Phil Hill, a lowly California mechanic who, defying all expectations, became the first American to win the Grand Prix championship. In the tradition of Seabiscuit and The Right Stuff, Cannell’s high-octane narrative evokes the lives of the daredevils who tempted fate each Sunday by driving well over 150 mph without benefit of seat belts or roll bars.
Written with the pacing of a novel, The Limit pits Hill against his Ferrari teammate, German Count Wolfgang Von Trips, as they jockey for the top spot throughout the 1961 season, culminating in one of the deadliest races in Grand Prix history. The Limit captures a distinct moment when men the world over were driven to push the boundaries of the possible.
©2011 Original material Michael Cannell. Recorded by arrangement with Grand Central Publishing, a division of Hachette Book Group USA. (P)2011 HighBridge Company
I am a blind lawyer and aspiring writer, trying to read a little bit of everything but partial to sci-fi and military fiction.
Even though I have followed Formula 1 fairly closely for the better part of two decades, I must admit to having known very little about the sports golden age. I'd heard the outlines of course, about a time when the glamour and glory to be had was only heightened by the danger and sense of fatalism that colored racers' outlooks. This was, I'd heard, a time when racing legends were as likely to end up in an early grave as on a championship podium, and where things like safety measures were a far distant consideration next to performance on the track.
So I was very happy to find in this book not only an account of an iconic American driver's life and times, but a vivid portrait of a world long lost in which death and fame were the fruits of success on the Grand Prix circuit. The author rather dramatically paints in the details of the 1961 rivals' lives, highlighting their contrasting upbringings and sketching in the careers of the drivers and other people who influenced their development. Along the way, there is a long series of tragic stories of men's demise after pushing the limits of their abilities and those of their fragile race cars, or simply being unlucky. By the end, as the author suggests his subject did as well, the reader is left in awe and dismay at the spectacle of this great era in motor sport and the terrible toll it took in lives destroyed.
This book fills a rather specific niche. If you like me knew very little of the details of the early days of Formula 1 racing, it is very much a worthwhile listen. If you are well acquainted with the period however, aside from a few stories here and there with which you might not be familiar, I'd expect you'd get very little from this production.
As for the narration, it is good enough but by no means outstanding. Also, the reader notably employs uncommon pronunciations of several foreign names and racing terms.
Some of the historical tidbits
I'm not sure there was a memorable moment. The story is well known.
The book was ruined by his constant mispronouncing of words and names.
Book was great. I did not enjoy the computer/synthetic sounding reader. But would suggest it to those wanting to know about the ole glory days of racing.
Hill's life was loaded with contradiction... This was captured well.
Correctly pronouncing names and places takes a beating. Michael Schumacher is not pronounced Mikhail Schumacher......
No.... However, Hill's subsequent career was largely skipped over. It was just as interesting as his early career.
It's not often that I could say that I'd listen to an audiobook a second time - but fortunately I can anticipate that I'd forget some of the detail; and I enjoyed this book so much that I might actually listen to it a second time
I really enjoy following F1 - and enjoy listening to stories about the hay day of racing - and I've watched Grand Prix many times - I never expected to be able to find an audiobook that actually recounts the true version of what was fictionalized in the movie. This audiobook is very well narrated, and it easily held my attention as it recounted the career growth and rivalry of two principal drivers from the Golden Years of F1. More importantly it really focuses on the story and atmosphere - and not on the intricate details of racing - and that made it enjoyable - and it was the perfect length.
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