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Mickey Thompson: The Fast Life and Mysterious Death of a Racing Legend Hardcover – Illustrated, 19 Dec 2008

4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Motorbooks International (19 Dec. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0760331782
  • ISBN-13: 978-0760331781
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 16.1 x 2.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,080,398 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review

--Another Five Star, can't miss book for racing fans, and everyone, actually. Arneson's style of writing will pull you in to this interesting story of one of racing's true marathon man heroes. Mickey could do it all, and until his untimely murder, was heralded as a great racer, builder and promoter. Be it Funny Cars, Indy Cars, Land Speed Records and everything in between, Thompson was on top of his game. Your emotions will be on a roller coaster with this book, so get ready when you start reading. You won't be able to put it down --Speed News--It's a compelling book which is hard to put down-Drag Racing Action-it is an excellent book and I recommend it to anyone who is involved in racing. Mickey touched so many people and his life story is simply amazing. Erik, who also wrote the book about Darrell Gwynn and one on John Force, does a great job of capturing the spirit of a man who was involved in so many forms of motorsports--Dragcentral dot com --This 304-page hardcover book, which includes 75 black-and-white photographs, reacquaints readers with Thompson, who he was and what he accomplished--National Speed Sport News--This compelling book is a can't miss book for racing fans, and everyone, actually. Arneson's style of writing will pull you in to this interesting story of one of racing's true 'marathon man' heroes. Mickey could do it all. He was heralded as a great racer, builder and promoter until his untimely murder. Your emotions will be on a roller coaster with this book, so get ready when you start reading. You won't be able to put it down--Carrreraslotcardotnet--Thompson was a highly influential driver and promoter in the drag-racing field of motor sports. A hard charger and innovator, he lived life at 200 miles per hour and in the process developed a legion of fans and not a few enemies. Still, it was shocking when he and his wife were murdered in 1988, even more shocking when it took the authorities 15 years to solve the case, and surreal when a business associate was convicted of the crime nearly 20 years after it happened. Arneson (John Force: The Straight Story of Drag Racing's 300-MPH Superstar) relays the tale in a stark narrative that highlights Thompson's accomplishments, the facts surrounding his death, and the heroic fight of his family to keep the case in the spotlight until justice was served. Recommended for public and all motor sports collections--Library Journal--Mickey Thompson: The Fast Life and Tragic Death of a Racing Legend grabbed me from the second I saw the cover photograph. I would label the image 'A couple of Mavericks.' The photo shows Mickey with a bandaged hand posing in front of a Ford Maverick dragster. How appropriate. Mickey was the ultimate 'Maverick.' He did things one way-HIS way! Mickey Thompson: The Fast Life and Tragic Death of a Racing Legend documents the triumphs and tragedy of this motorsports legend. The book rates four out of five lug nuts--Speed TV dot com-- --Mickey thompson was a charismatic go-getter...a trailblazer with an infectious love of everything auto --Don --Don 'The Snake' Prudhomme;a compelling biography--Practical Classics, June, 2009--it's amazing that Micky Thompson was gunned down more that 20 years ago, yet his killers still haven't been bought to justice. A comprehensive book on the trailblazing hero is long overdue, and, althoguh this 300-page biography doesn't cover the engineering of Thompson's dragsters, indy racers,and record cars, it's an engaging read. The legal nightmare with former business partner Mike Goodwin, the death threats, and lengthy investigations, are all covered, but the heart of the book is Thompson's rise from back-yard mechanic to LSR legend and racing promoter. Rarely out of the headlines, Thompson's life is entertainingly presented by Arneson with co-operation from family and friends. -- -- --Classic American , June, 2009

