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The book thread: In memory of Pete Fenelon


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#2301 Jack-the-Lad

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Posted 22 February 2007 - 01:09

Originally posted by pilota

Hi Doug and others,
The word is that the author is working on an English language edition - due later this year. As Carlos is a TNFer he may be able to tell us more.
Nathan


Here's hoping.

Jack

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#2302 Jack-the-Lad

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Posted 22 February 2007 - 01:10

Originally posted by Ivan

Wow
This place is 45 minutes from me. Never know it was there!
Thanks for the tip.


Go and meet Michael Keyser. He's an interesting guy.

Jack

#2303 RA Historian

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Posted 22 February 2007 - 01:34

Originally posted by red stick
Green Mountain Motorbooks sent me a postcard yesterday announcing that the Cahier book will be published in April. They're taking pre-orders at $149.00 US and offering free shipping in the United States if the order is placed before March 15.

http://www.vtmotorbooks.com

I have dealt with them for several years, both through the mail and at thier booth at the Road America historics each July. I have found them to be most friendly, attentive, and efficient. I recommend them also.

#2304 bradbury west

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Posted 22 February 2007 - 15:42

Bernard Cahier Book

Red stick; the website for it indicates
2 volumes
700 etc pages
142,000 words
1311 b/w pictures

Suddenly it looks good value. I wonder what the price will be in the UK at the current exchange rate

Roger Lund




I am told that the distribution in the UK is via Menoshire, the specialist wholesaler in west London. The very helpful chap there told me that the UK copies are currently on their way from Hong Kong for sale here next month, and the publisher's proposal is that the two volumes sell for £79.99.

Apparently it weighs 9lbs, 4kilos.

RL

#2305 red stick

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Posted 22 February 2007 - 15:46

Time to reinforce the bookcase.



Again. :)

#2306 petefenelon

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Posted 22 February 2007 - 21:12

I finished Joe Saward's The Grand Prix Saboteurs this morning.

On the whole this is an absolutely excellent piece of work, doing much not only to explain the roles of 'Williams', Robert Benoist and Wimille in the Resistance but also reminding us just how good they were as drivers. The lives of all three men, and their racing careers, are described in detail, but the heart of the book is the story of their involvement with the SOE networks in France.

This is clearly the part into which Saward has clearly put in huge amounts of research, piecing together the story from a mass of conflicting fragments. The atmosphere and context are described deftly and economically; the weaknesses and errors given as much room as the heroism and courage. What starts to emerge is the story of a rivalry between brothers that led one of them, and many other good men, to awful deaths.

I've read quite a lot about SOE before - MRD Foot's history, Mackenzie's official "Secret History of SOE", Marshall's "White Rabbit" on Yeo-Thomas, the SOE Training Syllabus etc - but this is the first book that really made me feel what it must've been like to live under the constant, crushing, fear under which the SOE agents lived on a day-to-day basis. Saward describes the training, structure, support and operations of the networks in extensive detail, showing how the drivers, their families and their loved ones became ever more involved in the resistance.

The downfall of the networks is told with all the intensity and depth of a first-rate spy thriller; the description of the brutal treatment given to the agents and of their ultimate fates is thoroughly chilling.

Saward has justifiable issues with the posthumous reputation of Violette Szabo, and makes much of Maurice Benoist's duplicity.

The coda is the description of Wimille's sadly short post-War career; the suggestion being that of the three men he was probably the finest driver.

Now the minor criticisms: Although a superbly written book, the production values are fairly low. Photo repro is at best serviceable and some images seem to have been very crudely enlarged. Proofreading could've been improved, but please, please don't let the few minor problems get in the way of an enormous, complex, and intensely human story.

This is an excellent book that deserves all the praise it's being given. If you have any interest in pre-WW2 racing, or in resistance activities, you absolutely must read it.

#2307 KJJ

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Posted 22 February 2007 - 22:26

Originally posted by petefenelon

Saward has justifiable issues with the posthumous reputation of Violette Szabo

This is the part of the book that worries me and where I would like to read some well-informed reviews from outside the motor sport fraternity - I've yet to see any.

