Tony Bailey and Paul Skilleter
Of all the people we feature in the magazine, Mike Hawthorn raises the most controversy, always bringing letters attacking or defending, so a huge biography of the man 50 years on from his tragic death ought to put things straight.
Golden Boy contains new information which one would think would end the debates over the Le Mans tragedy, his illness and his fatal accident. I suspect, though, that the arguments will continue. On the crash, Bailey and Skilleter include a mass of testimony, even tracking down the policemen who attended, plus some alarming photos of the wrecked Jaguar, but less gruesomely there is a feast of detail on the young Hawthorn.
The racing forms a surprisingly small part of a book packed with fascinating personal information and memories, but if it has a fault it is obsessive ‘completism’. Page after page of models, trophies, programmes, belongings, steering wheels, sculptures, memorabilia, paintings (32 pages!), photos of pubs Mike drank at, of his grave, his memorial tree… There are 13 pages on two replicas of Hawthorn’s road car alone. It’s the first solo biography and it does a fine job, but a filleted version would be a crisper read. GC
Published by PJ Publishing Ltd, ISBN 978 0 9550102 4 8, £60