Enzo Ferrari and his sports cars dominated racing beginning in 1952; the 1960s brought high speeds and concerns about safety, as drivers and fans were killed in spectacular crashes. Henry Ford II became determined to unseat Ferrari from his position as the premier sports car manufacturer. Baime (Big Shots: The Men Behind the Booze) combines the saga of the heroic drivers with personal stories of the ruthless and canny businessmen who financed the sport. He focuses on the Grand Prix races at Le Mans and includes all the big names: Carroll Shelby, Lee Iacocca, Phil Hill, Mario Andretti, and John Surtees. The author's profiles are not always flattering, but tantalizing insider stories make the legends of the sport sympathetic, e.g., Hill, born into a well-to-do California family, rebuilt his first car at the age of 12, with help from his aunt's butler. VERDICT Baime tells an exciting story at a pace that manages to keep up with the drivers. Racing and automotive enthusiasts will get caught up in the drama of the sport and its colorful personalities.Susan Belsky, Oshkosh P.L., WI
Turbo-charged look at the heated race-car rivalry between Ferrari and Ford. In this cultural history, character study and page-turning action-adventure story, Playboy executive editor Baime (Big Shots: The Men Behind the Booze, 2003) focuses on France's 24-hour Le Mans race in the mid-1960s-which doubled as an advertising showcase for Ford and Ferrari to sell cars. This was the international playground where self-promotional genius Enzo Ferrari and the impossibly wealthy, ambitious Henry Ford II could most visibly conduct their battle for supremacy. The two biggest automotive chess masters of the day squared off in something akin to a 20th-century version of The Knight's Tale, where race-car drivers were little more than expendable pawns in their quest for wealth and global domination. Baime covers the golden-era years from 1964 to 1966, when a culture of youth and speed ruled and car racing was still considered a gentleman's sport. In the author's capable hands, the controversial 1966 Le Mans race makes for the ideal climactic centerpiece. The furious narrative pace never lets up, with facile but effective tension-building transitions between each chapter. Baime also provides ample historical and biographical context for nearly everyone involved-not just the big shots Ford and Ferrari, but also the steel-nerved drivers and invaluable pit crews. These included Ferrari's seemingly indestructible champion John Surtees, the perennial underdog driver Phil Hill and Ford's mechanical mastermind Carroll Shelby. Baime's rich descriptions of the cars-including the muscular Shelby Cobra and the curvy, sexy Ferrari-lift them to near-human proportions. The ultimate speed-readAuthor tour to NewYork, Detroit, Los Angeles
"All I can say is: Wow! Go Like Hell drops you right smack in the middle an intense and ferocious battle between Ford and Ferrari in the 1960s. Baime's exceptional voice puts the reader into minds of the drivers, designers, and executives who formed the Golden Age of racing; his fantastic descriptions allow the reader to feel the pounding of the cylinders. If you like cars—nay, if you have ever seen a car—you must read this book!"
—Garth Stein, New York Times bestselling author of The Art of Racing in the Rain
"Light up a Lucky Strike. Pour yourself a good stiff drink. Go Like Hell is a wonder, chock-a-block with great heroes and villains, a pedal-to-the metal account of greed and gumption, a chronicle of obsession and vain glory. Don't worry about that seat belt. Just go for the ride."
—Leigh Montville, author of The Big Bam, Ted Williams and At the Altar of Speed
"Go Like Hell is an epic. Ambitions, lives, fortunes, friendships, and a place in historyall are on the line here. A.J. Baime marvelously reveals the people behind the machines."
—Neal Bascomb, author of The Perfect Mile and Hunting Eichmann
"Mix sport, death and big business, the biggest. Throw in vivid portraits of Enzo Ferrari and Henry Ford II, and the drivers, men obsessed with speed and fast cars while trying not to get killed. Go Like Hell is a very hard book to put down. Sharp and suspenseful from beginning to end."
—Robert Daley, author of The Cruel Sport and Year of the Dragon
"Baime’s skillful reporting and introspective writing style make for an insightful portrait of two automobile legends, as well as an exciting account of a bygone era in racing and in American culture."
"Turbo-charged look at the heated race-car rivalry between Ferrari and Ford... Baime’s rich descriptions of the card lift them to near-human proportions. The ultimate speed-read."
"A remarkably intimate look into the famous 1960s Ford-versus-Ferrari battles at Le Mans."
"Like the cars it describes, Go Like Hell is a streamlined marvel built for speed, fueled by testosterone and likely to elicit happy grins from anyone who has ever heard music in the squeal of a tire or the roar of an engine . . . [Baime] hits the gas, pops the clutch and takes readers on a red-blooded ride to glory that will have them smiling all the way to the checkered flag." —Dallas Morning News
"A pleasure to read . . . chronicles a time when an unfettered Detroit, led by 'car guys,' could achieve great things."Wall Street Journal
"Henry Ford II’s monumental effort to topple Enzo Ferrari from the summit of sports-car racing at Le Mans is vibrantly told in this fast-paced account of the clash between the two fearsome, hyper-competitive automotive titans." – Bloomberg
"Insightful, well written accounts of the events and people involved along with inspired detail regarding the vehicles makes for a page turner. This is an ideal book for gear-heads, automotive enthusiasts, historians and people who might find amazing symmetry in what happened over 40 years ago verses what is happening today." Denver Examiner
"Engaging... Grips you from the early pages to the conclusion."Autoweek