The author quotes a conclusion by SOE historian Michael Foot which to my uninformed eyes seems very unfair to Szabo "the ghastly story of Violette Szabo's suffering is so far as I can ascertain completely fictitious". I understand that Foot's SOE history was written purely from documents held by the SOE and that he conducted no interviews with surviving agents. Subsequently Foot was successfully sued by SOE agent Peter Churchill and also by R. J. Minney, the author of the book about Szabo "Carve Her Name With Pride". Rather than Szabo's suffering being "completely fictitious" her cellmate at Limoges, reported that Violette was raped by her interrogators. By the time he wrote his Dictionary of National Biography entry on Szabo, Foot certainly seems to have revised his opinion of her treatment, he writes "brutal interrogations got nothing out of her but contempt."

Grand Prix Saboteurs has Szabo betraying, perhaps inadvertently, the Paris safe house where Benoist was arrested. The evidence for this being German documents seen by Benoist and others while under arrest and interrogation at the Gestapo's Avenue Foch headquarters. Why did the Germans allow these documents to be read? A second question, how do we know that Benoist was able to see these documents? The source is Benoist's son-in-law Andre Garnier, who seems to have been able to speak to Benoist at the Avenue Foch. I find this all very unconvincing.

#2308 ensign14

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Posted 23 February 2007 - 08:56

And even then Joe says that many people who knew Szabo said that it was impossible to believe she would have betrayed anyone to the Germans, as well as talking about her defiance to the end. If there were any "betrayal" it was either inadvertent through mistakes (of which there were, alas, plenty as explored in the book) or someone else did an Anne Frank on her.

It does not say what the "ghastly story" of suffering was. I got the impression that Foot was saying that propaganda upped the already dreadful suffering for domestic purposes.

#2309 dretceterini

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Posted 23 February 2007 - 15:44

Some new books, many of which I was unaware of. No connection to seller other than I have purchased from them..


http://www.autonetcarbooks.com/shop/


#2310 Joe Saward

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Posted 24 February 2007 - 11:39

With regard to message 2303 from KJJ. When I first started making the connections involved I was shocked and I still do not believe that Szabo deliberately betrayed anyone. However, it was not uncommon for mistakes to be made. There may have been a note of the address somewhere or perhaps she thought that the safe house was out of date and therefore not important. Whatever the case, the Germans were waiting for Benoist when he arrived. That was the same day on which they began questioning Szabo. There is no doubt she knew and stayed at the house. There are at least four reports in the SOE documents which were released in 2003 by the Public Record Office in Kew that make the connection, based on remarks made by those who survived or reports that were given by those who died to those who survived.
The Germans would have told Benoist about Szabo because they wanted him to be discouraged and talk. That was a normal interrogation technique. In order for that to work the Germans must have known that Benoist knew Szabo and there is no evidence that they did. The identification is strengthened by the fact that the Germans also referred to Szabo's fellow agent Philippe Liewer as well (Charles and Corinne, were the names mentioned). It was not a conclusion that was reached lightly but if you went through all the evidence in detail I am sure that you would come up with the same conclusion.

#2311 Paul Rochdale

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Posted 24 February 2007 - 19:20

SIDECAR CHAMPIONSHIP by George O'Dell with Ian Beacham (ISBN 0-600-38304-0) Published in 1978 the year after George O'Dell finally succeeded in winning the World Sidecar Championship, this is a thoroughly good read, not just about his endeavours but about sidecar racing since the beginning of the World Championshipps in 1949. O'Dell 's success came about with a very meager sponsorship, and whilst some of the solo superstars lived in motorhomes, and and his partner had to make do with living in a tent. Nor was the attendance money particularly goo either. O'Dell finally had to give up motorcycle racing on doctors orders. Racing injuries meant that one more big crash might have spelled curtains for him. It was fascinating for me to read of the technical adnaces in sidecar racing too. The superb Seymaz outfit was pure motor racing technology. Shortly after his retirement, his life came to a tragic end in a serious housefire when relatives were fired at, and injured, with a shotgun and the Police failed to pursuade him to give himself up.

