Book reviews, August 1961, August 1961

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“The Grand Prix Year”

by Louis T. Stanley. 192 pp. 10-3/4 in. x 8-5/8 in. (Max Parish & Co. Ltd., 55, Queen Anne Street, London, W.1. 45s.)

Last year I enthused over this picture-packed annual review of Grand Prix racing but found the text disjointed and confused by errors, as if typist and tape were not very closely united, and some of the pictures distinctly unprofessional.

This year the Louis Stanley pictorial review of the 1960 Grand Prix season, covering the races at Argentina, Monaco, Zandvoort, Spa, Reims, Silverstone, Portugal, Monza and the U.S.A., is a great improvement, and ranks as one of the finest annuals, the best record of Grand Prix motor racing that money can buy. This book is printed on excellent art paper, it is packed with splendid action and “still” pictures of cars, characters and personalities, is written light-heartedly but with plenty of punch, yet contains starting-grid positions and times, positions at different stages, final results and lap charts for each of the nine rounds of the World Championship, together with a map of each circuit, the whole clearly printed in good type.

Nor is that all, for this excellent book gives, too, histories of each race, and the growing Championship scores, and its endpapers constitute a fascinating survey, each with a fine picture, of the prominent drivers, owners, managers and press and other personalities. Each of these studies is accompanied by Stanley’s views on the man in question, unminced, forthright and usually beyond argument. Of Brabham: “I believe that he will build a monument for himself out of the stones hurled at him by his few detractors.” Of Ireland: “It is refreshing to find someone who refuses to conform to a recognised drab standard.” Of Moss, agreeing with what I wrote about too much publicity, Louis Stanley sums up: “Stirling Moss is a magnificent racing driver. All he needs to do is to remember the fact.” And so the author sums up pungently the personalities of motor racing. Motor Sport‘s Continental Correspondent does not escape. Under a splendid portrait of the small bearded figure we read: “… Sometimes accused of personal bias. If so, then George Jean Nathan’s words might be quoted, Show me a critic without prejudice, and I’ll show you an arrested cretin’.”

This book may seem expensive. It isn’t. Get it now, before the years roll by and it goes out of print, for if Stanley maintains this standard this annual will be sought after in the future as the best and most enjoyable record of each season’s great races. A sporting journalist writing of golf, tennis and the beauty of women, etc., Stanley has made a tine job of his motor racing annual, perhaps because his wife, to whom it is dedicated, is joint-owner with Sir Alfred Owen of the B.R.M. team. – W. B.