Need a Christmas present or two?

I am completely biased in this respect, but I know that this is the time of year when folk are looking for Christmas presents. If you know someone who is into Grand Prix racing, or the secret world of the French Resistance, it is not a bad idea to take a look at The Grand Prix Saboteurs. This is the true story of how three top Grand Prix drivers from the 1920s and 1930s became British secret agents during World War II, two of them being trained in England and then flown to France out carry out work preparing sabotage networks for action after the D Day landings.

It took years of detailed research to dig up this story, much of the information still being classified until around 2006. It is a story that is filled with unexpected twists and turns. If you haven’t heard of it, take it from the author, it is a good book!!

Those who have read it might care to comment…

For more information, click HERE

56 thoughts on “Need a Christmas present or two?

  1. I’ve said it before and the offer still stands – kindle it, and it’s sold………. For those of us who live outside EU and USA, postage from amazon is another $15 on top of the book! (without even discussing paper vs kindle, etc). Kindle saves us that and makes it accessible….

  2. Joe,

    Is it possible to get Kindle or iBook editions? I know many have asked you in the past but it makes all the difference to us not in the US or Europe for accessibility.

    The best $7.99 I spent in the last month was on a book down to your recommendation … and Adam Parr making a kindle version available of it after a few of us asked.

      1. that is great news. I only purchase Kindle books now and I would love to read this. I hope you can get it all sorted out soon

  3. I have read the Grand Prix Saboteurs.

    It is an incredible story and I am impressed at the level of research and detail included in the book.

    The idea that the gentlemen racers of the day were also heroic resistance fighters is quite frankly mind-blowing and it is amazing that the story has been so well hidden for so many years. You won’t believe some of the things these people did, amid so much danger and betrayal.

    If you have any interest in Motor Racing and wartime history then this book is well worth reading. It has given me a new found respect for the people involved in such an exciting, interesting and dangerous period of history.

    Thank you very much Joe for your years of hard work in researching and writing the book as I very much enjoyed it.

    1. I am not sure that Willy Grover, Robert Benoist and Jean-Pierre Wimille would have qualified as gentlemen racers. They all earned their chances, rather than being rich and idle…

      1. Agreed. I did not mean to refer to them as rich and idle. I suppose I meant to say that they appear to be more gentlemanly than the drivers currently in F1.

        There can be a perception compared to today’s super athletes that racing was more relaxed in those days, but from the book (and some of your historical pieces in GP+) it is clear that they took things very seriously…

  4. As one who has read it, I can thoroughly recommend it. Took up a day of my time to read it in almost one sitting, but I’m glad I did – it’s excellent!

    Minor aside; I heard a piece on the TV/Radio a wee while back about Noor Inayat Khan, her story is part of the book if memory serves. Joe was well ahead of the mainstream media on that one!

    1. No, I think Noor has been known about for a long time. No-one had really tied her in with the racers before, but this was because they were not well known.

  5. Great book. So interesting and captivating. The things that these courageous drivers went through is close to unbelievable. I highly recommend the book to f1 fans, history buffs and anyone looking for a great read.

  6. Joe, I thoroughly enjoyed the Grand Prix Saboteurs, as well researched and informative as one would expect after reading your articles. Are your books available as e-books, or only as paper items?

  7. Both of Joe’s books are highly recommended, and I’d buy an electronic version on top of the two paperbacks I already have, but needs to be for the Sony E-Reader, not Kindle, which I don’t think is difficult to do.

    1. Problem is, it _is difficult to do. Or at least they have ensured the formats are very tiresome indeed. Sony is like that. Or, ahm, more like that than others.

      As for Kindle, I shall ask a publisher I know who they employ, because whoever it is, they can be trusted, I do not find blag copies of my friend’s works on the internet.

      Option Two is to simply ask Amazon to stock a few direct, but you pay so much per cubic foot per month per warehouse. Might not be ideal.

      Option Three is maybe just send out the occasional request direct mail. I reckon the good will is worth the effort for a few. A few can always become many more. I know this is uneconomic, but message to Joe: this is one heck of a lot of good will you could be getting here, will email you with my discoveries after I grill my friends.

