Buying Options

Kindle Price: $1.99

Save $17.00 (90%)

These promotions will be applied to this item:

Some promotions may be combined; others are not eligible to be combined with other offers. For details, please see the Terms & Conditions associated with these promotions.

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Buy for others

Give as a gift or purchase for a team or group.Learn more

Buying and sending eBooks to others


Select quantity
Buy and send eBooks
Recipients can read on any device

Additional gift options are available when buying one eBook at a time.  Learn more


These ebooks can only be redeemed by recipients in the US. Redemption links and eBooks cannot be resold.

Quantity: 
This item has a maximum order quantity limit.

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

<Embed>
Kindle App Ad
Loading your book clubs
There was a problem loading your book clubs. Please try again.
Not in a club? Learn more
Amazon book clubs early access

Join or create book clubs

Choose books together

Track your books
Bring your club to Amazon Book Clubs, start a new book club and invite your friends to join, or find a club that’s right for you for free.
The Limit: Life and Death on the 1961 Grand Prix Circuit by [Michael Cannell]
Audible Sample
Playing...
Loading...
Paused

Follow the Author

Something went wrong. Please try your request again later.


The Limit: Life and Death on the 1961 Grand Prix Circuit Kindle Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 199 ratings

See all formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Price
New from Used from
Kindle
$1.99

Length: 323 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled Audible book:
Audible book
Switch back and forth between reading the Kindle book and listening to the Audible book with Whispersync for Voice. Add the Audible book for a reduced price of $7.49 when you buy the Kindle book.
Available
click to open popover

Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
    Apple
  • Android
    Android
  • Windows Phone
    Windows Phone
  • Click here to download from Amazon appstore
    Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

kcpAppSendButton
Amazon Business : For business-only pricing, quantity discounts and FREE Shipping. Register a free business account

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review


Photos from The Limit
(Click on Images to Enlarge)


Phil Hill and Wolfgang von Trips share the laurel wreath after von Trips finished first and Hill second at the 1961 Dutch Grand Prix. (Credit: Associated Press)

The 156 Sharknose was Ferrari’s answer to the nimble British cars of the late 1950s. Built in secret with the flared nostrils of a predator, the Sharknose returned Ferrari to dominance. (Credit: Klemantaski Collection)

Phil Hill leads a procession of Ferraris on the notorious banking at Monza, site of the 1961 Italian Grand Prix. "This was a duel in the sun," a correspondent wrote, "and the pace was too hot to last." (Credit: Cahier Archive)

At the 1955 running of Le Mans, Pierre Levegh’s Mercedes spun into the grandstand, killing 83 spectators. For Phil Hill, it was a barbarous introduction to the European circuit. (Credit: Credit: Getty Images)
Author Q&A with Michael Cannell

First off, what is the "limit" in Formula 1 racing?

Fifty years ago drivers talked obsessively among themselves about a threshold known as "the limit." They believed that in any given car, on any given turn, they could go only so fast before their tires lost adhesion to the road and the car spun or flipped. Their great challenge was to identify that perimeter of speed--the limit--and stay close to it for as long as possible without surpassing it. Racing amounted to a deadly game of brinksmanship. In their desperation to win, some drivers knowingly exceeded the limit, often with fatal results.

Drivers measured their proximity to the limit in tenths. A team manager might order them to practice at no more eight-tenths of the limit, meaning fast but not reckless. If they accelerated to nine-tenths they pushed the edge of control. At ten tenths they were on the limit, where even the most stoic drivers trembled and sweated. And with good reason. There was a lot more at stake in the days before seatbelts and rollbars.

What drew you to this chapter of Grand Prix history?

My absorption began with photographs. I was working as an editor at The New York Times five years ago when I saw a book by Robert Daley, a former Times correspondent who covered the Grand Prix in the 1950s. The circuit of that era was preposterously glamorous, like La Dolce Vita with car fumes. Many drivers came from prominent European families. Wives and groupies sat in the pits wearing Capri pants and tight cashmere sweaters. But the glamour was closely accompanied by a dark aspect. The sport was dangerous to a degree that seems unthinkable today. For example, in 1955 a Mercedes sports car somersaulted into the grandstand at Le Mans, killing more than 80 spectators. The organizers didn’t even stop the race.

The photographs express the range of emotions, from giddy to heartache. First I was seduced, then obsessed. It wasn’t very long before I stumbled on the rivalry at the heart of my story. I remember thinking, "This is a story that needs to be told."

Nineteen sixty-one was a glamorous time, made popular recently with the success of Mad Men. How does Grand Prix racing fit into the mystique of the early 1960s?

Like Mad Men, The Limit shines with mid-century optimism but one senses an undercurrent of dread. The drivers played poker in first-class cabins of Alitalia flights. They danced at El Morocco in New York and drank in Havana dives. All the while they knew that at least a handful of their companions would die by season’s end.

Who is Phil Hill? Why do you think his remarkable story is not well known today?

