by Olivier Merlin. Translated by Louis Klemantaski. 216 pp. 8-3/4 in. x 5-1/2 in. (B.T. Batsford and Co. Ltd., 4, Fitzhardinge Street, London, W.1. 21s.)
A really satisfactory book about Fangio – or about Nuvolari, for that matter, two of the greatest drivers who ever lived – has yet to be written, giving all the intimate glimpses one would like to have or how they began their racing careers, the cars they drove on the road as well as on the circuits, their friends, their homes. But Olivier Merlin, a personal friend of Fangio, has very nearly got there with this latest Batsford biography.
If you want to learn as much as you are ever likely to know about the man who was five times World Champion – for instance, that his heart beat is very slow, at 44 to the minute – this is the book, well translated, illustrated with very clear pictures, printed on good paper. The account of what was perhaps Fangio’s greatest race, at Nürburg in 1957, is quoted from Motor Sport.
The book concludes with tables of Fangio’s successes, there are some rather elementary footnotes on some pages, and I do wish the author wouldn’t refer to Grand Prix Mercedes-Benz racing cars as “Silver Arrows.” – W. B.