13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on November 9, 2010
It is surely not a random choice to begin the eight-part series with this particular decade. It was certainly the decade to which Americans paid rapt attention thanks to Ford's epic crusade to break Ferrari's winning streak, as it is these two marques that claimed all victories that entire decade. Moreover, this is probably also the decade to which most current-day readers can easiest relate to even if they are not motorsports aficionados. The names of the cars are as recognizable as those of the drivers, many of whom still amateurs then (sportsmen, not amateur drivers!), and the technology had not yet become so unapproachably single-purpose specialized that the car you saw on track one day couldn't run you over on the market square the next. What better than to start with here and get readers interested in the upcoming books.
The book devotes roughly 30 pages to each year. In each case the first page presents race stats (length, participating marques, winners of divisions and indeces, and complete entrants list including reserve drivers (start no., car, driver, displacement, engine, weight, and class). Brief summaries of entry modalities, qualifying/practice, and the race itself are followed by in-depth descriptions of key aspects of the race in regard to cars, teams, drivers, or manufacturers. A sidebar enumerates rule changes since the previous year's race. Each chapter ends with a full-page color reproduction of the official race poster and tables listing hourly race positions, complete results, class/category/index winners, and championship standings. Short of listing what brand of wristwatch the drivers were wearing there really is not anything else the book could usefully list.
The Introduction is noteworthy for its explanation of the concept of "target distances" and the Indices of Performance and Thermal Efficiency.
The majority of the photos are from the LAT and AOC archives and the Grand Prix Library. None of them are captioned but, except for the two-page chapter openers, all photos go with the text with which they share the page. In many cases the text will specifically refer to particular photos. To some extent this obviates the need for photo captions but it does mean that some of the photo detail remains unexplored.
Appended are extensive statistics for the deacde, replete with pie charts showing reasons for DNFs, tables of marque and driver records, and pages of bar graphs of various stats. In addition to Le Mans books the Bibliography lists mainly marque-specific literature; the Index is sufficiently thorough.
Full review at SpeedReaders.info. Copyright 2010, Sabu Advani.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on September 1, 2010
For the first book in this 8-volume series, Haynes, Spurring and the ACO have chosen a good decade, since the '60s is probably the one where most Americans, at least, first became aware of the "world's greatest motor race". This book has enough in it to keep any racing fan entertained. The introduction has the first good descriptions I have seen of the somewhat enigmatic Indices of Performance and Thermal Efficiency.
Each race has a complete list of entrants, including reserves, and a breakdown of these by marque. There is also a sidebar describing changes in the rules since the previous event. Text descriptions of the entry, qualifying and race are followed by articles describing the fortunes of each manufacturer, accompanied by suitable photos. Tables list the position of every car at the end of every hour, and the complete finishing order, including distance completed and the reason for failure to finish or be classified, as appropriate. All of the class and Index winners are listed, as well as all of the overall winners of all the races in that year's series, and the final placing of the manufacturers.
In the back, the decade is summarized by a bunch of charts and tables, including one that lists the fortunes of every driver that took part in any race in the decade! A bibliography and detailed index wrap up an impressive package.
Expensive? Perhaps, but if you like international motor racing, you need this book!
One final suggestion to Haynes: when you do the 1950-1959 book, include the 1949 race. To include it in any other volume would not make much sense.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
I just recieved it yesterday. The packaging was appropriate and I found nothing to complain about in the physical condition of the book--unlike the other review that is in all caps. It was strange that the copyright page was tipped in. It is interesting to see the official version of things. I was at two of these races as a paying spectator. In the 1963 event, I was sure the public address system announced it was the Aston Martin that was the first to exceed 300kph down the straight. The book says it was a Ferrari. It was a wonderful refresher to see the pictures of the various other parts of this carnival, outside the track. My Kodachrome slides have long since passed on to mold and time. Insurance underwriters would faint away today if they knew how I just skipped over the fence, crossed the track, skipped over the fence again and stood for a while talking to the flag men at the Esses. There will probably never be a time again when top drivers and amateurs, factory cars and garage builders all compete head to head with realistic chance of winning.
Nostalgia? of course! I can still savor the taste in my mind of wonderfully cold and with no aging White Bordeaux wine sold at the track. On the other hand, I am thankful a racer cannot go flying into the stands opposite the pits, or a driver attempt to do the entire race solo.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 25, 2012
Received the book yesterday and spend two hours flipping through the beautiful photos. Graphs included in the back and lots of information on placement in the races, drivers, car type. If you're a sports car buff don't let this one pass you by.
2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on January 7, 2011
Wow! What a lovely book. Finally someone does justice to this race. I am deeply impressed by the style of this book after paging through it. Every race is covered extensively. I am particularly pleased to see some of the more unusual cars in each race. I'll be buying the rest of this series as it publishes. The only nit I would pick is that the bibliography does not follow standard academic form.