The Legendary Italian Grand Prix, edited by Paolo Montagna. Veloce, £29.95.

Motoring books come in all shapes, sizes and weights, and in many different contexts.

This large volume, available from Veloce (in British text), is a record of just one event, and very useful it should be from that angle to historians.

There have been many detailed accounts of classic motor races, and they are excellent reference works, but missing from the series was a book on the Italian GP. Consequently, this large new volume is most welcome.

Of course, the passage of time between conception and publication renders most concentrated histories slightly out of date, unless the event is no longer held, and Montagna's tome covers 1921-1989.

It is not quite so technical as the old Temple Press histories and certainly less compact. But it has a magnificent array of photographs (in colour, for the races from 1959 onwards). There are journalists' impressions of incidents and drivers, together with a pictorial biography of the latter (from Jules Goux to Nigel Mansell) and drawings of competing cars, from the 1922 Tipo 804 Fiat to the 1989 Ferrari. There are also 24 colour reproductions of race posters, starting with that for 1921. Such illustrations are enhanced by the large format.

Also contained are results of the Italian GP with race times, circuit maps, starting order, average speeds and retirements, although the reasons for the latter are not given.

This valuable tabulated history is rather unnecessarily repeated in a 'Roll of Honour' occupying three pages, although this is a good, quick reference system for busy writers.

The preface is by Count Lurani, the text by various experts. Publication was with the co-operation of Enimont and this work about a race claimed to be second in longevity only to the French GP will be welcomed.

W B