Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Go Like Hell

I've just finished reading A J Baime's new book - "Go Like Hell", the story of Ford and Ferrari's quest for speed and glory at the Le Mans 24 hour race. And a jolly good read it is too.

A couple of very minor niggles, but the sort of thing that really annoys me - I'll get them off my chest first, then proceed. Why, oh why do Americans increasingly omit the word "of" after the word "couple"? It is plain wrong English. And as I say, it annoys me. So we get "On a couple occasions..." and "A couple laps later..." Oh well, categorise it along with mis-spelling of "minuscule", which has been misspelt so often that the word "miniscule" even now appears in the OED. The other thing that annoyed me was Baime's failure to get the name of John Wyer's book correct - it is "The Certain Sound", of course, not "That Certain Sound".

But having got that out of the way, it is a really good book. As has been written several times, the author presents his story very much as a novelist would, which makes it extremely readable. Sadly this means that much detail is omitted - but I fear that if all the detail were there, the book would not only be impossibly long, but also too complex. Where it succeeds, is in making the reader want to do some more research. I found myself looking up Wyer's opinions in my own copy of "The Certain Sound", checking results and reports in Time and Two Seats, and even watching again "This Time Tomorrow".

The story tells more of the Ford side than of the Ferrari, I suppose; but having said that, John Surtees gets more than his fair share of the glory for his efforts for the Italian team, and we get a good insight into his side of the story. Baime basically reduces the number of characters in the story, which enables us to get to know a little better the ones that he does mention.

And Baime has clearly researched his story meticulously - although he has clearly visited Le Mans, I found myself wondering occasionally what qualified him particularly to write the book. Or even what motivated him to do so.

But all in all, an excellent book, and one which might yet inspire me to buy his next, which I understand is in preparation already.

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