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The Limit: Life and Death in Formula One’s Most Dangerous Era

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Amazon Price: £5.03 (as of October 20, 2017 7:45 pm – Details). Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on the Amazon site at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

Also available on amazon.com for £5.03 (as of October 14, 2017 6:43 pm – Details). Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on the Amazon site at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

10 September 1961: at the boomerang-shaped racetrack at Monza, in northern Italy, half a dozen teams are preparing for the Italian Grand Prix. It is the biggest race anyone can remember. Phil Hill – the first American to break into the top ranks of European racing – and his Ferrari teammate, Count Wolfgang von Trips – a German nobleman with a movie-star manner – face each another in a race that will decide the winner of the Formula One drivers' championship. By the day's end, one man will clinch that prize. The other will perish face down on the track.

In The Limit, Michael Cannell tells the thrilling story of two parallel lives that come together in tragedy on a hot late-summer afternoon. He charts their careers from childhood and adolescence lived in the shadow of world war; through their gruelling experiences in such deadly road races as the Mille Miglia and the 24 Hours of Le Mans; to their coming of age in the hothouse atmosphere of Enzo Ferrari's Formula One team of the late 1950s. The quiet and self-contained Hill was a pathological worrier who vomited before a race and enjoyed Bartok and Shostakovich – rather than Campari and debauchery – thereafter; the dashing von Trips lived life as fast as he drove his 'sharknose' Ferrari, and yearned to inspire a nation fractured and traumatized by war. Both men strove to attain the perfect balance of speed and control that drivers called 'the limit': to drive under that limit was to run the risk of failure; to go beyond it was to dice with death.

The Limit is a vivid and atmospheric recreation of a lost world of seductive glamour and ever-present danger. Michael Cannell tells a moving and unforgettable tale of high speed and burning rivalry – and of young lives lived in the shadow of oblivion.

Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1878 KB
  • Print Length: 337 pages
  • Publisher: Atlantic Books; Main edition (1 Nov. 2011)
  • Sold by:  Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005WTOUZU
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray: Not Enabled
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

Customer Reviews

Could Not Put This Book Down

One person found this helpful.
 on 9 March 2014
By Retro Brit
If you are a formula one fan and want to learn about the dangers of the 1950s F1 races, then this is a must. It follows the exploits of Phil Hill, the American F1 racer and Wolfgang Von Tripps of Germany. These two racers come up through the ranks alongside many other great racers from Spain, Italy, Britain etc.

life and death in motor racing, pre health and safety

One person found this helpful.
 on 13 March 2013
By Kindle Customer
Very interesting book about an era in motor racing that is before my time. I had vaguely heard of some of the brave young drivers, so many of whom, lost their lives to their sport in a time when racing prestige for the car companies was put before safety for the drivers, (and spectators). A fast paced read, in keeping with the subject which offers an insight and glimpse into a lost time and also into the foundations of modern Formula 1. If you like motor racing, you’ll love this book, even if you are not particularly into motor racing, it is still a very good read.

Almost as good as it gets

18 people found this helpful.
 on 4 December 2011
By John Joss
Cannell captures the ’50s/’60s era, its drivers, the cars and the ethos compellingly, creating a story that contrasts starkly with today’s Formula 1 scene. This was a time when track and race-car safety provisions were negligible and risks astronomical. Drivers died often, in all kinds of events from F1 to sports-car endurances races such as the Le Mans 24-hour.

A truly gripping read

5 people found this helpful.
 on 27 December 2012
By Gerrish
Probably the best and most moving account of motor racing, it’s drama, passions, history, tragedies and courage I have ever read. Anyone with any interest in the sport cannot fail to be gripped by this book. Based primarily on the racing life of American Phil Hill in the post World War 2 years through to the early sixties and intimately interwoven with the life story and ultimate death of Wolfgang von Tripps, it also covers much of the sport’s preceding history and includes a frank and revealing assessment of Enzo Ferrari and his role in that history. Must not be missed either by true wwwaficionados of the sport or those seeking a better understanding of the origins of modern Formula 1.

Fascinating Account of the Era of Carnage

3 people found this helpful.
 on 7 October 2014
By Brett H
This is a detailed account of motor racing and in particular Formula 1 in the period between the mid 1950s and early 1960s. At the core is the rivalry between the German nobleman, Count Wolfgang von Trips and the American, Phil Hill, who was to become the first Formula 1 World Champion from his country. This pair could not have been more dissimilar both in background and temperament, although they eventually found themselves as teammates at Ferrari. Trips was flamboyant with an eye for the ladies and a driving style which verged on the reckless. Hill was a much more introverted character and would prefer to sit listening to classical music rather than partying. His driving style was also much more considered which is probably why he lived to an old age unlike most drivers of that era.

An excellent book, extremely well written

8 people found this helpful.
 on 13 January 2012
By H. G. Weatherley
I bought this book for myself for Christmas. Well, why not? It is well researched, well written, well illustrated and competitively priced. Very sad in parts given the number of participants and spectators killed during this period. However, this is a MUST for all motor racing afficionados.

Some less well-known stories from the era

One person found this helpful.
 on 26 December 2012
By Jersey Customer
I bought this as a present for my F1-mad 18 year old daughter. She is a walking/talking encyclopedia of F1, she has all the stats and numbers and names just in her head, but is constantly adding to her knowledge by reading up on the more distant (to her) era of the earlier days of the sport. She says that the three drivers who are mainly referenced in this book (can’t remember them all, but from memory Phil Hill and Von Tripps are two of them) offer a fascinating insight into F1 in those days, and as a result my daughter has become a real champion of their memories. A good book for the keen enthusiast.

Good effort

One person found this helpful.
 on 7 November 2013
By Blue Brazil
First of all, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and got through it in a couple of days. Cannell is a very good writer and the text flows nicely.

A good overview of racing risks

5 people found this helpful.
 on 14 February 2012
By Louandrew
It needs no introduction to establish this was the era of high glamour and high risk. ‘The Limit’ serves to give a good overview of the lifestyle and death of the racers primarily in the 50’s and 60’s. This mainly centres around the central characters of Wolfgang Von Trips, Phil Hill & Mike Hawthorn with nods towards the earlier racers of Nuvolari, Fangio and the iconic Enzo Ferrari.
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