|15th June 2012, 08:06 PM||#1 (permalink)|
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: East Lothian
Stealing Speed Book Review
Yes. It’s a fair cop, Guv. You got me bang to rights.
This is a Science Fiction and Fantasy site and this book review is neither SF or F but I still think it’s worth a mention.
Stealing Speed by Mat Oxley is the true story of Walter Kaaden and Ernst Degner. Kaaden was an engineer on Hitler’s V1 (Flying Bomb) programme in World War 2. At the war’s end he turned down the chance to work with Werner Von Braun and instead went to work for MZ designing and building motorcycles. It was here that he applied the principles of the pulse jet engine to the two-stroke bike and came up with a world-beater. Ernst Degner was the flash young racer that East Germany pinned its hopes on riding Kaaden’s creations. Degner, however, had other ideas. Ultimately betraying, Kaaden’s trust, he defected to the West and sold the two-stroke technology to struggling Suzuki and made them a motorcycle manufacturer to be reckoned with.
The book itself is well written – nothing fancy but it flows very well. In many ways, it reads like a Bond book – East versus West, secrets, subterfuge, the last minute problems in escape, the racing thrills and spills, tragedy, fire and rivalry…..it’s all here and makes compelling reading. And if that were not enough, the book really comes alive with the vivid descriptions of racing in places like the Isle Of Man TT, Monza, Suzuka and Spa Francorchamps. Every corner, every twist, every gear change is recounted in such a manner that would make you believe that the author himself must be one of that select bunch of bike racers….and you’d be right. Oxley himself is a former TT winner and he knows his subject inside out.
In conclusion – a thrilling book which, if ever made into a film, would have the potential to stand alongside such recent great works as Senna and Closer To The Edge. Quite simply, if you love racing history, or suspense then you must read this book.
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