Archive for Items Categorized 'Biography/ Autobiography', only excerpts shown, click title for full entry.

Kim: A Biography of M.G. Founder Cecil Kimber

by Jon Pressnell

This epic book is less about the cars than the man behind them, and in this case especially you cannot appreciate the former without the latter. Pressnell leaves no stone unturned to present a multi-faceted picture of a complicated man who took the firm to the loftiest of heights—only to be fired.

Jock Lewes, Co-Founder of the SAS

by John Lewes

This early admirer of Hitler became so disillusioned with the Nazi regime’s methods that he volunteered for an elite British outfit specializing in counter-espionage, the Special Air Service and became its principal training officer.

Crusader, John Cobb’s Ill-Fated Quest for Speed on Water 

by Steve Holter

For what do you need 5000 lb of thrust? For breaking records. In a jet-powered boat. Air is relatively smooth, water is not. Will it all go right? The author is, among other things, a crash investigator—so probably not.

Bourne to Rally: Possum Bourne, The Autobiography

by Possum Bourne with Paul Owen

The fickle finger of fate . . . this autobiography was completed just days before 47-year-old Bourne had a fatal road accident. While that makes the story especially poignant, there’s a lot of practical stuff here how to keep a racing career humming: talent is essential but not sufficient by itself.

Wheels Within Wheels, An Unconventional Life

by Lord Montagu of Beaulieu

The name of Beaulieu looms large in British history, and not just in a motoring context although the clever book title so obviously alludes to it. His life would have been unconventional even without the law he changed, not as a lawmaker but as a defendant.

Flying with the SPOOKS, Memoir of a Navy Linguist in the Vietnam War

by Herbert P. Shippey

“Join the Navy and see the world!” The U.S. Navy is probably not the first armed service that springs to mind when you think Vietnam—in fact, many people joined the Navy specifically to avoid going there. Navy SIGINT has not been covered extensively and much info was classified for 40 years.

Fast Lady, The Extraordinary Adventures of Miss Dorothy Levitt

by Michael W. Barton

“The Fastest Girl on Earth” had plenty of adventures in life but an inquest ruled her death of morphine poisoning at 40 a misadventure. What good is it to be the first British woman racing driver, the world’s first holder of a water speed record, the first woman to hold a land speed record if no one remembers?

For Flux Sake: Beer, Fags and Opposite-Lock 

by Ian Flux with Matt James

This British driver belongs to the baby boomer generation, the last one to be able to immerse itself in racing without guilt, regret, or even a backward glance. This account of a racer’s life is endearing, frank, shocking, funny and fast-paced—just like its author.

The Last Lap, The Mysterious Demise of Pete Kreis at the Indianapolis 500

by William T. Walker Jr.

On the one hand it was called “the strangest death in all racing history” because no observable causes were found. On the other hand, unobservable forces may/did/could have put so much agony into a man’s soul that going over the edge, flying into the sky, crashing into a tree, was the only sure way to find peace.

Racing With Roger Penske, A History of a Motorsport Dynasty

by Sigur E. Whitaker

Dynasty implies succession but The Captain, after several years as a race car driver, built his empire from scratch and is still involved in many of its aspects. “Most successful” describes most his accomplishments, and this book seems much too small to do them justice.

Raoul ‘Sonny’ Balcaen

by Raoul ‘Sonny’ Balcaen III

You may not know the name, or even how to pronounce it (hint: it’s of Belgian origin) but you would recognize the cars and the people you’ll encounter in this memoir justly subtitled “My Exciting True Life Story.” He could take a car apart by the age of 11 and he’s not stopped since.

The Greatest Escape

by Martin Barratt

RAF Bomber Command’s slogan was “the bomber will always get through.” But not necessarily back. Almost 45% of their aircrews died in WWII. Almost 10,000 were captured, and many kept their stories to themselves. This is one of them.