Monday, July 27, 2009

GO LIKE HELL... A Racing Book That Is An Absolute Must Have

Since I was a little boy I have been fascinated by all things automotive but like so many others it was the race cars that reached deep into my being and took hold never to release me again. Even though I have a deep respect for any make or model of car I have to admit that Ford was always the top dog in my mind.

It all began growing up in a household with a father who had always been a Ford man and had even operated his own Ford dealership at one time with sold every conceivable Ford product you could think of including Ford farm equipment such as combines and tractors. My very first car was a 1959 Chevrolet Impala with a 409 cubic inch engine with three deuces and a four speed but the engine lasted me less than a week. My second car was a Ford and I have enjoyed a bunch since then all of which out-lasted that Impala thus confirming how I felt about those Chevrolets in the first place.

Growing up in the 60's which included the muscle car era not to mention the efforts put forth by every automobile manufacture known to man kind to win every weekend played a huge roll in my conviction of Ford being the greatest thing on four wheels. Beginning in the 60's I was fortunate not only owning some of the most amazing high performance Ford and Shelby automobiles ever built but was truly blessed with the good fortune to become good friends with some of the greatest names in racing including Carroll, Shelby and Bob Bondurant. In retrospect who could possibly argue with the history and reputation Ford laid out for all the world to see. Then if that weren't enough enter Carroll Shelby who really put the icing on the cake.

One problem I have had over my many years of love and fascination with automobile racing is that there were very few books written about them with the exceptions of those devoted to a specific model, i.e., technical specifications, how many built, and the rest of what was typically boring trivia only looked for by those who liked that particular make and model car. There has never really been anything written which allows everyone to enjoy more than some boring history, specifications and a few anecdotes... that is until now.

Recently publishers Houghton Mifflin Harcourt asked me to review their latest book GO LIKE HELL: Ford, Ferrari, and Their Battle for Speed and Glory at Le Mans, written by A.J. Baime. A.J. Baime is an executive editor at Playboy where he oversees the automotive and various feature sections. I have to warn you right up front... what makes it so special is for the first time here is an automotive book that will not allow you to sit it down. Not only do the characters include and endless list of the most recognizable legends in all of racing but the entire story is based on truth, documentation and facts. The moment I finished this book I began reading it again, because I loved it that much and so will you.

GO LIKE HELL: Ford, Ferrari, and Their Battle for Speed and Glory at Le Mans, tells the remarkable story of how Henry Ford II, with the help of a young visionary named Lee Iacocca and a former racing champion turned engineer, Carroll Shelby, concocted a scheme to reinvent the Ford company. They would enter the high-stakes world of European car racing, where an adventurous few threw safety and sanity to the wind. They would design, build, and race a car that could beat Ferrari at his own game at the most prestigious and brutal race in the world, something no American car had ever done.


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