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Black Noon: The Year They Stopped the Indy 500
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Black Noon: The Year They Stopped the Indy 500

4.4  ·  Rating details ·  187 Ratings  ·  46 Reviews
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published May 6th 2014 by Thomas Dunne Books
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Doug Gordon
May 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014
On an absolute basis this book would not rate 5 stars, but as a book about auto racing it is probably the best that I have read. It helped that I recall this race very well, as I listened to it while lying on the floor in front of my parents' console radio on that fateful day.

Garner does an excellent job of pacing the narrative and of mixing drivers' biographies into the story at various points. He also covers the technical details quite well, as this was an era of almost unlimited innovation wi
Apr 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: true-stories
This is the second book on the history of racing that I've read (the other was Go Like Hell: Ford, Ferrari, and Their Battle for Speed and Glory at Le Mans). It chronicles the events leading up to the disastrous wreck at the Indy 500 on May 30, 1964, which resulted in the deaths of two drivers. It was amazing that more people did not die. Garner does an excellent job of detailing the history of the Indy 500, the drivers, owners, mechanics, the fans, and their families, and their passion for the ...more
Mar 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I came across this book quite by accident a few weeks ago. Recently at a local racing museum they had a display of 33 Indy cars from throughout the history of the race. In the gift shop I found a book by driver Len Sutton who was Portland, Oregon native who raced in the 500 back in the 50’s and 60’s. Since it was deeply discounted (only $2) I picked it up and read it immediately. In the book was an account of the tragic 1964 race and a picture of Dave MacDonald’s Mickey Thompson built “roller sk
May 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
The 48th edition of the 500 was a watershed event on many levels. Firstly for the technological revolution which turned the status quo upside down, then for the lap 2 accident that stunned in its sheer violence. Such a poignant mix of triumph and tragedy, that indeed forced positive changes in the sport. By far the best account of the Indianapolis 500 of 1964.

It took *me* back in time as well. This 10 year old was listening to his very first race in real time (no Wide World of Sports tape delay)
Michael Higgins
Apr 04, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
A very detailed account of the events leading up to and the crash that took the lives of Eddie Sachs and Dave MacDonald and stopped the Indianapolis 500 in 1964.
Jan 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book was given to me by a friend who knows I enjoy auto racing, but whether she knew of the local connection I have to this book I am unsure. 'Black Noon' tells the story of the 1964 Indy 500, a full 20 years before I was born, but still remembered to this day because of the tragic crash that occurred on the very first lap of the race, which caused the deaths of drivers Dave MacDonald and Eddie Sachs, the latter from Allentown, PA, the city I've called home my whole life. I would watch the ...more
Mac McCormick III
Jun 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: motor-sport
Black Noon: They Year They Stopped the Indy 500 by Art Garner is a book that is extraordinarily hard to put down, so much so that I read it in just a few days. Garner has done a wonderful job describing the 1964 Indianapolis 500, a watershed race in IndyCar racing history. Garner tells two intertwining stories: one about the tragic crash that took the lives of two racers and one about a change in the sport. It very much reminded me of one of my other favorite motor sports history books - Go Like ...more
Jun 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
“Black Noon” is ultimately about the death of two racing drivers during the 1964 Indianapolis 500, Eddie Sachs and Dave MacDonald. While on the surface the subject matter may seem dark and tragic (and it is), it is what’s going on behind the scenes where I find this book truly fascinating.

Before I continue I should tell you that I saw my very first Indianapolis 500 this year (2016) before I read this book. It was the 100th running and I was fortunate enough to have tickets and went with my aunt
R.J. Murphy
May 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Thank you for the book Goodreads. Wow! I didn’t know anything about the Indy 500 until I read this book. Now I feel like I know a lot. Black Noon tells the story of the 1964 Indy 500. One of the things I learned is that the Indy 500 is not just a car race, it is an event- a very large event that is supported by an army of professionals and volunteers. The author gives a brief history of the Indy 500 followed by a detailed description of everyone involved in this particular race. The accident at ...more
Kelly Crandall
Aug 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
There is not enough good things to say about "Black Noon." Brilliantly written and researched, this was a fascinating story that I could not read fast enough. Not only does Art take you inside the '64 Indy race and the accident, he does a tremendous job of building to it and sharing the stories of the drivers, teams and all others involved before and afterward.
May 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great read for race fans, especially those of us old enough to remember the drivers, owners and other characters of the era
Mar 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018-read-books
Incredible events.
Jim Shaver
Oct 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Well researched book that delineates the many decisions that lead to the fateful crash. A "must read" for any Indy Car fan.
Stephen Terrell
Jun 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
I hesitated to read this book. Even though I'm an avid Indycar fan, I had no desire to read a book focused on perhaps the worst single crash ever at the Indianapolis 500 -- a crash that drew a wall of flames and black smoke across the track like nothing seen at the Speedway before or since, and a crash that took the lives of rookie Dave MacDonald and fan favorite Eddie Sachs.

