Against His Own Nature

Formula 1 and sports car racing back in the 50’s and early 60’s, when drivers wore polo shirts and flimsy helmets, and before seat belts and other safety-related developments, is for a host of reasons a most appealing topic, but the more you think of it, the less satisfactory is the present result: this book.  There are striking or even puzzling aspects of this book as a book, and as a product with tie-ins as well.

For example, 1961 rings a bell, as we are, as I write, yet in the 50th anniversary of that year.  Yet the 50th anniversary of the Grand Prix of Italy at the Autodromo Nazionale at Monza on September 10, the ostensible climax and focus if not the subject of The Limit, was sloughed off, as the publication date was November 1.  And even this detail is odd, since—more than two years ago, according to the publicity releases at the time—the film rights for this volume were sold to Tobey Maguire and his production company.  So it seems that the book was written after its commercial exploitation was already packaged; which raises the question of how anyone can own facts or history, as there is not much here that was not previously known to the people who want to know.  The subject is a natural for enthusiasts but not for the general public, as the publishers understand, as is acknowledged in the volume itself, and by the film producers.


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