#2312 gerrit stevens

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Posted 25 February 2007 - 18:27

Could anyone tell me which yearbooks in the period 1979-1990 about Indycar racing have been issued.
In my collection are
USAC yearbook 1979, 1980, 1981.
Indy Car World Series (Gordon Kirby) 1981 (80), 1983 (81 & 82), 1984 (83), 1985 (84)
CART Media Guide 1987, 1990
The Men and Machines Of Indy Car Racing 1987/88, 1988/89, 1989/90, 1990/91

When was the first CART media guide and has there been every year one.
Was 1985 (84 season) the last one by Gordon Kirby
When was the first edition of Men and Machines

Gerrit Stevens

#2313 RA Historian

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Posted 26 February 2007 - 00:09

There were CART media guides for every year CART was in existence. I have 1980-2003. Of course, CART went out of existence then, and since then the Champ Car organization has continued. Naturally, they have also issued media guides every year.

I am not sure of the exact years, but the original CART yearbook disappeared in the mid eighties. In 1993 Autocourse picked up the baton and issued the Autocourse CART Annual every year through the end of CART in 2003. For the 2004 and 2005 seasons Autocourse put out the Autocourse Champ Car Annual. Jeremy Shaw edited these.

Which, of course, begs the question: what about 2006? I have not as yet seen or heard anything about a Champ Car Annual covering the 2006 season. It seems that Autocourse is not doing it and I am not aware of anyone else picking it up. Any body hear anything?
Tom

#2314 Herbert

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Posted 26 February 2007 - 08:38

According to the Champ Car website a 2006 yearbook will be published, but not in conjunction with Autocourse anymore.

http://www.speedgear...&SCID=151&CID=0

#2315 ian senior

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Posted 26 February 2007 - 10:48

Originally posted by Paul Rochdale
SIDECAR CHAMPIONSHIP by George O'Dell with Ian Beacham (ISBN 0-600-38304-0) Published in 1978 the year after George O'Dell finally succeeded in winning the World Sidecar Championship, this is a thoroughly good read, not just about his endeavours but about sidecar racing since the beginning of the World Championshipps in 1949. O'Dell 's success came about with a very meager sponsorship, and whilst some of the solo superstars lived in motorhomes, and and his partner had to make do with living in a tent. Nor was the attendance money particularly goo either. O'Dell finally had to give up motorcycle racing on doctors orders. Racing injuries meant that one more big crash might have spelled curtains for him. It was fascinating for me to read of the technical adnaces in sidecar racing too. The superb Seymaz outfit was pure motor racing technology. Shortly after his retirement, his life came to a tragic end in a serious housefire when relatives were fired at, and injured, with a shotgun and the Police failed to pursuade him to give himself up.


I first read this many years ago and still look at it from time to time. It's a very good read as Paul says, and it's interesting that Seymaz later went on to produce F3 racing cars. George's end was very sad - a complex character and undoubtedly a pure racer, whose achievements came as a result of hard graft against the odds, and considerable skill too. Interesting that he didn't actually win a championship race in his title year.

#2316 gerrit stevens

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Posted 26 February 2007 - 11:12

Originally posted by RA Historian
There were CART media guides for every year CART was in existence. I have 1980-2003. Of course, CART went out of existence then, and since then the Champ Car organization has continued. Naturally, they have also issued media guides every year.


Thanks, now I know for which years I have to look for.

I am not sure of the exact years, but the original CART yearbook disappeared in the mid eighties. In 1993 Autocourse picked up the baton and issued the Autocourse CART Annual every year through the end of CART in 2003. For the 2004 and 2005 seasons Autocourse put out the Autocourse Champ Car Annual. Jeremy Shaw edited these..[/B]


Men and Machine issued at least until 1993/94 (1993 season)
Autocourse started in the same season with their first edition.

