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Go Like Hell: Ford, Ferrari, and Their Battle for Speed and Glory at Le Mans

4.42  ·  Rating Details ·  978 Ratings  ·  114 Reviews
By the early 1960s, the Ford Motor Company, built to bring automobile transportation to the masses, was falling behind. Young Henry Ford II, who had taken the reins of his grandfather’s company with little business experience to speak of, knew he had to do something to shake things up. Baby boomers were taking to the road in droves, looking for speed not safety, style not ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published June 9th 2009 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (first published January 1st 2009)
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Dec 20, 2013 Gavin rated it it was amazing
What!? You haven't read this yet? Do so...immediately.

Okay, I may love cars, cars racing, and 60s lore more than the average reader, but this book really is a great piece of history. It's literally the biggest grudge match that the world of racing has ever seen. Ford vs Ferrari at lemanns is the stuff of legend. On top of that, you get a front row seat to the damn the torpedoes 60s racing mentality. These guys didnt even wear seatbelts, for gods sake! No wonder 4 in 10 didn't survive the race s
Dec 04, 2013 Ryan rated it liked it
Go Like Hell: Ford, Ferrari, and Their Battle for Speed and Glory at Le Mans
By: A.J. Baime
Read it in cheap paper back at 320 pages.

Our November selection is brought to you by Dust. Our little reading group has two practicing mechanics, a third college educated (no longer practicing) mechanic, and a few car enthusiasts. One of these enthusiasts is Dust and thus picked A.J. Baime's Go Like Hell.

Go Like Hell: Ford, Ferrari, and Their Battle for Speed and Glory at Le Mans is well, exactly that. The
Apr 09, 2015 Victoria rated it really liked it
Go Like Hell: Ford, Ferrari, and Their Battle for Speed and Glory at Le Mans, is the true-life story of classic duels of machine and driver in the French countryside.
There’s just enough biography of Henry Ford II (the Deuce) and Enzo Ferrari to understand the motivations of these two rivals, willing to stake their fortunes, their companies’ futures, and (all too often) their drivers’ lives on this grueling competition. The Deuce believed—correctly—that supremacy in the racing circuit would lead
Sep 23, 2013 D. rated it it was amazing
Excellent. Well written informative and very interesting.
Matthew O.
Sep 22, 2015 Matthew O. rated it liked it
A fantastic story, populated with colorful characters, in an intriguing point in modern history. There's betrayal, innovation, corporate feuding, danger, breakneck racing, revolutionary cars, and plenty of tragedy. Yet at times the book is a limp wrist, and that comes down to the writing, which in itself is limp-wristed, occasionally sensationalist, overly simplistic in phrase and ideas, and rather distractingly sloppy. It's a shame, because this is high soap opera for grown boys (women would li ...more
Feb 01, 2013 Zahir rated it liked it
A terrific account by A.J. Baime on the world of auto-racing in the 1960's. As someone who knew next to nothing about car racing before picking up this book, Baime does a great job of introducing novices into the rich history of global auto racing.

The strongest element of this book is that Baime brings to life some of the characters involved in the huge rivalry in the 1960s between Ford and Ferrari on the racing circuit. Most importantly, he portrays these larger than life characters as human be
Sep 20, 2016 Kazuki rated it really liked it
Very deep into Ford and Ferrari rivalry in 1960s.

Good book to introduce newcomers to 24 Hours of Le Mans or endurance/sportscar racing in general.
Matthew Willis
A compelling narrative on the battle between Ford and Ferrari at Le Mans in the 1960s told from the perspctives on the people who were there. It isn't perfect - the brief description of Levegh's crash in the 1955 race takes the lazy and discredited view that Hawthorn caused the incident by pulling across the road without warning, for example, and there are other examples of insufficient research into events used as asides. The story ends suddenly with the controversial 1-2-3 at the 1966 event wi ...more
Charles Mitchell
Sep 09, 2016 Charles Mitchell rated it it was amazing
An excellent in-depth insightful look into the battle for speed supremacy at the 24 hours of Le Mans between Henry Ford II and Enzo Ferrari in the early to mid 60's. Baime goes deep into the history, from the birth of the automobile, the building of the Ford empire, the origins of motorsport, to the rise of the Ferrari sprtscar dynasty, all building to the fateful arms race between the Americans at Ford and the Europeans at Ferrari. Four years ago I began to follow motorsport, evolving to my new ...more
Sep 14, 2012 Josh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Go Like Hell; Ford, Ferrari, and Their Battle for Speed and Glory at Le Mans: is an awesome book. A.J. Baime writes it where you feel like you are in the cockpit with the racers, in the interviews, and even makes you feel like you have oil stains, grime, and dirt all over your body. You can feel the vibration through your hands and foot, you can even hear the screaming V-12 engine of the Ferrari or the deep thunderous roar of the V-8 engine from the Ford GT.