      Oh, and Sabateurs is awesome. I shall probably buy Crippen just in time for reading during the adland off season, which is the two week hangover after everyone is supposed to be back to work.

      1. The E-pub version that Sony uses is quite well populated, we’ve not long got a few of the Ann McCaffrey books on mine, and there doesn’t seem to be a big issue with publishers to issue in that format.

        It also reads pdf files if I remember correctly.

  8. Have read both books by Joe and I can thoroughly recommend them to anyone.
    They are incredibly well researched.
    A great – and true – yarn well told.

    Looking forward to the next one!


  9. I thoroughly recommend this book – I’ve re-read it a couple of times. I don’t think anyone can truly appreciate the racers of the past without knowing everything about them and the world they lived in, and of course while this material was classified we only got half the picture.

    If you have any interest in the history of the sport, or world history, this book is a must-have, and a great Christmas present too.

  10. Joe,

    Is the book available anywhere in Paris?

    Would love to get a copy before leaving on my long-awaited honeymoon on Sunday!


    1. It is Internet ordering only and a little late for next weekend. Besides I would not do that to your wife. You are supposed to concentrate on her during the honeymoon and some readers have found it hard to put down.

      1. Are any French distributors carrying it?

        It would be for my wife to read too, now that I have converted her into a cunning F1 Sunday strategist!

    2. Reading on your honeymoon?? Your supposed to come back looking pasty and generally having a worn out look, perhaps not having not seen much of the sun for awhile… Perhaps you meant your 50th wedding ‘anniversary? -:)

        1. Just repeat to yourself “The “off season” is the ON season” and I am sure all will be okay. 🙂

          (actually, how many of us are maybe thinking of snuggling with a good racing book rather disturbs me, right now!)

  11. Joe

    I decided that if I to wait for the Kindle edition I would be waiting a long time… no worries I know life is busy.

    So when I ordered the Art of F1 War I bit the bullet and my kids don’t know it yet but they bought me a copy of The Grand Prix Saboteurs for Christmas!! Looking forward to it.

    Thanks for a great year of news and opinion and see you in 2013…


  12. I ordered The Grand Prix Saboteurs a couple of weeks ago and it came in the post just today so I love the coincidental timing of this post. I really am looking forward to reading it over the Christmas break.

  13. I am somewhat picky about the car related books I buy/ask for since they are either highly technical and a bit drab or big on enthusiasm but short on research. Joe’s book is a great story that is well researched, well told and had the thing that makes history fanatics all giddy – citations! I had read some about Williams, Benoist, et al. and there was a great story to be told beyond a few bits in a history of Bugatti book. Joe’s book brings the story full circle.

    If you don’t have this book, buy it. If you know someone who doesn’t have this book, buy it for them.

  14. Both of Joes books show incredable research a must for that french provincial book case…. Joe any word on the film

  15. When is the next book out Joe? I know you are working on at least one more.

    I prefer an old fashioned proper book, even second hand. I don’t have a kindle or an “i” anything nor will Amazon kindle cloud work on my system (keeps connecting me to the USA). I usually have two or three books on the go at once. None of this DRM nonsense!

  16. I can sincerely suggest both books. Altough both completely different, the common thing is that there is an incredible amount of research in these books and both read as a good thriller. You can’t put them down!

    Joe, is there a third book coming?

  17. Just read this book and wrote a paper on it for my history class (it wasn’t on the professors “approved list” but hopefully she will put it on for future semesters). It was a very interesting story, and I highly recommend it!

  18. Saw it listed on amazon for $25 and say why not, got it on order. Sounds as interesting as stories I’ve read about Moe Berg and the OSS

  19. Joe, you haven’t oversold these books. For those contemplating purchase, they’re both great, well researched and fascinating true stories.

    1. Exactly what I was about to suggest. Last spring I ordered the Saboteurs through Amazon and later figured out it was only a slightly costlier way of buying from The Book Depository. My shopping experience with TBD since then was very good and I never managed to buy just one book per order. 🙂

      Direct link to the Saboteurs at TBD:
      Link to the TBD list of countries with free delivery:

      And yes, the Saboteurs are definitely worth €14.53. Anytime, not only around Xmas.

