“The first Grand Prix I ever saw was at Monaco, May 1958. There were sixteen starters, of whom eight would die at the wheel, four of them before the year was out. Two more would crash, survive in a diminished state, and never race again… Death in a racing car began to seem to me not only inevitable, but almost normal.
“During the following years I got to know the drivers well. They were young mean like me, and they talked of getting killed all the time which astonished and confused me.”
With those words Robert Daley begins his momentous work The Cruel Sport. First published in 1963 and then revised and republished in 2005, The Cruel Sport remains one of the most important and fascinating books ever written about Grand Prix racing. It takes place long before there was any real safety equipment in the cars and with the circuits surrounded by buildings, trees and stone walls. Its underlying theme is how the drivers, all with the knowledge that death was never far away, lived every day with that beckoning spectre.
Robert Daley is a famous American writer with some 28 books published, five of which were made into films, and include Year of the Dragon, Target Blue and A Faint Cold Fear. He has recently published a semi-autobiography about his career, available only for the Amazon Kindle, and titled Writing On The Edge – The Ups and Downs of a Freelance Career.
If you do not have a copy of The Cruel Sport and would like to own one, we have a very few copies remaining of the 2005 Special Edition (a limited edition of 200 copies, in a custom slipcase and signed by Robert Daley). The price is $95, plus shipping, but we will give a 30% discount to anyone who tells us that they saw this blog. Order at: http://www.klemcoll.com/publications/3.aspx
Good only while supplies last…