by Dorothy Levitt. A Hugh Evelyn reprint. 127 pp. 7-3/4-in. 5-in. (Hugh Evelyn Ltd., 9, Fitzroy Square, London, W1. 25s.
We are not in favour of reprints. They repeat material already available, beg the copyright of other publishers, and render original editions less desirable than they would otherwise be. These are the selfish objections. The other is that the repeated material is often poorly reproduced, sometimes with important items chopped off and/or illustrations massacred.
These objections do not apply to Hugh Evelyn’s reprint of a 1909 book sufficiently scarce not to have been seen previously by very many of the present motoring generation. It is also nicely presented, with a witty foreword by Frances Howell.
The joy of the thing is that it makes quaint reading in 1970, although it was deadly serious when it was first published. It aimed then to tell ladies how to enjoyably run a motor-car. Much of the information given centres, around the small de Dion Bouton, as do many of the pictures, so the book is to some extent a guide to these cars. The statement that a new battery for one costs 15s. 9d., however, should not be taken literally! (Though modern ones last more than 2,000 to 3,000 miles
Even more interesting than Miss Levitt’s helpful hints is the anonymous “Personal Sketch” about her, from which we are reminded that she had driven a 90-h.p. Napier at 91 m.p.h. at Blackpool in 1906. She Motored some 20,000 miles a year and raced motor boats. She lived the life, we are told, of a batchelor girl. Quite a miss, in Edwardian times!
This little volume is worth having, if expensive. We hope, however, that it will not induce this publisher to embark on a massive reprint programme.—W.B.