Friday, 19 October 2012

Book Report #50 - Go Like Hell by A.J. Baime

Recently, I've started to develop an interest in racing; particularly endurance racing.  Le Mans is the grand-daddy of all endurance races, it runs every June and is the pinnacle of the sport, even though it's only one of a series of eight races in the FIA World Endurance Championship.

Le Mans has a long and wonderful history.  In this book A.J. Baime looks at a specific period in the history of the race, the 1960's, when Ford declared war against Ferrari.
Ferarri 330 P3

Oh my, some of the iconic names that swirled around that period; Henry Ford II, Enzo Ferrari, Lee Iacocca, Carrol Shelby, Bruce McLaren, ...
Ford GT 40

It was a story about passion and determination just as much as it was a story about engineering.  It read like The Right Stuff which was appropriate for the time as the United States was locked in a battle with the soviets in the greatest race of all - to land a man on the moon.

It read like a novel with so much going on on the human side that it was simply impossible to put down.  I loved this book.  I dare say that it's best to have at least a passing interest in auto racing but not necessary to enjoy it. 

One aspect that I found very interesting was how the Ford Motor Company was run.  The infighting between Henry Ford, Edsel Ford and Henry Ford II made for a nice rounding to the events on the track.  This added depth shed a lot of light on the times, after all, Ford cars were a big part of North American society and it had an enormous impact on domestic life.

It would have been easy for Baime to get lost in the cars themselves but he never did because it's the people who matter in this story.  The cars are the objects produced by the determination and passion of the people who financed, built and raced them.
A.J. Baime - author
You can find the book HERE

FIA World Endurance Championship is HERE

Official Le Mans website is HERE

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