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The Bluebird and the Dead Lake: The Classic Account of how Donald Campbell broke the World Land Speed Record (Sports Classics) [Paperback]

John Pearson , Richard Williams
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
RRP: 10.00
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Book Description

1 Aug 2013 Sports Classics

In 1964, in Australia's remote outback, on the dazzling saltpan of Lake Eyre, Donald Campbell set out to drive his Bluebird car at over 400 miles an hour - faster than any man in history. Things went wrong from the start: unseasonal rains, a sodden lake bed in which every high-speed run slewed dangerously, money running short...even an Aboriginal curse. WIth death shimmering on the horizon before him, the lonely Campbell tried to hold his nerve until he broke the record. Campbell would lose his life eventually on Coniston Water, with over thirty years passing before his body was recovered in 2001, but this strangest - and greatest - of all his world record attempts was witnessed by a young reporter. John Pearson's classic book about Donald Campbell is an extraordinarily compelling and moving portrait of a modern tragic hero, fighting a battle with inhospitable elements and the outer limits of technology - and, above all, with himself.


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Product details

  • Paperback: 204 pages
  • Publisher: Aurum Press Ltd; PB Reissue edition (1 Aug 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1781311722
  • ISBN-13: 978-1781311721
  • Product Dimensions: 19.9 x 13.2 x 1.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 311,185 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

John George Pearson is a novelist and an author of biographies, notably of Ian Fleming, the creator of James Bond, and of the Kray twins.

Pearson was educated at King's College School, Wimbledon, and Peterhouse, Cambridge, where he won a double first in history. He then worked for The Economist, BBC Television and The Sunday Times. He was Ian Fleming's assistant at the Sunday Times and went on to write the first biography of Fleming, The Life of Ian Fleming', published in 1966.

Pearson was commissioned by Donald Campbell to chronicle his successful attempt on the Land Speed Record in 1964 in Bluebird CN7, resulting in the book Bluebird and the Dead Lake.

Pearson has also written "true crime" biographies, such as The Profession of Violence (The most read book in Great Britain's Prisons), an account of the rise and fall of the Kray twins, who had hired him to write their biography in 1967. Over the next several years the brothers, who by now were in jail, wrote frequently to Pearson. He wrote two further books about the Krays: The Cult of Violence: The Untold Story of the Krays and Notorious: The Immortal Legend of the Kray Twins. In 2010 Pearson put up for auction more than 160 previously unseen letters and photographs from the Kray twins.

Another of Pearson's books, The Gamblers, is an account of the group of gamblers who made up what was known as the Clermont Set, including John Aspinall, James Goldsmith and Lord Lucan. Warner Bros. purchased the film rights to the book in 2006. Pearson's story of The Gamblers has now been made into a TV series called 'Lucan' starring Michael Gambon and Christopher Eccleston, to be aired on ITV1 in two parts on 11th and 18th December 2013.
Pearson's book Facades was the first full-scale biography of the Sitwell siblings Edith, Osbert and Sacheverell. It was published in 1978.

Pearson has also written five novels. Storm Jameson praised his first novel, Gone to Timbuctoo, as "an unusually good first novel, an exciting story, and a splendid setting in French West Africa. The writing is sharp and witty." Malcolm Muggeridge said, "This is an exceptionally brilliant first novel - exciting, wryly funny and perceptive."

For his next three novels Pearson did tie-in fictional biographies. Pearson also became the third official author of the James Bond series, writing in 1973 James Bond: The Authorized Biography of 007, a first-person biography of the fictional agent James Bond. However, Pearson declined an offer to write further Bond novels. Pearson then did fictional tie-in works about Upstairs, Downstairs (The Bellamys of Eaton Place) and Biggles.

John Pearson's new website has recently been launched: http://www.johnpearsonwriter.co.uk

Product Description

Review

'An honest and revealing account of a poignant drama.'

(Sunday Times)

'Mr Pearson's impressions of the hot, dead world of blinding light in which ambitions, jealousy and suspicion flare up...are vivldly conveyed.'

(TLS)

'Pearson's account of 1964's strange days in the Australian desert shimmers with heat haze and human drama.'

(Guardian)

About the Author

JOHN PEARSON is a renowned author and journalist who books include The Profession of Violence, his famous biography of the Kray twins which won the Edgar Allan Poe Special Award, The Life of Ian Fleming, The Life of James Bond, The Sitwells and Painfully Rich: The Outrageous Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Heirs of J. Paul Getty and The Cult of Violence.
RICHARD WILLIAMS is the chief sports writer of the Guardian. His books include The Death of Ayton Senna, Racers, Long Distance Call: Writings on Music, and Enzo Ferrari: A Life


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding 25 July 2013
Format:Paperback
This book was tells the story of Donald Campbell's courageous bid for the land speed record in 1964. Campbell himself commissioned John Pearson to write it, but don't let that fool you. Pearson does not hold back on his description of Campbell the man, and how his quest to become the fastest man on earth consumed him, and left him lost, notwithstanding his ultimate success. The book is immensely readable in its own right, portraying the incredible heartbreak and frustration that Campbell had to endure before the record was broken. If this book had not been written at the time, this important episode would have been lost to history. An incredible book for enthusiasts and non - enthusiasts alike. Buy this version or an original 1965 reprint. You will not be disappointed. Far more gripping than any fiction,
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5.0 out of 5 stars Donald Campbell a legand 16 Oct 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A great story about a forgotten hero and the sacrifice he went through to achieve his dream of becoming the fastest man on earth my hero RSVP Donald
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