Which, of course, begs the question: what about 2006? I have not as yet seen or heard anything about a Champ Car Annual covering the 2006 season. It seems that Autocourse is not doing it and I am not aware of anyone else picking it up. Any body hear anything?
Tom [/B]


Other annuals.
Indy 500: Floyd Clymer until 1968 and from 1969 until 1997 Carl Hungness. 1969/1972 Is one issue.
From season 1991 the Speedway issued their own Indy Review. From 1996 it is the official IRL yearbook. 2001 is the last one I have.
In 2003 Autocourse published the official Indy 500/IRL yearbook.
Also I noted one in 2004. But how about 2002, 2005 and 2006.

Gerrit Stevens

#2317 RA Historian

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Posted 26 February 2007 - 12:26

Originally posted by Herbert
According to the Champ Car website a 2006 yearbook will be published, but not in conjunction with Autocourse anymore.

http://www.speedgear...&SCID=151&CID=0

Thanks for the update! Gotta keep my collection intact.

#2318 Bjorn Kjer

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Posted 26 February 2007 - 15:40

The Cruel Sport by Robert Daley : How is that book , seems to have been republished or reprinted again ? Any colour pictures , Any transporter or paddock pictures ? Is this the book with the Rouen 1962 F1 Paddock picture? Please tell me about the book.

#2319 petefenelon

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Posted 26 February 2007 - 16:29

Originally posted by Bjørn Kjer
The Cruel Sport by Robert Daley : How is that book , seems to have been republished or reprinted again ? Any colour pictures , Any transporter or paddock pictures ? Is this the book with the Rouen 1962 F1 Paddock picture? Please tell me about the book.


Good photos, very good photos and some pithy text. Some copies seem to have sneaked out at reduced prices but disappeared very rapidly.

No idea if it has transporter shots. For me a transporter is (unless it has a Commer three-cylinder two-stroke engine, or was built by the Rennabteilung) something that gets in the way of more racing cars.;)

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#2320 ensign14

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Posted 26 February 2007 - 16:32

That rrrrrrrrrrip sound you could hear just then was Bjorn's heart being torn in 2.

#2321 Bjorn Kjer

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Posted 26 February 2007 - 22:17

:smoking: Think about , no trucks ,no food, no nothing ! Think again ,no transporter ,no race cars,
no fun! :smoking:

#2322 DLM

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Posted 27 February 2007 - 09:30

"PIPES"
I recieved my copy of Rob Youngs ( ry6 ) book on David Pipers mainly African adventures yesterday and was well entertained.
Excellent photos especially of the local oppositition, one can almost smell the atmosphere of Castrol R and barbeque under the African sun !
Well done to Roberto and all concerned.
P.S. Please advise address of the Legends Fund as I would like to make a donation. :up:

#2323 ian senior

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Posted 28 February 2007 - 12:07

Originally posted by ian senior
I think it's going to be a fearsomely difficult book to read, for me at any rate. Three drivers whose careers I followed closely from their early days, three men who weren't much older than me at the time and who were in a way like glamourous elder brothers, guys whose backgrounds weren't too unlike my own - neither filthy rich nor "shoebox in t'middle of t'road" poor ...

I might steel myself to read it, but it will be an emotional experience I'm sure.


Bumping myself, but hopefully with a purpose.

Pottering about in Borders last week I saw a copy of the Lost Generation, and grabbed it and paid for it before I had second thoughts. I am so glad that I did. I'll confess to the odd emotional moment or two, but it was worth it. Really, really worth it. If you haven't read this by now, don't put it off, if you're short of money to buy it, don't eat for a few days, if you're not interested in young British drivers from 30 years ago, don't let it worry you.

I'd actually recommend this book to people who have no interest in motor racing, it stands on its own merits. In fact, Mrs S is reading it now, and even allowing for her initial motivation being that she looked at pictures of Tom Pryce and decided she fancied him, she's enjoying it.

I felt quite uplifted in a way. I was reminded that I'd seen such drivers from early stages in their careers all the way to F1, and that many enthusiasts at the time were so pleased that there was a crop of new talent that looked so promising, even if sadly it never came to fruition.

