Book Reviews, May 1969, May 1969

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

Current page

118

Current page

119

Current page

120

Current page

121

Current page

122

Current page

123

Current page

124

Current page

125

Current page

126

Current page

127

Current page

128

Current page

129

Current page

130

Current page

131

Current page

132

Current page

133

Current page

134

Current page

135

Current page

136

Current page

137

Current page

138

Current page

139

Current page

140

Current page

141

Current page

142

Current page

143

Current page

144

Current page

145

Current page

146

Current page

147

Current page

148

“Donald Campbell, C.B.E.”, by Arthur Knowles and Dorothy, Lady Campbell. 134 pp. 8¾ in. x 5¾ in. (George Allen & Unwin Ltd., Ruskin House, Museum Street, London, W.C.1. 35s.)

This is a very readable biography of the late Donald Campbell, commencing with his childhood and schooldays and detailing his attacks on the Land Speed Record and the Water Speed Record. Because Donald’s mother has helped with the compilation of this book fresh and fascinating facts emerge about this controversial character. The technical facts about his boats and the Bluebird car repeat those contained in earlier, excellent books, “Into the Water Barrier”, “Bluebird and the Dead Lake” and “With Campbell at Coniston”, but at least the information is now in one volume and presented as a chronological story.

The closing part of this book, dealing as it does with Campbell’s last speed bid, that ended in disaster, recalls for me the journey I made to see one of the disappointing practice runs at Coniston. Of how, spurred on by a news bulletin over the car radio we raced to get there, to find little happening and, on that afternoon, Bluebird’s thunder stolen by a radio-controlled model hydroplane. We could have driven into Campbell’s boatyard, but, somewhat guilty of what I had written about his long-delayed Land Speed Record attempt and not wishing to intrude, we mingled instead with the non-official watchers. So I was never able to wish Campbell luck, which alas deserted him soon afterwards. If envy was felt for the central figure in this drama of mechanical speed, it was tempered with the thought that if the opportunity arose to change places with the pilot on whom all eyes were fixed, one couldn’t and wouldn’t. It was Campbell and no one else who had to bear the brunt of the project and who went down with his racing boat—not the critics, the self-styled experts, the admirers or the hangers-on.

This book puts the anxieties experienced, the occasional good moments enjoyed by Campbell in his dedicated career into perspective. The illustrations are good if mostly previously published, and there is a Foreword by Grace the Duke of Richmond and Gordon and the Address given by Mr. Victor Mishcon, D.L., at the Memorial Service held at St. Martins-in-the-Fields is published in full.—W. B.

———

“Birds And Fools Fly”, by John Urmston. 169 pp. 8¾ in. x 5¼ in. (Vernon & Yates Ltd., 138, New Bond Street, London, W.1. 30s.)

This is a book which no enthusiast for private flying, for aeroplanes as opposed to aircraft, should miss. It is the story of how a country doctor, in need of a hobby, was taught to fly at Thruxton and how he built at home an aeroplane of his own, a Curry Wot biplane with Walter Micron engine. There have been other books about learning to fly, with all the intimate details, but none which captures the atmosphere better than Dr. Urmston’s. Moreover, he is writing about a fairly recent aeronautical baptism, not of how it was done pre-war.

Apart from the flying, the aeroplanes, and the flying types he describes so delightfully, anyone who has ever made anything, done any welding, in a home workshop should enjoy the account of how the Curry Wot gradually took shape. The first test-flight, undertaken by the builder himself, is an epic.

Here, then, is a book about private flying written with much gusty humour and infectious enthusiasm. Dr. Urmston quite seriously thinks that the World is populated by two classes of people, those who can fly aeroplanes and those who have never tried. I belong to the latter category (apart from about 0.5 of a minute in a Tiger Moth) but I think I can appreciate what he means. For those who read him and get the bug, which even he admits is incurable, he estimates that his single-seater sporting biplane cost him about £600, complete with engine (was it C. G. G. who told me that because I had been born an Englishman I must never call this a motor) and propeller. To this he adds £72 a year for hangarage, £25 for insurance, £5 for maintenance and £50 for petrol. But start with this entertaining book, which costs 30 bob. It is a pity that the only illustrations are confined to a frontis-piece of the builder and his machine and a cut-away drawing of G-ARZW, by the doctor’s “partner in crime” John Isaacs.—W. B.

You may also like

Related products