Reviews, October 2009

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Races, Faces, Places
The motor racing photography of Michael Cooper
Paul Parker

Michael Cooper, who died in 2005, was one of racing’s great snappers, and this large volume offers a healthy serving of his work from the 1950s onwards. Cooper collaborated with Parker on a previous book, Sixties Motor Racing, so it’s appropriate that the latter is in charge here. This time the angle is wider, and Parker notes that he has included shots Michael might not have approved of technically, because there’s an interesting story behind them.

There are reminiscences of Cooper from people who knew him (Michael Turner recalls punching him!), but the bulk of the book is simply pictures with informative captions in which Parker combines observant detail with deadpan humour and personal tales. Who knew Masten Gregory kept a pet bush baby?

It’s not just the races: because Cooper was so close to the British teams he was there during prototype testing sessions or at the various workshops while the cars were being assembled. Since everyone stayed at the same hotels he could also catch the drivers off-duty – Graham Hill filming races, Bruce and Denny gnawing chicken legs, Moss feeding his dog. And lovers of background atmosphere will enjoy shots of paddocks, transporters and anxious mechanics.

Cooper also had a career photographing celebrities, so don’t be surprised to trip over Diana Dors, Roger Moore and James Garner making Grand Prix. The largish format gives the pictures breathing room, and repro quality is good. GC
Published by Haynes, ISBN 978 1 84425 508 5, £40

Ferrari
Men from Maranello
Anthony Pritchard

As it says on the cover, this latest addition to the bulging Ferrari shelf offers a ‘biographical A-Z of all significant Ferrari racing drivers, engineers and team managers’. But that’s only part of the story.

The biographies, from Andrea de Adamich to Ugo Zagato, vary in length, but offer plenty of facts about both the familiar and obscure. It’ll be a useful reference tool.

But among the nine appendices, which take up a whopping 76 pages of this 380-page book, is the real gem: an interview with Romolo Tavoni, secretary and team manager from 1957-61. Here, he talks about being punched by Jean Behra (see Nigel Roebuck’s feature last month) and being sacked for criticising Enzo Ferrari’s demanding wife, Laura. Pure gold. DS
Published by Haynes, ISBN 978 1 84425 414 9, £35

Looking Back
The motorsport photography of Terry Marshall
Terry Marshall with Allan Walton

This book celebrating the motor sport photography of Terry Marshall offers a wonderful black and white window into racing in New Zealand during the late 1960s and ’70s.

There are contributions from Keke Rosberg, Chris Amon and Sir Jackie Stewart, but it’s the variety of images in the 230-odd pages that really capture your attention. The Tasman Series, Formula 5000, Formula Pacific and ’70s Tin-Top Saloon cars – they’re all in there.

While some of the images are less than perfect and the subjects a little obscure if you aren’t a connoisseur of New Zealand racing during this period, the book is still tremendously appealing for its ability to capture the atmosphere, people and machinery of the era. EF
Published by HarperCollins, ISBN 978 1 86950 757 2, $49.99

Grand Prix Showdown
The full drama of every championship-deciding Grand Prix since 1950
Christopher Hilton

As the title suggests, this second edition of Hilton’s work, first published in 1992, charts the story of every championship-deciding Grand Prix since 1950.

Spurred on no doubt by the quite extraordinary 2008 Brazilian GP, where Lewis Hamilton won the title on the last corner of the last race, this new work offers a thoroughly enjoyable if sometimes flowery read.

There are few details missed in the accounts of all the deciding races, but don’t expect too much of a back story to the drivers’ lives and careers. Having said that, if you’re looking for a page-turning read which will keep you gripped and take you storming through the past 60 years of Formula 1 racing, then you’ll struggle to find any better. EF
Published by Haynes, ISBN 978 1 84425 709 6, £19.99

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