A.J. Baime is the author of Go Like He
Jul 11, 2010 Paul rated it it was amazing
"Go Like Hell" is the gripping story of two titans in the automotive world - Enzo Ferrari and Henry Ford II - and the battle they waged at Le Mans, when racing was the key to commercial success and drivers were killed routinely in the quest for victory.

Ford, eager to bring his father's company into the modern era, had approached Ferrari with an offer to buy the latter's legendary firm. Ferrari, however, had other plans, and used negotiations with the American giant as leverage to gain concession
Jun 07, 2016 Ross rated it it was amazing
Here's where I started: NASCAR is stupid; F1 is ok; wtf is Le Mans?; Mario Andretti, Danicka Patrick and Ricky Bobby are the only racing names I've ever heard of (yes, I know Will Farrell is not a real driver/pilot).

I am not a motorhead. I don't understand what all the numbers and horses have to do with a car engine. This is probably the last book I would have thought to bring with me to a desert island but for it's fuel capabilities in a fire.

I was beyond surprised. This was an interesting gem.
Michael Flanagan
Dec 18, 2015 Michael Flanagan rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
I'm not normally one for reading motoring history books but this caught my eye and boy I am glad it did. Going Like Hell tells the tale of one of the most famous car manufacturers battle for supremacy during the golden age of car racing. In doing this it also tells of two of the most Iconic personalities in the auto business that being Enzo Ferrari and Henry Ford II.

A.J Baime covers a lot of subject matter in this book whilst keeping the reader thoroughly entertained as the narrative speeds alon
Oct 29, 2012 Mike rated it really liked it
This book, which covers the battle between Ferrari and Ford to win at Le Mans, is a great book for racing neophyte like myself. Considering most of my racing knowledge comes from playing Gran Turismo, I found the book both informative and entertaining. The book covers the technology and personalities involved such as legends as the Shelby Cobra, Enzo Ferrari, the P330, Carroll Shelby, and more esoteric ones such as Ken Miles, John Surtees, and the various incarnations of the GT40 leading up to t ...more
Grant Schweppe
Dec 11, 2011 Grant Schweppe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A J Baime wrote a captivating account of the battle between Ford and Ferrari in the 1960's. In this book, you will discover the passion professional race car drivers had in the fifties and sixties. Before the advent of seat belts and airbags, the man who won a race was often the one most willing to risk how life trying to get there. Despite the casualties, this book is a must read for anyone who is passionate about racing or the automotive industry. It provides great insight to the industry chan ...more
Sean Gillespie
Dec 19, 2014 Sean Gillespie rated it it was amazing
A well written tremendous account of the battle for speed during the 1960's at LeMans. The author did a fantastic job of profiling the personalities that colored the race teams and lead to the historic results. Though the book was not terribly kind to either Henry Ford II or Enzo Ferrari, I believe the author made the correct choice in portraying them in the light that he did. Simply, in order to achieve the on track results that took place, hard decisions and strong personalities needed to be p ...more
Apr 10, 2011 Thomas rated it really liked it
A very interesting book for any fan of Le Mans in genral and sports car racing in particular. A must read.

That being said, my main criticisms of the book include the awkward non-notation of the footnotes. While there is a compilation of notes in the endpapers, a little too much analysis is required to match up the citations with their references.