But this book ended up being one of the best books about auto racing I've ever read. It captures the efforts and uncertain
A. Bowdoin Van Riper
Apr 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sports, 2016
The 1964 Indianapolis 500 made headlines, at the time, for two things: the second victory of a hard-charging young Texan named A. J. Foyt, and a fiery seven-car crash on the second lap that killed drivers Eddie Sachs and Dave MacDonald. The race’s greater significance became clear only in retrospect: Foyt was the last driver to win the 500 in one of the front-engine “roadsters” that had dominated racing at Indianapolis since the 1920s. Jim Clark, a Scot from the European grand prix circuit, was ...more
C. John Kerry
Sep 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
This was a very engrossing book and one that was actually quite easy to read. The only reason it took me as long was due to other things I was doing over the same period of time. I was not actively watching racing when the subject of this book took place, so I do not have any recollection of the events described. Even if I had however there is ore than enough background detail contained within to make this book a must-read even for someone who does recall the '64 Indy 500. Many of the drivers na ...more
C.J. Ruby
Not a gear head, but I like history and this looked interesting and was. The sub title is, 'the year they stopped the Indy 500.' Should have been named, 'the year the Indy 500 nearly ended for good.' Two drivers died in a spectacular flaming crash. This story is about the lead-up and aftermath of the crash. In the aftermath USAC and The Speedway implemented a lot of new rules for safety. Before that this seemed to be the wild west no holds barred anything goes type of race with death as the only ...more
Dave Arnold
Aug 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Before I bought "Black Noon," I was only mildly familiar with perhaps the most horrifying day the Indianapolis 500 has ever experienced. But it took Art Garner's incredible research to put the entire month of May 1964 into perspective, and do so with the thoroughness of a heart surgeon, producing a heart surgeon-grade dissemination and analysis of the events that led up to the accident that killed veteran Eddie Sachs and rookie Dave MacDonald, killing them in the most awful way Indy (then) could ...more
Jul 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had learned about this book while talking to Eddie Sachs III, and wanted to know much more about one of my first memories of motorsports. I remember listening to the 1964 Indy 500 on the radio, and Eddie Sachs was from our local area, so I was interested in him. I did not know about the month leading up to the race, or much about Dave MacDonald, so this book filled in a lot of details for me. Although much of the book made me sad to read about the poor management of USAC, it was not new to me ...more
Kenn Staub
Sep 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book is about the 1964 Indianapolis 500...a race known not so much for its winner (AJ Foyt), as for the deaths of Eddie Sachs and Dave MacDonald in an early race, fiery crash. Additionally, this was also the year that saw the transition from front engine to rear engine cars. An informative, as well as entertaining but somber read that provides insight into a unique period in open wheel racing. The only knock I have is that there are so many names (driver, mechanics, car owners, race officia ...more
Apr 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
An interesting work that sets the stage for the dramatic transition in automobile racing. Most of the work is leading up to the event featured on the cover. The reader understands the different aspects of the cars racing, with the decisions of the design and of the drivers. Why were certain fuels used? How much does a car carry? How significant and unusual was this event in the years leading up to it? As someone who has been watching Indy racing all my life, I enjoyed this look back.

(Book receiv
Linda Chrisman
May 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Quite a good effort - it really brought back that year to me. I was a Formula One, Cobra crazy high school girl who was hoping Clark would carry off the win, especially after USAC chickening out applying their own rules the year before. I can still remember hearing the race coverage. Read the book in an afternoon and it kept my attention when I should have been doing another dozen things. Think I will reread Leo Levine's excellent Ford the Dust & the Glory. If you liked this one you will liv ...more
Jan 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
Excellent book about the 1964 Indianapolis 500 race and the horrific accident that claimed the lives of two drivers. The book is full of interesting characters, some of whom have become racing legends, including A.J. Foyt, Johnny Rutherford, Dan Gurney and Mario Andretti. It is also the story of a changing sport, of science and technology and an inside look at a dangerous endeavor and those willing to risk it all doing what they love.
May 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
After hearing about the book from my mother who grew up in Indianapolis and remembers the day, I was interested in reading it. Many of the names were familiar- not a huge race car fan, but will watch the Indy 500 and other nascar races from time to time. This book was very detailed, sometimes got hard to read because it went into so much detail of the politics of racing. It was very interesting, but be ready to spend sometime reading the long history of racing.
Terrell Olvera
Aug 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book and the style in which it was written. I never knew much about the early Indy 500 days. I went to the race in 2014 and enjoyed it, but after reading about how the race was in the past I am disappointed in modern IndyCar. What happened to the innovation?

Overall this book opened my eyes to the state of technology in the 60's and how different the media is today vs back then. Hard to believe the first race broadcast to a wide audience was so tragic.
May 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
Full disclosure; I love motor sports, but this book transcends this. It is incredibly well researched and well written, and it is also the 50th anniversary of the event that is the focus of the book. A sure thing for motor sports enthusiasts, and it will be enjoyed by the general nonfiction reader too
May 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: motorsports
An extremely well-researched and brilliantly-told account of the tragic events of the 1964 Indianapolis 500. As a lifelong fan of motorsports, I enjoyed the thorough and comprehensive detail contained within the book. But it is also presented in such a way that it's accessible to any non-followers of the sport.
Mar 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A fabulous, gripping tale with gritty, colorful characters. You don' t need to be an auto racing fan to enjoy this wonderfully written book. The author has masterfully recounted this true story while weaving in profiles of all the players; drivers, team owners, family etc., which makes this drama even more poignant and powerful.
Mark Ueber
May 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I cannot recommend this book enough if only for the colorful characters involved. They just don't make them like that any more.

If you are an auto racing fan, there is plenty in this book for you, but if you are not, the drama of that month of May and the backstories will interest almost everyone.

Definitely five stars.
Aug 31, 2014 rated it liked it
Having grown up in Indiana where the 500 race was a sacred rite of spring, I have a vague memory of the tragedy surrounding the 1964 race. I know my parents were in attendance. It was fascinating to read the details surrounding what happened on that awful day.
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