Michael Cannell: The Limit

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I m not a car acing guy but this is a eally interesting story about how idiculously dangerous formula one acing was in the 50s and 60s was for acers went 180 mph and didn t even wear seat belts and for spectators who were pretty outinely killed when cars and parts thereof would go hurtling off the track the book focuses on a couple of drivers one being phil hill still the only american to ever win the formula one acing championship just the kind of fascina The story of Don Hill and his experience acing in Formula 1 cars before driver safety was an issue No seat belts no oll bars and fire always a problem as many drivers were engulfed in flames after the gas tank exploded Mr Hill was one of the lucky few to live through his career An engrossing ead please As a new fan to F1 this wasn t as much as a book about the Phil Hill vs Wolfgang Von Trips for the 1961 championship as it was a primer on the era I didn t know how any of the aces would turn out or which drivers weren t going to make it so this book was full of surprises I ecognized a few of the names but that was about it Michael Cannell manages to cover a lot of different stories and characters during this dangerous era and makes it all very accessible It s not a knock on his writing at all but a compliment to the clarity to brings to all these storylines I don t think it d be a boring ead even if you knew the history It isn t that technical at all and plays out very much like a drama There s a knack to his storytelling and foreshadowing that I eally enjoyed and a human element given to every one of these daredevils behind the wheel no matter how briefly they were mentioned Honestly I d love to ead about many of these drivers in full biography form like Alberto Ascari Eugenio Castelloti Juan Manuel Fangio Pierre Levegh etc It s never just about Hill and Von Trips deaths and other events allowed them to move up the Ferrari ladder to get to that fateful 1961 season You also get to see some vintage photographs including Enzo Ferrari who eally does loom over the entire story like the man he was It s a treasure trove of a book for a newbie like me An exciting and devastating ead A car gets me from one place to another and as long as it works I am happy So one might wonder why I was attracted to ead this book It jumped off the new books non fiction shelves at the library because I had heard the author interviewed on NPR and thought it would be interesting to ead The book is supposed to be about Phil Hill a ace driver who grew up in Santa Monica California But it is a story of many ace car drivers and also of Ferrari The book ends with the 1961 Grand Prix Circuit and the ivalry created by the press and Ferrari I thought the book was very well written and I enjoyed the chapters describing the lives of certain ace car drivers More photos would have been a plus but there were some and they enhanced the understanding of the ace driver I ecommend this book to anyone who is curious about what it was like to ace cars when many drivers died while driving eitherandor because of vandalism on the course poor design of the car or poor driving abilities Many spectators died too because of cars careening into them or into the stands where they were But the story isn t about death so much as it is about the individual drivers and how they came to be ace. In THE LIMIT Michael Cannell tells the enthralling story of Phil Hill a lowly California mechanic who would become the first American born driver to win the Grand Prix and on the fiftieth anniversary of his triumph brings to life a vanished world of glamour valor and daring With the pacing and vivid description of a novel THE LIMIT charts the journey that brought Hill from dusty California lots acing midget cars into the anks of a singular breed of men competing with dare.

Car drivers The author calls this book novelistic nonfiction and I think that s perfect Cannell tells a iveting story about Formula One acing in the 1950s and 60s by following two acers in particular Peter Hill and Wolfgang von Trips both of whom aced primarily for Ferari I m not much of a acing enthusiast although I always suspected NASCAR couldn t hold a candle to these guys and now I m sure I m ight about that but The Limit gave me an appreciation for the skill of the Formula One drivers the way they isked their lives and the lives of spectators every time they took the track and how Formula One acing sort of played out the greater fears of Europe at that time as the continent tried to heal from WWII and eventually fell into the Cold War Daring unflinching and heartbreaking The Limit was nothing short of a fantastic bookSome have criticised it for some errors and yes as a fan of Formula 1 you can see that there are a few but this book was written by an outsider of the sport someone who doesn t have a great interest in it and that helps capture the story even The fact that a non fan can be captivated by the stories of Phil Hill and von Trips shows how great a story it eally wasThe author manages to get through just how dangerous F1 was at the time you ealise just how dark a period the 50 s and 60 s was in the sport How death was a constant companion and how most of the drivers faced it each time they stepped into the cockpit of their car The accidents they would witness such as the one Phil Hill witness in front of his very eyes at le Mans are bought to life in stark eality You have such a enewed espect for these men that isked their lives just to go fast in an era were safety and protection was so basic and limited there may as well have been none what so ever And the fact that these same men witnessed their team mates friends and ivals die week in and week out and would drive passed the accident time and time again both fascinate and horror the eaderThe fact that the 1961 season ended in such tragedy was not unusual it was however a shame that a very worthy champion was pushed aside because he was forgotten by the bigger story and he was therefore deemed an unworthy champion by many as he won it on the grounds of his chief ivals death at the last minuteDespite the errors the mistakes are few and far between and one can look passed these because ultimately it captures the essence of the sport in a deadly time where nobody knew from one lap to the next whether them or their friends would make it back to the start finish line without serious injury or not at all The book is therefore a testament and tribute not only to Phil Hill and von Trips but also to every driver who aced with death and especially to those who never made it back around the track While I m not a huge sports fan and have no eal interest in motor sports at all I can t deny that The Limit is a thrilling ead and a genuine page turner Michael Cannell s etelling of events surrounding the 1961 European Grand Prix ace circuit is developed as well as any novel with ichly defined characters gruesome plot turns and an ultimate esolution that is simultaneously elating and depressing I m much too young to have known of these events as they were actually happening but this book eally brings them alive as a grand metaphor for post Devils for glory on Grand Prix tracks across Europe Facing death at every turn these men ounded circuits at well over 150 mph in an era before seat belts or oll bars an era when drivers were crushed burned and beheaded with unnerving egularity From the stink of grease smothered pits to the long anxious nights in lonely European hotels from the tense camaraderie of teammates to the trembling suspense of photo finishes THE LIMIT captures the 1961 season that would mark the.