#2324 petefenelon

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Posted 28 February 2007 - 13:15

I'd actually recommend this book to people who have no interest in motor racing, it stands on its own merits


There are very few racing books you can say that about. I certainly agree that DJT's latest is one of them. To it what can you add? Donaldson's biographies of Hunt and Villeneuve; Nixon's Mon Ami Mate, Mike Lawrence's Four Guys And A Telephone and Wayward Genius, Perry McCarthy's Flat Out, Flat Broke, Innes Ireland and Graham Hill's autobiographies... Joe Saward's The Grand Prix Saboteurs but that's more a book about people who happened to be racers than a racing book...

#2325 ensign14

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Posted 28 February 2007 - 13:36

Richard Williams' "The Death of Ayrton Senna" and "Racers" can be added to that. Funny that the former runs to 150 or so pages yet is still the best book on Senna...

#2326 continental

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Posted 28 February 2007 - 21:28

Dear all,
Today I received a most wonderful book on the racing history of the original BMW M3 (E30), by german author/publisher Peter Sebald. No ground is left untouched, from the development by the BMW M division to the running of the cars by it's many entrants, lots of racing results and even some pictures of transporters (there you go Bjorn :wave:), all on more than 400 pages. Anyone interested should check www.m3-klassik.de.
Regards,
Mick

PS: a version in english will be out later in the year.

#2327 David McKinney

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Posted 28 February 2007 - 22:35

(remove the fullstop after 'de' if you want the link to work)

#2328 petefenelon

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Posted 28 February 2007 - 23:36

Originally posted by ensign14
Richard Williams' "The Death of Ayrton Senna" and "Racers" can be added to that. Funny that the former runs to 150 or so pages yet is still the best book on Senna...


While I like Williams' writing a lot I don't think he'd 'cross over' too well - Williams writes a bit too much like an obsessive about both music and sport -- not something I have a problem with of course ;)

Something I do like a lot about Williams is his brevity. There's not a spare word in The Last Road Race and his Ferrari biography is notably free from flab too - unlike many journos allowed to expand to book length he can still write tightly.

#2329 Joe Saward

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Posted 01 March 2007 - 16:00

One of motor racing's greatest mysteries is solved!

There has long been speculation about the fate of the first winner of "W Williams", the winner of the first Monaco Grand Prix in 1929 who went on to become a British secret agent in World War II.
Officially, he was executed at Sachsenhausen concentration camp, near Berlin, on March 19 1945, the last date on which he was seen alive.
There were some who believed that "Williams" did not die and there have even been claims that he worked underground for MI6 in the post-war era and then returned to live with his wife in France, under an assumed name. These stories have never been very credible and in recent months documents have finally emerged from the KGB archives in Moscow which indicate that an SS Sergeant called Kurt Eccarius, who was in command of the special high security prison inside Sachsenhausen, where "Williams" spent his last months, had admitted to the KGB in 1946 or 1947 that he had taken "Williams" and three others, including Francis Suttill, another celebrated British agent known as "Prosper", to their execution on March 23 1945.
It is not clear whether Eccarius actually shot the four men but he certainly had a shocking record of brutality.
Unlike some others, Eccarius paid for his transgressions. He was one of 16 Sachsenhausen officials tried by a Soviet military tribunal at Berlin in October 1947 and was fortunate that at that time the Soviets had suspended the use of the death penalty. He was sentenced to life imprisonment with hard labour in the coal mines on the Polar Sea coast. He survived and in 1955 was released under an amnesty instigated by President Nikita Krushchev. Soon afterwards he was arrested by the West German authorities and was tried by a court in Coburg on charges of shooting six prisoners during a forced march when Sachsenhausen was evacuated in April 1945. He was convicted in November 1962 and jailed for four years. When he was released the German authorities arrested him again and he was charged with having participated in the murders of other Sachsenhausen prisoners, possibly including Josef Stalin's son Yakov. In December 1969 he was convicted and sentenced to eight and a half years imprisonment.
Perhaps the alternative romantic version of the fate of "Williams" is more palatable but if nothing else the mystery has finally been solved.

