. The manuscript is due at the end of the year but work on the film will begin based on early material and the author's notes.


http://www.mainstrea...03/news_85.html

News 6 October 2003

Film contracts have finally been signed for THE LAST BRITISH HERO (working title RACE WITH THE DEVIL) Film rights have been sold to RAW films in Los Angeles. It looks like screenwriter Dennis Johnson has signed up to write the screenplay. He is one of the top 20 writers in Hollywood who became a celebrity after writing the 1970's box office smash The Haunting. It is likely that Paul Schrader will direct. He directed RAW films last Hollywood movie, Autofocus, which had a shooting budget of $14 million. World rights are still available and it will be one of our lead titles at the Frankfurt Book Fair.

In LAST BRITISH HERO Phil Shirley investigates the events surrounding the death of motor racing champion, Richard Seaman. In 1939 living a life of leisure on the international grand prix circuit Richard Seaman appeared to have it all. As the only non-German driver in the Mercedes Racing Team, which was the pride of Nazi Germany, British and US secret services approached Seaman to use his contacts to obtain information about military technical advances being carried out by BMW and Mercedes engineers. The Nazi Secret Police had plans of their own and asked Seaman to spy on his wife's father, the influential head of BMW, who was refusing to co-operate with Hitler's plans. Seaman was in a terrible dilemma and his wife urged him to escape before the Belgian Grand Prix. Pride and burning ambition drove him to compete in the race but he had enlisted the help of an American journalist who had a dangerous plan to smuggle the pair out of Nazi controlled Europe during the end of race celebrations to start a new life in the United States. It was to be the last race of his life. Seaman's silver Mercedes skidded off the track and burst into flames. Phil Shirley has spent the last twelve years investigating Seaman's death and has uncovered some dramatic facts which question whether it was really an accident. The book will not be published until Autumn 04 but the manuscript is due for delivery by Christmas 03.


The book title brings up innumerable hits on bookselling sites (usually linked to Amazon, who no longer quote a date for it), with one or two quoting "2007".

#26 Dennis Hockenbury

Dennis Hockenbury
  • Member

  • 657 posts
  • Joined: April 03

Posted 22 April 2006 - 02:51

:clap:
Thanks for the update Vitesse. It is appreciated.

#27 Gary C

Gary C
  • Member

  • 4,564 posts
  • Joined: January 01

Posted 22 April 2006 - 19:19

' It is likely that Paul Schrader will direct. He directed RAW films last Hollywood movie, Autofocus'
Cor ! And what a good film THAT was !!

#28 MichaelJP

MichaelJP
  • Member

  • 849 posts
  • Joined: June 01

Posted 10 September 2008 - 14:24

Just resurrecting this thread to see if anyone knows if anything came of this movie plan?

Personally I haven't read the book concerned but the suggested spy/conspiracy subplot does seem both absurd and unnecessary.

Having read "Dick and George", Nixon's books and others on the period I would have thought an excellent screenplay could be written based around the real events? One of the most exciting periods of motor racing set against a backdrop of the gathering clouds of war, add the love story in and you might have a winner. Anyone know if it's been tried?