Michael Cannell Ì 9 summary

Ar technological triumph paired with a disregard for safety and a tolerance for casual carnage that is shocking by today s standards Just a great ead all around If I were inclined to be snarky it would be easy to pick holes The eference to 180 degree first corner at Monaco Gasometer it s actually the last corner or the comment about the Sharknose Ferrari with it s 450BHP V6 engine I m not sure exactly how much power it was putting out but given that six years later Cosworth struggled to get 400BHP from their DFV despite the fact it was twice the size I d guess not than 200BHP Michael Cannell is not a acing journalist and as someone who grew up with the sport in the background from the age of about 5 this is sometimes glaringly obvious The thing is it s perhaps because of the outsider s perspective that he brings that this is one of a uite small number of books about motor acing I d ecommend to people with no interest in the sport In fact as with the ecent box office success Rush it might even help if you aren t interested Cannell has described his approach as novelistic non fiction and it s an apt description of what he does The book centres on the story of America s first Formula 1 World Champion Phil Hill and his ivalry with his team mate the German Count Wolfgang Von Trips But it s not so much a book about the nuts and bolts of who won what aces as an insight into what drew a certain kind of individual to compete in a sport which at that time had a frightening fatality ate of the 21 drivers on the grid at Phil Hill s debut Grand Prix at Reims in 1958 8 would die behind the wheel of a acing car Cannell focuses on the fact that for all that both Hill and especially Von Trips were born into considerable wealth and privilege they both had difficult upbringings Hill never got on with his parents described in the book as functioning alcoholics who owed incessantly and were dismayed when their only son dropped out of college to go work as a mechanic Von Trips found himself drafted at the age of 16 to clear bodies out of towns uined by the bombing of the Rhineland fought briefly at the Belgian front and fled his castle in the face of the invading US army he later eturned there and apparently got on well with the GIs stationed at the castle This might go some way to explaining a fatalistic attitude towards sudden violent death than most Indeed eading this book I couldn t help thinking that it was only the context of two enormously brutal World Wars which allowed for a culture in which death was considered outine in what is after all merely a sport Having said that a ecent en Amazing storyracing as it should bedangerous Exciting I loved this era of Formula one acing and Le Mans too The 1950s was one of the most dangerous times during the history of motor acing This book delves into the life of American F1 hero Phil Hill German hero Wolfgang Von Trips and car designer Enzo Ferrari who had both the acers on his elite motor acing teamIt is buzzing with excitement and eye witness accounts of many fatal crashes including Le Mans 1955 Old time greats come into this historical account I honestly could not put this book down It was a creaking ead If you love the history of Motorsports you ll enjoy this Smashing ead I have not enjoyed anything like this in a long timeCA Powell The Last Days of Thunder Child. High point of Hill's career It brings eaders up close to the emarkable men who surrounded Hill on the circuit men like Hill's teammate and ival the soigné and cool headed German count Wolfgang Von Trips nicknamed Count Von Crash and Enzo Ferrari the eclusive and monomaniacal padrone of the Ferrari acing empire Race by ace THE LIMIT carries eaders to its iveting and startling climax the final contest that would decide it all one of the deadliest in Grand Prix histo.

Michael Cannell is the author of three non fiction books Incendiary The Psychiatrist the Mad Bomber and the Invention of Criminal Profiling; The Limit Life and Death on the 1961 Grand Prix Circuit and IM Pei Mandarin of Modernism Michael edited the House & Home section of The New York Times for seven years He has contributed to The New Yorker Newsweek Sports Illustrated and many ot