Erik Arneson received a BRONZE AWARD at the 2008 International Automotive Media Awards for Excellence for this title. Another Five Star, can't miss book for racing fans, and everyone, actually. Arneson's style of writing will pull you in to this interesting story of one of racing's true 'marathon man' heroes. Mickey could do it all, and until his untimely murder, was heralded as a great racer, builder and promoter. Be it Funny Cars, Indy Cars, Land Speed Records and everything in between, Thompson was on top of his game. Your emotions will be on a roller coaster with this book, so get ready when you start reading. You won't be able to put it down. - Greg Zyla, National Speed Sports News When Mickey Thompson and his wife Trudy were assassinated in their driveway in the pre-dawn hours of March 16, 1988, the salacious details of the crime and the years of legal wrangling that followed made for hundreds of splashy headlines and sexy television soundbytes. After all, the story had it all . . . unknown hooded gunmen riding into a gated Southern California community on bicycles, ambushing their victims and brutally ending their lives while neighbors ate breakfast and read the morning paper. Leaving behind more than $70,000 in jewelry, the killing was an obvious "hit," and those close to Mickey and Trudy immediately pointed to Mickey's hot-headed former business partner Michael Goodwin as the mastermind behind the tragedy. Nearly 20 years later, Goodwin was found guilty by a Pasadena Superior Court jury in 2006 of two counts of first-degree murder. The actual gunmen were never identified or apprehended. John Walsh and America's Most Wanted did multiple episodes leading up to the conviction. Robert Stack featured the murders on Unsolved Mysteries. CBS' 48 Hours Mystery got in the act. Everyone wanted a piece of the story. A good story, however, has much more than a powerful ending. Who was Mickey Thompson? What made him more than just another victim of violent crime in America? This is what Mickey Thompson: The Fast Life and Tragic Death of a Racing Legend explores. Mickey was one of the most influential figures in early American motorsports. While he did have loyal and longtime friends, Mickey always did things one way . . . his way. And he did it with speed . . . he did everything with speed. From his 1950s adventures in the Carrera Panamericana, ending with five dead and dramatic pictures in Life Magazine in 1953, through making a one-way run of 406.60 miles per hour at the Bonneville Salt Flats in 1960 in his famed Challenger, through multiple trend-setting entries in the famed Indianapolis 500 and into the creation of some of the most popular off-road racing series and motor sportsstadium shows, Mickey's life was full of "firsts." And in a world that seems to be moving faster than even Mickey Thompson could have imagined, the complete story of this true American legend is one worth slowing down for. Just Customz Review The tragic story of Mickey Thompson as told by Erik Arneson is a compelling read and is difficult to put down. The book opens with a touching foreword by Mickey Thomspon's son, Danny Thompson, before explaining in the first chapter how Mickey and his wife Trudy were both shot outside their home. The book paints a picture of a charismatic and very determined man that achieved great things. Mickey was very good using the media to his advantage and often used it to help fund his next beig project. Mickey was alway an innovator and this was proved when he decided to form his own team for the indy car racing. His new low center-of-gravity cars blew away the competition and led others to quickly follow. There is a also an explanation of how the famous Mickey Thompson tyres came about when Mickey realised the only way to get ahead of the competition in the indy car racing! --Just Customz dot com August 2009