#2330 F1Fanatic.co.uk

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Posted 01 March 2007 - 16:26

Originally posted by petefenelon
Something I do like a lot about Williams is his brevity. There's not a spare word in The Last Road Race and his Ferrari biography is notably free from flab too - unlike many journos allowed to expand to book length he can still write tightly.


Agreed. After finishing the Ferrari biography I launched straight back into it again without hesitating. Cracking read. Just got Racers, but reading Grand Prix Saboteurs next...

#2331 Alan Cox

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Posted 01 March 2007 - 17:38

Originally posted by Joe Saward

One of motor racing's greatest mysteries is solved!



A fascinating postscript, Joe. Thanks for posting it. Perhaps it should be posted on a main thread such as

http://forums.atlasf...grover williams

or http://forums.atlasf...grover williams

#2332 Vitesse2

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Posted 01 March 2007 - 18:33

So why didn't Eccarius admit that to Vera Atkins when she interviewed him? Maybe the Soviets were a bit more "persuasive"?

#2333 Jack-the-Lad

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 02:14

Originally posted by F1Fanatic.co.uk


Agreed. After finishing the Ferrari biography I launched straight back into it again without hesitating. Cracking read. Just got Racers, but reading Grand Prix Saboteurs next...


Based solely upon the comments on this thread I'd like to order the Williams Ferrari biography right away, but am having some difficulty finding a copy in hardcover (I'm a bit of a snob about that).

I'd like to find a copy in the US if possible. Any suggestions?

Thanks.

Jack

#2334 MichaelM

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 23:12

Collector Car Books (in the UK) has a hardbound copy for 25 pounds
in fine condition. Postage always adds up for overseas shipping
but CCB packs books very well if that is a concern.

http://www.collector.../shop/5048.html


Michael

#2335 Peter Darley

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Posted 04 March 2007 - 17:32

Originally posted by EcosseF1
Saw this on the Motor Books website:

Jim Clark : Life at Team Lotus (limited edition) October 2006

It's by a P. Darley, anyone know more/seen a copy?


Can now bring you all up to date.
The book will be launched at the Club Lotus Meet at Donington on March 17/18. There will be a limited stock of books available for sale, with the main batch being in the shops for April.

Details; Published by Coterie Press (Coterieltd@aol.com) Foreward by Dan Gurney.

Jim Clark : Life at Team Lotus
Limited Edition ISBN 1 902351 28 2 £75 $120

Publishers Edition ISBN 1 902351 29 0 £250 $450

#2336 glyn parham

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Posted 04 March 2007 - 22:29

With regard to message 2303 from KJJ. When I first started making the connections involved I was shocked and I still do not believe that Szabo deliberately betrayed anyone. However, it was not uncommon for mistakes to be made. There may have been a note of the address somewhere or perhaps she thought that the safe house was out of date and therefore not important. Whatever the case, the Germans were waiting for Benoist when he arrived. That was the same day on which they began questioning Szabo. There is no doubt she knew and stayed at the house. There are at least four reports in the SOE documents which were released in 2003 by the Public Record Office in Kew that make the connection, based on remarks made by those who survived or reports that were given by those who died to those who survived.
The Germans would have told Benoist about Szabo because they wanted him to be discouraged and talk. That was a normal interrogation technique. In order for that to work the Germans must have known that Benoist knew Szabo and there is no evidence that they did. The identification is strengthened by the fact that the Germans also referred to Szabo's fellow agent Philippe Liewer as well (Charles and Corinne, were the names mentioned). It was not a conclusion that was reached lightly but if you went through all the evidence in detail I am sure that you would come up with the same conclusion.



Joe.

Did you have access to the library at the Special Forces Club in London?

I know the club well (my late father in law was a member having served 1943-45 with a unit based in Turkey and tasked with intelligence gathering in the Aegean) and appreciate that they have a well stocked library which club members and historians only are allowed to use with the express permission of the committee.