One major criticism is the author's Epilogue where he states that Le Mans as an event and spectacle deteriorated during the 1970's. I would maintain t
Matthew Dixon
Feb 15, 2012 Matthew Dixon rated it really liked it
One would think i am an auto racing enthusiast given that this is the second book about auto racing that i read lately but that is far from true. In fact, the parts of this book that dealt directly with the specifics of the engines and the like were like another language to me. But i think the author knew that those passages would be unintelligible to a lot of people so he kept them short. Most of the book was focused on the competition between Ford and Ferrari in the mid-1960s to build the ulti ...more
Jan 10, 2011 Anthony rated it really liked it
Look I have been a club level race car driver for about 15 years, so it's not surprising that I love this book. However, I would recommend this book to anyone who is just mildly interested in racing. It tells the compelling story of the sixties Ford v.s. Ferrari LeMans battle. It captures the emotion and conveys the facts compellingly. This would make a great racing film. Hollywood, has a poor history with racing as a subject, but this has the drama and real life heroism that Hollywood often add ...more
Steven Scala
Feb 05, 2010 Steven Scala rated it liked it
A bit too focused on fleshing out characters in the widely-known Ford/Ferrari Le Mans story, and not enough on fleshing out the factual history. Necesary, then, to read this book alongside other books on the topic in order to get the much more interesting full story. Woefully short on the roles and views of Eric Broadley and Tom Wyer, for instance, and it's because of books like this that the nuances of history become lost. (You'd need to read books on Chapman to realize that Lotus' Europa was o ...more
Jul 04, 2015 Stephen rated it it was amazing
Ignore the cheesy cover. This is an outstanding telling of Henry Ford II's 1964-1966 campaign to beat Enzo Ferrari at Le Mans. The number of people involved in this competition who later became industry leaders is fascinating: Henry Ford, Enzo Ferrari, Lee Iaccoca, Robert Lund, Carrol Shelby, Holman and Moody, John Wyer, etc. And the list of famous drivers involved reads like a who's who of the best in the world at the time: Surtees, Hill, Amon, Rindt, Ginther, Miles, Gurney, Andretti, McLaren, ...more
Rey Dekker
Dec 27, 2012 Rey Dekker rated it really liked it
...pretty amazing story...had read a few books on Ford I and II and am somewhat familiar with Ferrari but the tale of their epic battle for LeMans in the mid-sixties, while somewhat aware of, is detailed tremendously in this book...the amount of money poured into the GT40 by Ford, the many men and personalities that played parts, and the tragic loss of life so tied to the sport in those days made for dramatic story telling...good book and I would recommend it to any motorsports fan though my NAS ...more
Alan Chong
Apr 12, 2015 Alan Chong rated it really liked it
Go Like Hell reads like a history of warfare, with Ferrari and Ford as the generals, and their drivers, managers, etc. as the captains and soldiers that did the real battles in races like LeMans. This is a must read for car buffs, which I am not. Still, I found the history of car racing - in particular the dangers it posed to spectators, who were often the collateral damage of their fierce battles - fascinating and highly educational. You'll find out how those iconic cars, like the Shelby, got t ...more
Nov 23, 2013 Marcos rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great book about what was arguably the Golden Era of motor racing, and also the deadliest. In fact, most of the drivers mentioned in the book would find death on the track. A great look at the circumstances that surrounded what would be the beginning of the end of Ferrari's domination of endurance racing. All in all, I enjoyed reading it immensely, and the greatest fault I can offer (and the reason I only give this edition 3 stars) is the fact that the Kindle edition lacks the gorgeous period ...more
Jan 24, 2013 Jake rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was such a fantastic book. When I finished it I had tears in my eyes.

The writing is superb and really brings to the present the larger-than-life characters and events involved in the story. And what a story it was! The real-life story of Henry Ford II, Carroll Shelby and Enzo Ferrari, of Ford and Ferrari, of the death-defying humans that raced at Le Mans through the sixties, when the life expectancy of a high-speed race car driver was very short.

I loved everything about this book. I guess
Dec 14, 2009 Mike rated it liked it
I wanted this book to be awesome, I really did, but it was really forgettable. I liked it because ultimately, the competition between Ford and Ferrari was amazing. There were some great anecdotes about Henry Ford II and Enzo Ferrari, but it seems as if the book lost steam by having too many players. There were so many executives, managers, drivers, and various other players that I found myself flipping back many times to figure out who I was reading about. The author obviously did his research a ...more
Mark Ueber
Jul 25, 2016 Mark Ueber rated it it was amazing
The auto racing books I’ve read in the past have to move down a notch on my favorites list after Go Like Hell. I didn’t realize what a great racing driver John Surtees was. I didn’t realize what a visionary Henry Ford II was. I’d never heard of Ken Miles before, and although I certainly knew about Enzo Ferrari and how dangerous racing in the 60’s was, this book makes the era and the people personal, human, real

It brings together the corporate suits, the geniuses, the heroes and the doomed and te
Sep 09, 2014 Robert rated it really liked it
A very interesting book focused on a particular set of events in history. The book is easy to read and narrates the who story very well. Everything from the lead up, to the event and the climax are dealt with well along with the cast of characters.

You'll enjoy this book if you enjoy racing or cars in general. You'll also enjoy this book if you are familiar with any of the major players as it provides an interesting insight into their personalities and their circumstances. The strongest component
Oct 17, 2012 Jim rated it really liked it
A compelling look at the "golden age" of sports car racing in the mid-1960s, and the fierce battle waged between Ford and Ferrari to beat each other at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, perhaps the most prestigious auto race in the world at the time. All of the principals involved, from the daredevil (and often short-lived) drivers to the ambitious company executives, are vividly brought to life in Baime's narrative. I especially enjoyed learning more about Enzo Ferrari, who was a very complex and often ...more
Nov 14, 2011 Michael rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, racing
Great story with indelible characters; most of the giants of racing in the sixties have some part to play in this narrative: Shelby, Ford, Ferrari, and John Surtees, but also McLaren, Gurney, Andretti, and Stewart, and the compelling figure Ken Miles, whom I hadn't known anything about before this. And then there are the real stars of the story: the Ford GT40 and Ferrari 330. Baime's writing gets a little breathless and sloppy at times (um, Marco is Mario's grandson, not his son), but overall te ...more
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