'It's a compelling book which is hard to put down.' --- Drag Racing Action.--'Rarely out of the headlines, Thompson's life is entertainingly presented by Arneson with co-operation from family and friends.' --- Classic & Sports Car--'This 304-page hardcover book, which includes 75 black-and-white photographs, reacquaints readers with Thompson, who he was and what he accomplished.' --National Speed Sport News-- 'This compelling book is a can't miss book for racing fans, and everyone, actually. Arneson's style of writing will pull you in to this interesting story of one of racing's true 'marathon man' heroes. Mickey could do it all. He was heralded as a great racer, builder and promoter until his untimely murder. Your emotions will be on a roller coaster with this book, so get ready when you start reading. You won't be able to put it down.' --- carreraslotcar.net-- 'Thompson was a highly influential driver and promoter in the drag-racing field of motor sports. A hard charger and innovator, he lived life at 200 miles per hour and in the process developed a legion of fans and not a few enemies. Still, it was shocking when he and his wife were murdered in 1988, even more shocking when it took the authorities 15 years to solve the case, and surreal when a business associate was convicted of the crime nearly 20 years after it happened. Arneson (John Force: The Straight Story of Drag Racing's 300-MPH Superstar) relays the tale in a stark narrative that highlights Thompson's accomplishments, the facts surrounding his death, and the heroic fight of his family to keep the case in the spotlight until justice was served. Recommended for public and all motor sports collections.' --Eric C. Shoaf, Library Journal--Mickey Thompson: The Fast Life and Tragic Death of a Racing Legend grabbed me from the second I saw the cover photograph. I would label the image "A couple of Mavericks." The photo shows Mickey with a bandaged hand posing in front of a Ford Maverick dragster. How appropriate. Mickey was the ultimate 'Maverick.' He did things one way-HIS way! Mickey Thompson: The Fast Life and Tragic Death of a Racing Legend documents the triumphs and tragedy of this motorsports legend. The book rates four out of five lug nuts --Speed TV, September 2008

From the Back Cover

"Mickey Thompson: The Fast Life and Tragic Death of a Racing Legend" goes beyond the grisly headline stories covering the mysterious 1988 murder of Thompson and his wife to tell the complete story of a full-throttle driver, an innovative car builder, a tireless motorsports promoter, and a businessman extraordinaire who succeeded in nearly every form of racing. "Mickey Thompson was a charismatic American go-getter . . . a trailblazer with an infectious and stimulating love for the automobile. He was a huge credit to southern California hot rod racing. He and his wife, Trudy, are missed to this day, and it is nice to see a book published recording for history the many contributions he made to the sport of motor racing."-Dan Gurney, first driver to win races in Formula One, NASCAR, and Indy cars "We all knew Mickey Thompson was great, but I didn't realize how amazing and revolutionary he was to the world of racing. I was stuck to this book. I couldn't wait until the next chapter to learn more about this remarkable man."-Don "The Snake" Prudhomme, four-time NHRA Funny Car champion --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Format: Hardcover
The title of this review is an apt quote from one who knew him- another great one was: "He went through life like a guy escaping from a bank robbery". At the mention of the name Mickey Thompson, sadly one thinks automatically of his tragic end shared with his wife. The author is at pains to ensure that we remember the man, once described as the fastest man alive. A picture emerges of a character who must have been impossible to live with, such was his enormous energy. I can't imagine that he could have ever found time to sit down and write a review on a book- even one about himself!! Essentially, one of this world's greatest promoters, he was involved in many aspects of motor sport- from LSRs to Indianapolis (another tragic venture), desert racing which in due course was taken into the stadium. Mickey drove in only one way- pedal to the metal! It's a good read and one that is not written with rose coloured spectacles. If I have any criticism, it is that the story deserves a better publication. The paper is not of good quality, which, in turn, reflects on poor images of many excellent photographs. Nevertheless, the book is good value for money.
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By Alan. J. Reynolds TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 22 April 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I looked forward to reading this book . However , after reading the preface , acknowledgements and first chapter I came close to giving up on the whole thing . My initial thoughts were that I was being addressed by a journeyman journalist who was just stringing together a bunch of interviews and recollections rather ackwardly .

Once we started to read Thompsons early life story then Arneson began to find his stride . Mickeys courting of his first wife Judy , his early drag racing and his management of Lyons Dragstrip made fascinating reading . Thompsons record breaking in the late fifties and early sixties , and his 1960 attempt on the Land Speed Record were well covered , although Arneson is a little sketchy on technical detail .

Arnesons lack of technical knowledge is most evident in his account of Thompsons Indy 500 efforts . Arneson is just unaware of how ill-prepared and poorly engineered the majority of Thompsons Indy cars were . The author Joe Scalzo characterised these efforts as being ones 'that gave stupid a bad name ' The account of Thompson turning away from the Indy 500 and back into drag racing and record breaking is informative .