Most impressive is the collection of photos lining the walls of the stairwells of every SOE agent sent into Europe plus major figures in the setting up and running of SOE during the war. It is also a well known fact (to some at least) that the original SOE headquarters suffered a mysterious fire in 1946 and all records were lost. I have loked at the photos many times but I do not recall seeing any of Williams and I await my copy of your book to see how they were trained etc.

Glyn

#2337 FLB

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Posted 06 March 2007 - 14:47

I received my copy of The Lost Generation yesterday. I read it in a single evening. I now have a new favourite book. It must have been quite complicated to intertwine the drivers' lives together, both professional and personal, but Tremayne comes across with flying colours. I also very much appreciate the fact he kept Tom Wheatcroft's words in their natural state, much like DCN did for Charles Cooper in his book on the constructor. It feels genuine. You get a sense of the person behind the words.

My sense of all three drivers has evolved as well. I'm struck by how short Williamson's career was before it was all over. Pryce at least had a bit more time, but you can't help but to draw the parallel to Alan Jones. But, to me, the kicker is Brise. I feel a sense of loss I never felt towards him. November 29th, 1975 had always been about Graham Hill for me. Not anymore. Hill's irresponsability in the whole affair is shocking.

There are some passages that I thought weren't completely clear, but my only real criticism of the book is that it lacks a results section or a semi-detailed timeline (What races did they do together? How did they compare? Etc.).

#2338 MichaelM

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Posted 06 March 2007 - 18:32

The latest catalog from David Bull Publishing lists Dan Gurney's Eagle Racing Cars
coming in June. John Zimmermann is the author, 192 pages (400 photos), 60 dollars.

Subtitled: The Technical History of the Machines designed and built by All American
Racers.


Michael

#2339 Joe Saward

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Posted 08 March 2007 - 14:39

Hello Glyn,

With reference to your posting 2332. Yes, I did visit the Special Forces Club in London many years ago but the library was rather smaller than I expected. I did meet Vera Atkins (among others) and I must say she was a tough old bird who did not give much away. She did, however, give me a couple of useful hints - in general terms - which certainly helped me understand the way things operated. My contacts there are I am afraid long gone now.

Oddly enough, while eyewitness testimony is often the best, I found during my researches that the documents were a great deal more reliable than the memories (and published memoirs) because they were exactly as they were when they were locked away. People have a habit of remembering what they want to remember and not the other stuff.

I was also surprised that they did not have pictures of Robert Benoist and Willy Grover on the staircase as I felt that they should be there. In an effort to remedy that I did send them portraits of the two men way back in the 1990s but I have no idea if they ever used them as I don't recall ever hearing another word from them.

If you know someone there now it might be helpful to put them in touch with me as I am happy to supply pictures again and a book for the library if they would like one.

Joe S

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#2340 Chris Bloom

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Posted 08 March 2007 - 18:17

Originally posted by green-blood
John Tennants, Motor Racing Through the Golden Age, is a quality heavy weight photo book, I enjoyed browsing through over last weekend


An excellent book that I recently added to my collection after reading a glowing review on Amazon by some chap named Peter Fenelon :up:

The thing I like about this book is that it's not just pictures of the Big Names. There are images of all sorts of racing from children in pedal driven karts to land speed record breakers with just about everything in-between. There were a few pictures I had seen before but the vast majority were completely new to me.

#2341 David Birchall

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Posted 08 March 2007 - 18:45

I have just finished reading "The Gold Plated Porsche--How I sank a small fortune into a Used Car and Other Misadventures" by Stephan Wilkinson ISBN 1-59228-256-3 and found it very entertaining.

Wilkinson was editor of Car and Driver magazine for a while in the seventies and his recollections of working in the upper echelons of US magazines is very revealing.

Wilkinson tells stories of flying planes loaded with marijuana across the US for fun and profit--He was editor of flying magazines for many years apparently and a very experienced pilot.

