on 19 December 2001
Hilton proves himself to be not just a brilliant racing journalist and author but also a superb historian. The 1937 and 1938 Grand Prix were dominated by German technical superiority but Hilton also paints a portrait of the men behind the wheel- very human men, like Londoner Dick Seaman. Certainly this is also a good social narrative as well and portrays a nervy society, on the brink of war, in 1938 as the Grand Prix looked dubious against the background of the Munich Conference. A thoroughly good read on many levels.
on 27 August 2009
This is a fascinating account of not just the motor races at Donnington prior to the second world war but a glimpse into the events in history at this time. At first I had trouble with the conversational style of writing in the book but in the end this draws you in personally to the drama as it unfolds. The author's account of the 1937 race clearly highlights the differences between the attitudes of the germans to the sport and that of the other, largely british entries in the race. The wonderful photographs of the track (?) at that time serve to show the considerable dangers that faced these brave men in their machines. Only the sounds of these immense cars is missing but you can almost hear them in your mind through Christopher Hilton's narrative. As motor racing moves on a year to 1938 we start to realise the terrible risks that the drivers took as some of them are no longer able to race only 12 months on. In the background to all this the changes in the social structure in Europe are outlined to give a taste of the unfolding events taking place on the political stage which had direct and indirect influence on the race. All in all this book is as gripping as a major thriller but this is real life, all too real for some in and out of the sport. What a shame these amazing men and women of this era are forever shrouded by the spectre of the horror to come.
on 25 January 2011
Chris Hilton writes like a Pathe newsreel, its almost like watching a film of the time as events roll out across Europe, Using the centeral theme of the Donnington GPs he produces a vived tale that is part of motor racing history. Not only that but it is a cracking book of a Grand Prix that nearly didn't happen. Worth every penny.
on 9 January 2000
Overall an excellent insight into the 1937 and 1938 races, with numerous extracts from period news along with stories from those who were there. Mr Hilton's dramatisation of the political background may be a little overdone, but the second race in particular was affected by the shuttle diplomacy of the Munich crisis. There are some proofing errors, e.g.; two of the photos on p102 show the 1938 grid, where the captions refer to the earlier race, but these do not detract too much from the overall value of the book. I'm pleased I own a copy.