Book Review: Faster by Neal Bascomb (four stars)

Book Review: Faster: How a Jewish Driver, an American Heiress, and a Legendary Car Beat Hitler’s Best by Neal Bascomb (four stars)

“To win the prize, it is necessary to take great risks.” René Dreyfus

Excellent history of inter war auto racing in Europe emphasizing the struggle of Lucy Schell to a field competitive French Grand Prix car against the Silver Arrows of Mercedes and Auto Union in the gathering dusk before World War Two.

“There was only one thing wrong, [Redacted]. The others drove like mad, but you drove like … a night watchman.”

Ostensibly about Lucy Schell’s Écurie Bleue team headed by René Dreyfus driving Delahaye racers, the book traces the fortunes, genius, and compromises of many teams and drivers pursuing their sport while civilization teetered on the brink. As much about Rudi Caracciola as René Dreyfus.

Races were increasingly a battleground between nations rather than individual drivers, and the Nazis were clearly investing to dominate.

Photos and maps enhance the reader’s appreciation. Name and nickname changes muddle the narrative. Skip the self-serving introduction bogs the story. The prologue is fine. Appropriate 30s style cover.

“We cannot go on this way … One of us will die.” Bernd Rosemeyer