His main story of restoring a 1983 Porsche and cost be damned will resonate with all those who have restored anything.

#2342 glyn parham

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Posted 08 March 2007 - 22:16

Hello Joe.

Many thanks for taking the trouble to reply to my query.

I still have one contact who is a member of the club and I am happy to sound him out about the photos for you. I last visited the club (as a guest of course) in 2000 and the photos were not on display then, perhaps the club have their reasons for this, but it would be nice to see Benoist and Grover join the elite band.

So, you met Vera Atkins, a truly remarkable lady who always insisted on calling my late father in law and his comrades "my lads" whenever they met at the club and always had time to chat to everyone at the club.


People have a habit of remembering what they want to remember and not the other stuff.



How very true, my late father in law would tell simple tales of life in the Navy and Special Forces to all and sundry but at reunions the talk was much darker, more graphic and very enlightening. Enough to make someone like me appreciate what an easy life we now have compared to those dark days.

Glyn

#2343 Doug Nye

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Posted 08 March 2007 - 22:34

Re Vera Atkins - I really must recommend the biography on this remarkable Rumanian-born lady who served within SOE while effectively 'an enemy alien'. The book is by Sarah Helm and is entitled 'A Life in Secrets' - ISBN: 038550845X. I found it a simply stunning work, packed with insight, atmosphere, researching zeal and a level of detail which in many places is very difficult to stomach. It details her hunt to verify the fates of her missing agents at the end of World War 2. Much of the story frankly left me boiling to thump a Hun (1939-45 vintage)...the back of my neck actually goes hot and my stomach muscles tighten as I write this, recalling Helm's forensic account of what really went on in the Avenue Foch interrogation cells, in Natzweiler, Sachsenhausen - and in the women's camp at Buchenwald...

Lest we forget, indeed.

DCN

#2344 TooTall

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Posted 10 March 2007 - 03:51

Thank you for the recommendation Doug, another to add to the list. I have just started into "Grand Prix Saboteurs" and so far I like it very much. A couple of weeks ago I finished "First Light" by Geoffrey Wellum which I believe you recommended in another thread. It is without question one of the best books I have read in some time. Wellum's descriptions of the joy of flying countered by the chaos and terror of combat are absolutely riveting. Keep the recommendations coming please.

Cheers,
Kurt Oblinger

#2345 Bjorn Kjer

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Posted 10 March 2007 - 06:26

:wave: I got the Le Mans 1957 by Michel Bollee ! 100+ pages with 135+ pictures of wich a third is in colour ! Results and stats, but those pictures ! Great book IMO !

#2346 Rockford

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Posted 10 March 2007 - 13:47

Only slightly off-topic, and I didn't want to start another thread, tomorrow's Observer paper has a free Grand Prix Classics wallchart..

http://www.new-thinking.co.uk/f1/

Apologies if it's been mention before!

#2347 helioseism

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Posted 10 March 2007 - 20:52

This book looks interesting...

Strasbourg Sunbeams

#2348 Allan Lupton

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Posted 11 March 2007 - 08:53

Originally posted by helioseism
This book looks interesting...

Strasbourg Sunbeams


Goodness me, I didn't realise Nev Webb was an author as well as a fettler/racer!

#2349 green-blood

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Posted 12 March 2007 - 11:15

been on something of a Mercedes buzz recently

Mr Ls Blitzen Benz book went down a treat, so I revisited Nixon's Racing the Silver Arrows, it hadn't moved in 5 years or so.... then I got to reading up on Moss/Lenks in the Millia Miglia again... so yesterday I found me a copy of Mercedes-Benz GP 34-55 by Monkhouse - looking forward to that arriving - any warnings?

#2350 Vitesse2

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Posted 12 March 2007 - 12:43

Originally posted by green-blood
so yesterday I found me a copy of Mercedes-Benz GP 34-55 by Monkhouse - looking forward to that arriving - any warnings?

So it was you who outbid me on that :p

I already have the Heel edition in German, but it's a smaller format and the picture reproduction's rather poor.