  20. Having played a (very) minor part in helping Joe with the research for Saboteurs, and knowing how long the whole thing had been taking form in his head before he even started to put pen to paper, I jumped at the opportunity to read the book when it appeared.

    Like some of the other people commenting, I read it practically in one sitting. Couldn’t put it down. It’s a great document which adds just a little more texture to the incredibly rich tapistry of international motor sport and, of course, human history (sorry if that sounds a bit naf). Saboteurs is a story of real people in the real world at a very tragic time.

    Anyway, if the people dealing with the film rights can’t get a deal sorted soon, I’ll do the job myself with my smartphone’s video camera, a few mates as actors, and post it on YouTube. Having just enjoyed the BBC’s extraordinary productions of John Le Carré’s ‘Tinker, Tailor…” and “Smiley’s People”, I’m feeling particularly inspired…

    And the difference between an ‘e’ version and a printed copy is only equivalent to a few tubes of Pringles. Be honest, it’s not the end of the world! Possibly to some people, but probably not to the majority of those who follow Joe’s blog.

  21. I ordered it last week as Christmas present from my wife and it’s now in a pile with all the other “waiting to be wrapped” presents… so, I haven’t read it yet but if this blog is a guide then I am sure it is outstanding.

  22. I got it as a Christmas present a couple of years ago. I know a lot of you folk in the northern hemisphere are all freezing your tails off for Christmas but here in Australia, its the middle of summer. I spent my Christmas holidays while the wife and kids were down at the beach, sitting in a hammock at the campground under some shady Eucalypts, glass of red in hand, reading that book. Picture that, Joe. You enhanced my holiday! Anyway, its a great book; very enjoyable read and hard to put down. I think its also the first book I read since “A brief history of time”.

    1. That’s not a wrong idea. AFAICT Clooney likes that sort of role. My only concern is Clooney simply doesn’t ever act stressed, and Benoist needs tension. Michael Clayton (2007) doesn’t count. Pollack had that, think it was his last acting role, or better Wilkinson. Actually, that’s a very strange film, made more understandable possibly in the director cut. Check out who was producing it . . Nobody really pulls out the tension, not even Swinton, and she was good in that. Just somehow, to me, GC does not seem to be a man who simply burns inside. That, or I am merely jealous of a very suave man…

      Anyhow, that’s okay, also, because GC finances movies as well. There’s a few out there who genuinely like to put out the “more difficult” stories. But maybe also the thought of Clooney, is he would distil the role and script into his more measured universe, and so doing, make it more accessible.

      However, Michael Clayton is a fine one to watch. Annoyed the heck out of a attorney friend of mine, and I rather enjoyed the idea he was maybe feeling a little inadequate (we since parted ways for very strong business reasons) .

  23. A fantastic read & a true insight into what went on behind the “scenes.” Was on a trip to Chateaudun from Paris whilst reading the very section where they were travelling the same Paris to Orleans route last year. Can’t wait to see it made into a film. Hoping to borrow a friends dog eared (because its a real paper book!) copy of “The Man who caught Crippen.” Keep up the great work on your Blog site Joe.

  24. I have a paper copy, but would love an electronic one. I am also renewing my GP+ subscription as I am getting a tablet for Christmas!

    On another note, I am surprised you haven’t covered the fact that a well known (and not as good as GP+) motoracing magazine has installed a pay wall on their website. Wonder how long it will be until most of their traffic ceases.

    I don’t need auto$ anyway – I find out everything I need to know from your blog and email updates! Love your musing Joe, keep them coming in the new year!

  25. I’ve dropped some heavy hints about this book and am hoping Santa will bring me a copy this year.

    I wonder if I could ask you Joe for a little gift? Next year when you blog about qualifying could you leave the fastest driver of the session’s name out of the e mail subject line? As a BBC viewer I didn’t get to watch live qualifying and have to stay away from sports news for a few hours on some weekends. A few times I spotted your e mails and had to watch the sessions knowing who came out on top.

    Thanks Joe, for all the great reporting you and hope you have a great Christmas.


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