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Winning: The Racing Life of Paul Newman Hardcover – Bargain Price, October 9, 2009

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Hardcover, Bargain Price, October 9, 2009
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Editorial Reviews Review

Paul Newman wasn’t born a car guy. “It all came to me very late in life,” he told Motor Trend magazine in a 1970 interview. “I guess I’ve been interested in sports cars and bikes for about ten or twelve years, but it’s always been kind of Mickey Mouse with me. ” Paul Leonard Newman was born January 26, 1925, in Shaker Heights, Ohio. Like so many young actors in the postwar era, he moved to New York to study and pursue his craft. In the early 1950s, he appeared in numerous on- and off-Broadway productions. He made his television debut in 1952 in a futuristic, sci-fi television show called Tales of Tomorrow, and his fi rst movie role came along two years later in a romance/drama titled The Silver Chalice. Newman’s fi rst car was a 1929 Ford Model A. It was followed by a 1937 Packard, for which he paid $150 sometime in the late 1940s. He was married, still living in Ohio, and renting a two-bedroom apartment for the princely sum of $10 per month. After moving to New York, he bought his fi rst of many Volkswagens in 1953. It remained factory stock for the next eight years or so, but then he got the notion to hop it up a bit. He had by then relocated his primary residence to Connecticut with second wife Joanne Woodward (see sidebar) and their growing family. The VW was still serving faithfully, but Newman had grown tired of all the gear shifting required during his commute. It was then that his enthusiasm for high-performance cars began to manifest itself.

“I was complaining to my mechanic about driving the VW back and forth to the theater in New York and my home in Connecticut,” he told Motor Trend. “He said, ‘Why don’t you dump a Porsche engine in it, and you’ll still retain your back seat but have all the power you need. ’ So we dropped in a stock Porsche engine, installed sway bars, Konis [shock absorbers], and Dunlop Super Sports [tires]. The car handled so well that we put in a Porsche Super 90 engine and then put Porsche brakes up front. Later we bored out the Super 90 to 1,800cc and put a hot cam in it. It was a neat little bomb. I guess that was my fi rst so-called hopped-up street machine. ” In a 1976 Saga magazine interview, Newman said, “It’s only partially true that Winning got me interested in racing. I was interested before that, but I hadn’t done anything about it. ”

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.


“Who was faster, Steve McQueen or Paul Newman? Dick Barbour, a driver who raced with and against both, gives the nod to McQueen. He says that while McQueen was “a natural,” Newman was “methodical.” This is but one of many illuminating insights in “Winning: The Racing Life of Paul Newman,” a timely new book about the legendary actor who died last year at 83.” – Jerry Garrett, The New York Times


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Motorbooks; First edition (October 9, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0760337063
  • ISBN-13: 978-0760337066
  • ASIN: B003YCQCQ2
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 8.4 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,398,536 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Very quick read and so informative.
Toni Avery
Paul could have been one of the top drivers if he had started racing early in life... He started at the age of 43 as I remember.... and won his share of races..
I still think Newman was better behind the wheel and the pit wall than in front of the camera.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Lee Robie on January 14, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Hollywood's attempts at portraying motor racing on the big screen have almost always fallen short. These films often have unrealistic storylines that revolve around cardboard characters, such as the aging champion looking for redemption or the young stud with a death wish. So if someone proposed a story about a 50ish movie star who takes up racing and goes on to win four national championships, finishes on the podium in the Daytona and Le Mans 24 hour races, and even wins in the Trans-Am series, you would probably say "get real."

That Paul Newman accomplished all that and more in a 30-year racing career begun at an age when most guys are retired is amazing - it ranks as one of the most incredible sports stories ever. Which is why I was so disappointed with Winning: The Racing Life of Paul Newman, Matt Stone's new hardcover picture and fluff treatment of Newman's racing life.

You won't find the inside story of what Newman did, and how he did it here. Barely half of this thin 175-page volume is dedicated to Newman's driving career. Winning is really an appreciative scrapbook, filled with numerous pictures and remembrances, but with no attempt to be balanced or to tell the whole story.

From the roughly 40 sidebars by friends, crew members, drivers, and team owners, we learn that PLN:
* was humble, and just wanted to be one of the guys
* wasn't a natural, but liked driving fast
* enjoyed practical jokes
* liked to hang out and be a regular guy
* was a real racer (as opposed to?)
Oh yeah, and he really enjoyed being one of the guys (you get the idea).

Newman's story deserves a serious, objective, thoroughly researched treatment.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Deiters on January 19, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Only a couple times a year a well written and edited book on automobile racing comes out. For 2009 "Winning-The Racing Life of Paul Newman" is one of them. It gives a comprehensive overview of his racing life and how it overlapped and interweaved with the other passions of his life-acting, philanthropy, and his family. For the die hard race fan there will be photos and facts not seen before and for the movie fan a side of their favorite actor that previously was known, but not as detailed as it is in this book. It is an excellent read no matter from which direction you are drawn to the topic.
Buy it for yourself or as a gift. Neither party will be disappointed.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Thomas C. Kennedy on October 7, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Just Finished this book. Great detail and rare photos of his incedible motorsport life. Having seen Mr. Newman race many times at Nelson Ledges, this book rekindled many fond memories. The book is a wonderful tribute to a fine race driver/owner and a great human being.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Speed Readers on December 10, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Winning, The Racing Life of Paul Newman
by Matt Stone and Preston Lerner

The terms actor, philanthropist, and racer combine to describe only one man, Paul Newman. Although he didn't begin his driving career until age 47, he developed quickly and competed into his eighties, eons beyond other competitive drivers. Written around the time of his 2008 death, this book focuses sharply on his racing career, wisely leaving his acting, philanthropic, and family lives for other authors and readers.

To many longtime racing fans, Newman seemed ageless, as if he had discovered some magic elixir that rejuvenated him every time he strapped into a race car. He drove mainly on road courses, everywhere from Nelson Ledges to Le Mans, but also on dirt ovals. He drove not only professionally prepared Porsches (the wicked 935), and Fords in the great endurance races but also karts and sprint cars, often just for grins. For multiple generations of American males, he was a hero. He may have been a Hollywood star, but at the track his humble "one-of-us" attitude meant that he was accepted by racers, who were unimpressed by other forms of fame.

This book's title comes from the 1969 movie that motivated PLN to activate his previous interest in racing. Mario Andretti, who raced for Newman's team for 12 seasons and knew him for more than 40 years, wrote the warm foreword. The book's straightforward text is dramatically enlivened by more than 40 sidebars by racing colleagues: Dan Gurney, Bob and Scott Sharp, Elliott Forbes-Robinson, Skip Barber, Dick Barbour, Rob Dyson, Sam Posey, David Hobbs, Tommy Kendall, Mario and Michael Andretti, Lyn St. James, Danny Sullivan, Christian Fittipaldi, Nigel Mansell, Bobby Rahal, Sebastian Bourdais, and several lesser-known crew members and journalists.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By R. D. Simpson on January 31, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I enjoyed this book as a pictorial homage to an all around good man who started his auto racing late in life, working his way up from cheap beaters to Indy cars. This is a pleasant read with pictures on every page and candid comments from people who competed against, worked with, taught and respected Paul Newman the auto racer. This was Newman's escape from the movie world he held in such low regard. What struck me was Newman's willingness to learn the craft through hard work and patience. There is still room for a more thorough study of Newman the auto racer and one hopes it will be done before those of us who remember him are gone.
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