Phil Hill is the greatest champion you’ve never heard of. He was a Santa Monica mechanic and hot rodder who worked his way up the dusty ranks of California oval racing and, implausibly enough, joined the Ferrari team in 1956. At first he drove sports cars, then forced his way into Grand Prix where he managed to win, and win consistently, as his friends and teammates died around him. When he wasn’t on the victory podium he was attending funerals. This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of his championship season.

Hill never received much recognition, in part because he didn’t seem like a champion. He was often too anxious to digest solid food. As a result, he traveled with boxes of baby food. In the hours before a race he paced the pits, smoking and compulsively polishing his goggles. A correspondent called him "Hamlet with goggles and gloves."

At its core, The Limit can be seen as an unlikely love story. How does that occur?

Phil Hill’s parents were abusive alcoholics. He gravitated to car mechanics as an escape to an ordered world, a reassuring realm where every action had a predictable reaction. As a driver he kept his distance from women. He did not want relationship issues clouding his mind while he drove at 170 mph, and he considered it unfair to wed while engaged in a dangerous sport. In truth, I don’t think he every expected to marry. The impression of family life left by his parents was too distasteful. He attended their funerals, and the funerals of dozens of drivers, with steely restraint. He had always lived in a state of cold detachment, which served him well as a racer, but not as a person. But at age 44 he wed Alma Svendsen, a spirited blonde teacher. They had met when she visited his house with some students. She unlocked something in him. For the first time, he unclenched and opened himself to the prospect of love and family. He became an entirely different person.

Hill’s main competition for the 1961 Grand Prix title was fellow teammate German Count Wolfgang von Trips. What can you tell me about him?How was his style different than Hill’s?

Like all great sports stories, this was a pairing of opposites. Hill and von Trips were teammates and friends, but they differed in every imaginable way. Hill was a California mechanic; von Trips was a German nobleman raised in a moated castle. Hill had an uncanny understanding of the car’s mechanical life; von Trips cared little about what lay under the hood. Von Trips may not have grasped the engineering subtleties, as Hill did, but he had something arguably more valuable: an instinctive mastery of speed and cat-quick reflexes. To put it another way: Hill drove with his head, von Trips drove with his nerves.

For all their differences, the two men shared something fundamental: Each came to racing from traumatic upbringings. Hill’s parents were alcoholics. Von Trips was a teen when Nazi Germany collapsed. As a member of the Hitler Youth, he was recruited to pull bodies from the rubble. He was determined to be the smiling, handsome face of a new Germany.

Enzo Ferrari is an enigmatic figure who in many ways is at the heart of The Limit. What kind of hold did he have on the drivers on the Ferrari team? Why did the drivers put up with it?

Enzo Ferrari resembled a James Bond villain. He was rarely seen without dark glasses, even in restaurants. He was a shadowy, enigmatic figure who bullied and manipulated the drivers. He had a genius for recognizing a person’s weakness, and he was not afraid to exploit it.

The defining event of Enzo Ferrari’s life was the death of his son Dino of muscular dystrophy at age 24. Every morning he went to Dino’s tomb and spoke aloud to him, as if they were seated at lunch. Every time a driver died he relived the trauma and mourning. And yet he deliberately put his drivers at particular risk by pitting them against each other. He believed that an insecure driver was a fast driver. The drivers stomached it all for a chance to drive the fastest cars in the world. "With Ferrari you not have to worry," a Ferrari manager told Phil Hill. "You get in. You drive. You win."

Formula 1 racing was such a deadly sport in this era.What changes in the sport--technological and otherwise--happened during Hill’s tenure and shortly thereafter?

Today we live in a safety-conscious culture. It’s hard to fathom the dangers routinely faced by drivers in the late 1950s. They drove without flameproof coveralls and roll bars. Their helmets were flimsy cork constructions. Believe it or not, they did without seat belts; the drivers wanted to be unconstrained to leap from the car if necessary. Worst of all, they often raced with brakes so depleted that they would hardly have stopped a bicycle. All of that changed after Hill’s retirement in 1967. Within a few years racing became much safer with the introduction of crash barriers, seat belts and the cockpits designed for quick evacuation.

The Grand Prix circuit took drivers all over the world, making it a truly global sport the way soccer is today. What is the state of Formula 1 racing today?

Fifty years ago racing was still in a state of innocence. The cars were painted national racing colors -- red for Italian teams, green for Great Britain, silver for Germany--with no corporate logos to obscure them. Spectators were free to mingle in the pits, snapping photos and chatting with drivers. Everything changed when the races became televised. Media handlers and sponsorship deals inundated the sport, setting it on its course to becoming the formidable industry it is today.

After Phil Hill took home the championship, what happened to him? Did he race anymore?