The best part of the book comes two thirds of the way through . Here we get the tale of Mickeys growing fascination with off-road racing , his stadium promotions and his fatal business partnership with Mike Goodwin . From there on , as we follow the investigation of the murder of Mickey and Trudy Thompson , Erik Arneson at last shows quality . Crime reporting is evidently his real forte . The final parts of the book are compelling reading .

This book can be summarised as good in parts , poor in others . Mickey Thompson is still a subject awaiting a great biographer .
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars 62 reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars A decent book, but not outstanding 8 Mar. 2014
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The cover of the book more or less describes it perfectly, with the emphasis on MT's death. There are relatively brief descriptions of his family, childhood, business, and racing, but not as much detail as I would have liked, and not much on his character as a man. One gets the impression that the author was a friend of the family and didn't want to offend them in any possible way.

The book does give a great deal of detail about MT's LSR efforts, and some information about his Indianapolis and off-road achievements, but little about his drag racing cars and teams. It looks more at his life as a promoter and race track operator. His death and the resulting investigation are extensively described, and it is clear that the author is fully convinced of Goodwin's guilt (spoiler: if you are not familiar with the story, a former business partner was eventually convicted after years of speculation and investigation of the murders, though the actual shooters were never found. The evidence was largely circumstantial, and Goodwin is by all accounts a thoroughly unpleasant individual, which probably more than anything else led to his conviction.) All in all, well worth reading, but not outstanding.
4.0 out of 5 stars Mysterious murder ends life of a racing legend 10 Mar. 2014
By Bob Valdez - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This recap of Mickey Thompson's life was written fairly well and covered many issues that were not common knowledge concerning the well known (in the racing community) Thompson. Mickey Thompson was a racer's racer that helped mold much of professional racing into an entertainment standard.

I was very intrigued with the information concerning the murder of Thompson and his wife. It took a very long time for the case to be solved and proved. The actual perpertrators (shooters) have never been nabbed which is odd in itself. Perhaps one day the complete details of the shooters will float to the surface and they too will be imprisioned along with the guy (Godwin) that hired them. Meanwhile the Godwin guy is behind bars and should be on death row for what he did.

MIckey Thompson was quite a promoter and very good for the sport of drag racing in particular. His innovative spirit has been something many of that community have aligned with over the years. It is a shame that someone of Thompson's stature has not been the guiding force within the National Hot Rod Association. IF he had been, drag racing would have grown many times over.
3.0 out of 5 stars ... in depth into the life of one of the greatest names in motorsports 24 Jun. 2016
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was really looking forward to a book that would go in depth into the life of one of the greatest names in motorsports. Unfortunately, this books only gives an overview of his history. It is good for someone looking to see the breadth of this incredible man's influence, but doesn't leave the reader feeling as though they understood him as a person or what drove him to the incredible lengths he went to.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars America's Racer 16 Dec. 2008
By James A. Kroeger - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A real page-turner about one of the icons of speed. A self-taught, Southern California hot rodder who engineered and raced land speed record cars and was part of the rear-engine revolution at Indy. I sat in front of the 1964 Indy 500 pileup that killed Thompson's driver, Dave McDonald and veteran Eddie Sachs - Mickey was accused of building a junk car and contributing to the disaster, but the other side of the story was the always conservative USAC officials who forced last-minute changes in his racer without time to retest the car. Well written book that fully explores the investigative work that led to the jailing of Mickey's former partner who ordered the murder of Mickey and his wife 14 years prior.
4.0 out of 5 stars Well worth a read 4 Oct. 2012
By Mike D - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Excellent book written very well and filled in some of the blanks about this man and his tradgic death, M/T was one of the founders and pioneers of drag racing and aftermarket car parts. Very interesting to see some of the people that are now household names in the performance industry like wieand, deist, simpson etc appear in the book. I have used many of these products and forgot just how these fledging companies started building product because nothing was available at the time. For any person with an interest in performance cars this book is highly recomended.
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