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on 17 May 2017
This book represents an amazing piece of research. The bulk of it deals with the avoidance of capture, capture and interrogation of the members of various French resistance groups. Whilst it covers the pre-war Grand Prix scene adequately it has little to say about sabotage activities during the War. The post war scene is well covered both from the racing side and in the tracking down of the Nazi officials who had perpetrated crimes against those they captured. It does reveal some outrageous betrayals on the part of some resistance personnel and also some staggering bravery on the part of others.
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on 25 June 2016
The first of Mr Joe Saward's books I have read and a very gripping tale it is. Some sad bits and an interesting insight into the real-life working of the resistance and British Intelligence. Brave people but betrayed by friends, collaborators and all sorts of people. A fine book and very engrossing read. Buy it !
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on 9 March 2017
Husband int motorsport Good
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VINE VOICEon 19 July 2007
Representing eighteen years of thorough research which could not be verified until 2003 when certain war time documents were declassified, this is a fascinating piece of work and a glimpse into another murky backdrop of WW2. Saward is actually a professional motor racing journalist and author, his prose really comes to life when the story allows him back into his area of considerable expertise but he does a fine job of unpicking the strands of people and events which weave into this amazing account of intrigue in the face of oppression. There is a fictional version of this story, 'Early One Morning' by Robert Ryan which is a superb read in itself, all the more so because it is largely faithful to the facts uncovered by Saward though there is no acknowledgement of joint research, Ryan recommends Saward's book in his bibliography at the end of his novel.
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on 17 February 2007
A few years back I wrote a novel called Early One Morning, based on the true story of a group of Grand Prix drivers who joined Special Operations Executive during WW2. At the time people asked me why I didn't just write a non-fiction book. Joe Saward's book is the answer. This is the work I couldn't have written and I am glad I didn't try (I'll stick to novels). Saward (whom I have never met or spoken to) has combined his formidable knowledge of GP racing together with a vast quantity of meticulous research and managed, with enviable deftness, to produce a thrilling and heartbreaking story. Anyone interested in the fascinating legend of the racing driver spies Benoist and Williams and Wimille, and in SOE in general, should buy this book. I take my peaked cap off to him.
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on 20 March 2008
I am not a huge fan of motor racing, but despite this I enjoyed the first chapters of the book which is mostly about the early lives and racing careers of the saboteurs. The author really brings the people to life and makes the reader care about them.
Once he starts writing about their SOE activities the book comes to life. He must have done an enormous amount of research, because, despite reading many, many books on the SOE, I found a lot of new information.
Excellently researched.
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on 24 March 2007
A great and fascinating story - it's just a shame that nobody bothered to proof-read it before going to print.
Errors such as duplicated, missing or incorrect words appear with frustrating frequency.
With such a detailed account of the complexities of war-time undercover operations, these errors are an unwanted and unnecessary diversion.

The good news is that a second edition has been released apparently correcting the printing errors and adding even more to the story.
Make sure you get the second edition.
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on 16 March 2007
I first heard of the "characters" of this book in the mid 70's when I first started getting interested and going to GP races including Monaca won by Williams, and the Le Mans 24 Heures, where grandstands were named after Benoist and Wimille. A few weeks ago I found Robert Ryan's novel on the subject and was gripped and intrigued. Then I read about Joe Saward's book in the Telegraph and thought I'd better order it. Absolutely fascinating - I learned a lot about the French Resistance that I'd not previously known - or cared about - before. I'm glad I read these books this way round as fiction is always an easier read and whets the appetite for the sometimes unpalatable truth. The only trouble is, one of my favourite TV programmes, Hallo Hallo, is no longer funny ...
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on 30 January 2007
The Grand Prix Saboteurs is a detailed, intricate story about the secret world of motor racing.

Despite its length, I was surprised at how easily the story flowed and how Joe Saward managed to combine so many different elements into a coherent whole.

A 'classic' in every sense of the word.
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on 16 September 2013
Here is Honour's Review as he is the Reader in the household:

I haven't written a book review for an Amazon-bought product yet, so here goes. An interest in early motor racing is a useful precursor to reading this book but the early chapters helpfully introduce the pre-World War 2 racing drivers and world of motor racing. In fact the main text does not actually centre on motor racing although the subject is always there in the background of some of the major characters in the book. Indeed, the main text is fascinating for racing fans and non-racing fans alike, giving an account of various SOE groups and operations of the Second World War in France. In connection with the actual printing of the book itself, I must compliment the publisher for using high contrast and quite large print for a paperback, although my inherent "perfectionism" did notice a few ommissions of short words like "to" and "the", mainly in the first half of the text.

There is one more proviso that I touch on in the title of this review and that is to not try and read this book quickly. The number of names in this book - aliases and real names, plus the number of different SOE groups etc., is a bit mind-boggling, but for all that, the concentration required is well worth the effort. I would say that this book gives a good idea of the extraordinary tensions within the resistance organisations being organised from Britain, and treachery is a constantly arising theme, which has a climax in the possible betrayal of Robert Benoist by the famous war heroine Violette Szabo. In addition, one is always aware of just how frightening France must have been under the German occupation during the Third Reich, and how lucky we are now to live within a relatively free Western Europe.

As I think the reader of this review will appreciate, I regard this book as being quite something; well worth my five star rating

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