The death of Wolfgang von Trips hung like a curse over the Ferrari empire. Eight key managers and engineers walked out before the 1962 season, leaving the Grand Prix team ill-equipped to compete with the resurgent British marques. Hill stayed on for one lackluster season, followed by forgettable stints with other teams. It was a humiliating endgame for a former champion. Shortly before retiring, in 1967, he played an advisory role in the production of Grand Prix, a John Frankenheimer movie partially based on his career. In a case of art imitating life, a main character, played by Yves Montand, spun off the Monza track and died, just as von Trips had five years earlier. Later Hill returned to his first love: the restoration of vintae cars. Then he met Alma, and that changed everything.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Enthralling history of road-racing's golden era... It is clear from Mr. Cannell's well-researched chronicle that men like Hill and von Trips, however different their styles, wouldn't have raced without the specter of death tugging at their shoulder."―The Wall Street Journal

"Michael Cannell's narrative rides in the shadows of Laura Hillenbrand's Unbroken in the way it introduces a fascinating cast while reviving a time and place in which death danced with glory... In often jaw-dropping detail, Cannell explores both Hill's triumph (he remains the only Yank to win Formula One's coveted crown) as well as the grizzly world that was auto racing in an age before safety concerns."―USA Today

"With THE LIMIT, Michael Cannell has given us a sports epic for the ages, as well as a memory of one the great eras of the American century. It ranks with John Milius's script for Big Wednesday and James Salter's Downhill Racer. As my father would say, it's not about a race. It's about life."―Rich Cohen, author of Sweet and Low

"Before I wanted to become a writer I longed to become a Ferrari race car driver. THE LIMIT dropped me into the driver's seats of the fastest cars in the world during the Grand Prix explosion of the 50's and 60's. The story here is compelling and fast...the characters are massive men breathing speed and chewing adrenalin. This is a V12 blast of a book."―Anthony Swofford, author of Jarhead

"Vivid biography of a fast-and-furious competitor on the Grand Prix racing circuit . . . a passionate, ambitious work . . . Cannell doesn't lean on the crutch of exposition to convey Hill's intrepid, sporty story, demonstrating great talent as a biographer. A crisply written, effectively compelling chronicle."―Kirkus Reviews

"Cannell's full-throttle epic leaves you breathless."―Publishers Weekly

A roaring zip about an American who took on the 1961 Grand Prix... as Cannell recounts in this winning book, Hill would prove to be a groundbreaking figure in the history of international racing-even as his accomplishments were met with a collective shrug of the shoulders in his native country.... Racing diehards, of course, will know the outcome. But the rest of us will come to this story blissfully unfamiliar with the thrills and sorrow contained in the book's last 70 pages.―The Daily Beast

Exhilarating... Its pages are filled with tales of nationalistic ardor, devil-may-care bravura, and gallows humor. And there are wrecks. Grisly, spectacular, pyrotechnic wrecks.... The Limit reads like a thriller. And his breathless depictions of disaster will have you white-knuckling your armchair.―The Boston Globe

A testosterone-fueled nonfiction book about auto racing in its bloody golden age, The Limit provides the drama and nostalgia of Seabiscuit and the body count of Gladiator. Its riveting, guy-centric story places readers behind the wheel as two vastly different drivers compete for Formula 1 glory.... In prose as fast and unadorned as an early Ferrari, Cannell rolls out an entertaining and exciting story on the way to the finish line.―Associated Press --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product details

  • File Size : 2262 KB
  • Language: : English
  • Word Wise : Enabled
  • Lending : Not Enabled
  • Print Length : 323 pages
  • Publication Date : November 7, 2011
  • Publisher : Twelve; 1st Edition (November 7, 2011)
  • ASIN : B004QZ9PN8
  • Text-to-Speech : Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting : Enabled
  • Screen Reader : Supported
  • X-Ray : Not Enabled
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.5 out of 5 stars 199 ratings

Related video shorts (0)

Be the first video

Your name here

Customer reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5
199 global ratings
How are ratings calculated?

Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on March 18, 2018
Verified Purchase
Reviewed in the United States on March 20, 2012
Verified Purchase
2 people found this helpful
Comment Report abuse
Reviewed in the United States on December 3, 2011
Verified Purchase
One person found this helpful
Comment Report abuse
Reviewed in the United States on January 1, 2012
Verified Purchase
Reviewed in the United States on November 11, 2012
Verified Purchase
Reviewed in the United States on October 7, 2013
Verified Purchase

Top reviews from other countries

Retro Brit
5.0 out of 5 stars Could Not Put This Book Down
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 8, 2014
Verified Purchase
Kindle Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read about dark times in Formula 1 racing.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 20, 2016
Verified Purchase
Jersey Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Some less well-known stories from the era
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 26, 2012
Verified Purchase
One person found this helpful
Report abuse
Mark
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read - Very evocative
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 8, 2013
Verified Purchase
One person found this helpful
Report abuse
Suze
5.0 out of 5 stars life and death in motor racing, pre health and safety
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 13, 2013
Verified Purchase
One person found this helpful
Report abuse