The International Grand Prix Book of Motor Racing

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“The International Grand Prix Book of Motor Racing”
Edited by Michael Frewin. 303 pp. 9-1/4 in. x 5-5/8 in. (Leslie Frewin Ltd., 15, Hay’s Mews, London, W.1. 35s.)

This is a sort of bedside book of racing, featuring big names among the authors—Brooks, Brabham, Fangio, Hill, Moss, Montagu, Jenkinson, Ustinov and Wiggin. Don’t be deceived, however.

Apart from the fact that, in spite of the title, not every chapter is about G.P. racing by any means, most of it is old-hat. Moreover, the Editor has been signally careless, so that different dates are quoted for the same race by different contributors and conflicting opinions are expressed. For instance, whereas someone called Robert Stirling tells us, on page 70, that “road racing really started in 1895,” on page 206, in a terribly superficial attempt to explain what racing has done for our cars, Denis Holmes tells the reader that “the first motor race of all was in 1894″—an example of casual editing. Again, on page 62 a writer called Vernon Jarratt informs us that Nuvolari had no difficulty in driving an Auto-Union, winning the first time he raced one, whereas Cyril Posthumus says it took Nuvolari “three races to find his form with the tricky rear-engined cars,” before he won at Monza, which is undoubtedly true. This is, after all, the International Book of Grand Prix Racing, so what an interview by Bensted-Smith of Peter Ustinov, or quotes from Kipling about pioneer motoring, or Wiggin on his Morgan 3-wheelers, or Lord Montagu about racing vintage cars, or 90% of the quotes and cartoons are doing in it, one cannot comprehend. Worse, practically all of it has been lifted from existing books.

Our advice? Skip this one. — W.B.