“My Life and Soft Times”

Browse pages
Current page

1

Current page

2

Current page

3

Current page

4

Current page

5

Current page

6

Current page

7

Current page

8

Current page

9

Current page

10

Current page

11

Current page

12

Current page

13

Current page

14

Current page

15

Current page

16

Current page

17

Current page

18

Current page

19

Current page

20

Current page

21

Current page

22

Current page

23

Current page

24

Current page

25

Current page

26

Current page

27

Current page

28

Current page

29

Current page

30

Current page

31

Current page

32

Current page

33

Current page

34

Current page

35

Current page

36

Current page

37

Current page

38

Current page

39

Current page

40

Current page

41

Current page

42

Current page

43

Current page

44

Current page

45

Current page

46

Current page

47

Current page

48

Current page

49

Current page

50

Current page

51

Current page

52

Current page

53

Current page

54

Current page

55

Current page

56

Current page

57

Current page

58

Current page

59

Current page

60

Current page

61

Current page

62

Current page

63

Current page

64

Current page

65

Current page

66

Current page

67

Current page

68

Current page

69

Current page

70

Current page

71

Current page

72

Current page

73

Current page

74

Current page

75

Current page

76

Current page

77

Current page

78

Current page

79

Current page

80

Current page

81

Current page

82

Current page

83

Current page

84

Current page

85

Current page

86

Current page

87

Current page

88

Current page

89

Current page

90

Current page

91

Current page

92

Current page

93

Current page

94

Current page

95

Current page

96

Current page

97

Current page

98

Current page

99

Current page

100

Current page

101

Current page

102

Current page

103

Current page

104

Current page

105

Current page

106

Current page

107

Current page

108

Current page

109

Current page

110

Current page

111

Current page

112

Current page

113

Current page

114

Current page

115

Current page

116

Current page

117

By Henry Longhurst. 366 pp. 9 4/5 in. x 6 1/2 in. (Cassell & Co. Ltd., 3, Red Lion Square, London, WC1R 4SJ. £3.75.)

This is a non-motoring book, which strictly should be dealt with under “Cars in Books”. But it is currently published, so merits a full review. There is plenty about cars in it, including a chapter about the author’s family’s and his own cars and motorcycles (which included a 12/50 Alvis which he crashed) references to quick journeys to golf tournaments from Cambridge in Billy Fiske’s blower 4 ½ Bentley and less rapid ones in Longhurst’s bull-nose Morris and, as delightful as it is unexpected, a chapter about how the versatile Henry Longhurst made contact with the “strange, all-by-itself world of motor racing.” He did this by going as riding mechanic to his business partner, Lewis Byron, in a Type 35 Bugatti as Southport, driving their modified Gordon England Austin 7 on the road, and riding in an Amilcar Six in the 1931 JCC Double-Twelve at Brooklandsthere are pictures to prove it.

Errors have, alas, crept in. For instance, Longhurst spoils what would have been a clever anecdote by thinking that his one-time Hudson Terraplane had a vee-eight engine like his present l.h.d. Ford Mustang convertible, whereas, of course, it was a straight-eight. he refers to Dr. Benjafield, the Bentley driver, as “Dr. Dangerfield”, mentions a Model T-Ford with a “B” on its brake lever, whereas I suspect this was on a pedal, nor can I believe that the aforesaid Amilcar Six averaged 100 m.p.h. for the first 12 hours of the Double-Twelve, from which, incidentally, it retired with a broken con. rod. And the Moss/Jenkinson Mercedes-Benz won the 1955 Mille Miglia at 97.96 m.p.h., not at 93.08 m.p.h. That, however, could be a mis-print, from which we also suffer! The book is actually very free from them. I had just remarked to my wife “do you know, I have not yet found a printer’s mistake in this book”, and she had replied “Oh, who are the publishers”, when I encountered two…. Those errors do not prevent the essay on this race from being one of the best pieces by a non-motoring writer about Brooklands that I have ever read. Coming to modern times, Graham Hill’s fascination for women has not escaped the author’s notice.

The rest of the book is packed with interest, it is splendidly written, essentially readable and full of good stories and anecdotes, about golf, the Home Guard, the Army, travel, politics, airlines, gliding, Charterhouse, Cambridge, the countryside, Fleet Street, boats, field sports, television, railways and what have you, all in autobiographical form, not forgetting, as I have said, Brooklands and “the strange world of motor racing”. Longhurst’s description of deep sea diving made me feel physically illhe is an able writermuch as did Tom Rolt’s account of going down a coalmine. Rather unusually this entertaining autobiography is in a large format, but this enables a good many illustrations to be used on its art pages. If, as almost everyone does, you read the picture-captions first, these lead you to the irresistible text, appetite whetted. If, perforce, you want to escape for a while from cars, while not escaping entirely, buy “My Life and Soft Times” and enjoy it on Christmas afternoon. It is expensive, but it will occupy a lot of reading time. I recommend it—highly.W. B.

Related articles

Related products