Known as the Coastal Highway, U.S. Route 17 runs along the Eastern Seaboard from Punta Gorda, Florida, to Winchester, Virginia, passing many of the prime shrimping waters in the southern United States. Visiting remote ports-of-call cluttered with trawlers, and the many eateries along the route—some established, some obscure—the author explores the Lowcountry shrimping culture and presents a colorful profile of the “17-ers,” the eccentric lifetime residents of the highway corridor.
A century ago, horses were ubiquitous in America. They plowed the fields, transported people and goods within and between cities and herded livestock. About a million of them were shipped overseas to serve in World War I. Equine related industries employed vast numbers of stable workers, farriers, wainwrights, harness makers and teamsters. Cities were ringed with fodder-producing farmland, and five-story stables occupied prime real estate in Manhattan.
Then, in just a few decades, the horses vanished in a wave of emerging technologies. Those technologies fostered unprecedented economic growth, and with it a culture of recreation and leisure that opened a new place for the horse as an athletic teammate and social companion.
Electric propulsion for boats was developed in the early 19th century and—despite the advent of the internal combustion engine—continued with the perfecting of the modern turbo-electric ship. Sustainable and hybrid technologies, pioneered in small inland watercraft toward the end of the 20th century, have in recent years been scaled up to create integrated electric drives for the largest ocean-going vessels. This comprehensive history traces the birth and rebirth of the electric boat from 1835 to the present, celebrating the Golden Age of electric launches, 1880–1910.
Featuring 256 drawings, this history of military trains and railways from 1853 through 1953 describes how the railroad transformed the nature of warfare. Transport and logistics are discussed for armored trains, rail-borne artillery and armored combat vehicles, medical evacuation trains and draisines (light auxiliary vehicles such as handcars). The railroad’s role in establishing European colonial empires in Asia and Africa is examined. Conflicts covered include the Boer Wars, the American Civil War, the Austro-Prussian War, the Franco-Prussian War, the Russo-Turkish War, World War I, the Finnish Civil War, the Spanish Civil War, World War II and the French Indochina War.
At 2:38 p.m. today, McFarlanders will take a break to go outside and stare directly into the sun. Join us! In honor of the eclipse, take 20% off all books about the solar system with the coupon code ECLIPSE!
Sprint Car Hall of Famer Kramer Williamson began his 45–year professional career as a grassroots racer from Pennsylvania and became one of the most successful and beloved professional drivers of all time. Drawing on interviews with those who knew him best, this first ever biography of Williamson covers his life and career, from his humble beginnings racing the legendary #73 Pink Panther car in 1968 to his fatal crash during qualifying rounds at Lincoln Speedway in 2013.
Merchant John Banister (1707–1767) of Newport, Rhode Island, wore many hats: exporter, importer, wholesaler, retailer, money-lender, extender of credit and insurer, owner and outfitter of sailing vessels, and ship builder for the slave trade. His recently discovered accounting records reveal his role in transforming colonial trade in mid–18th century America.
He combined business acumen and a strong work ethic with knowledge of the law and new technologies. Through his maritime activities and real estate development, he was a rain-maker for artisans, workers and producers, contributing to income opportunities for businesswomen, freemen and slaves.
Drawing on Banister’s meticulous daybooks, ledgers, letters and receipts, the author analyzes his contribution to the economic history of colonial America, highlighting the complexity of the commerce of the era.
This first ever biography of Antarctic explorer Sir Raymond Priestley (1886–1974) covers his full (at times life-threatening) involvement with Sir Ernest Shackleton’s 1907–1909 Nimrod Expedition and Robert Scott’s 1910–1913 Terra Nova Expedition. Priestley’s service with the British 46th Division during World War I won him the Military Cross for gallantry.
After the war, he played a leading role in establishing the Scott Polar Research Institute at the University of Cambridge. He was later appointed vice-chancellor of the University of Melbourne and then of the University of Birmingham and also helped establish the University of the West Indies. He received a knighthood for his services to education.
During retirement—a misnomer in his case—he went with the Duke of Edinburgh on the Royal Yacht Britannia as an Antarctic expert and joined the American Deep Freeze IV Expedition during his tenure directing the British Antarctic Survey. Despite the demands of his career, Priestley remained an involved family man throughout.
Cars today fit a fairly small number of body types—sedan, coupe, station wagon, SUV, hatchback and a few others. The meanings of these familiar terms have changed over the decades as automotive design has evolved. Along the way, a greater number of earlier body types have fallen out of use and become historical curiosities. Who today can identify a charabanc, a dos-à-dos or even a phaeton?
This expanded second edition defines all distinct body types since the early days of the automobile, many of which were derived from horse-drawn vehicles. Entries, many including clear line drawings, describe popular types and variations from different countries and time periods as well as terms for body components. Subtypes and subtle distinctions are explained and common misuses of terms and designations are clarified.
A Scottish immigrant to Illinois, Joseph Brown made his pre–Civil War fortune as a miller and steamboat captain who dabbled in riverboat design and the politics of small towns. When war erupted, he used his connections (including a friendship with Abraham Lincoln) to obtain contracts to build three ironclad gunboats for the U.S. War Department—the Chillicothe, Indianola and Tuscumbia. Often described as failures, these vessels were active in some of the most ferocious river fighting of the 1863 Vicksburg campaign. After the war, “Captain Joe” became a railroad executive and was elected mayor of St. Louis. This book covers his life and career, as well as the construction and operational histories of his controversial trio of warships.
During World War I, the American Merchant Marine meant dangerous duty. Sailors on cargo ships faced the daily threat of enemy submarines, along with the usual hazards of life at sea, and help was rarely close enough for swift rescues.
Pre-war shipping in America depended mainly on foreign vessels, but with the outbreak of war these were no longer available. Construction began quickly on new ships, most of which were not completed until long after the end of the war. Drawing on contemporary newspapers, magazines and trade publications, and Shipping Board, Department of Commerce and Coast Guard records, this book provides the first complete overview of the American Merchant Marine during World War I. Detailed accounts cover the expansion of trans–Atlantic shipping, shipbuilding records 1914–1918, operating companies, ship losses from enemy action, the role of the Naval Overseas Transportation Service and mariner experiences.
Cadillac has had a long history in the automotive marketplace as General Motors’ luxury car division. During the 1980s, Cadillac’s management wanted to reestablish the brand as a leader in sophistication, innovation, refinement and prestige. Engineers conceived a new dual-overhead cam, four-valve-per-cylinder V-8 engine—the Northstar. This power plant was the heart of Cadillac’s Northstar System, which included a greatly improved suspension and braking system.
The division redesigned its entire line to incorporate these new technologies for the 1990s and beyond. The Northstar was the last engine designed and built by Cadillac before the 2005 establishment of GM Powertrain, which took over engine design for all GM divisions. This history of the Northstar V-8 and the cars it powered covers the first generation front-wheel drive Northstar, the second generation rear-wheel drive model, and the supercharged version, along with racing history and the most collectible Northstar-powered Cadillacs.
As a 20-year-old gunboat captain and certified U.S. Navy diver in the Mekong Delta, the author was responsible for both the vessel and the lives of its crew. Ambushes and firefights became the norm, along with numerous dives—almost 300 in 18 months. Forty years after the war, he returned as a tourist. This journal records his contrasting impressions of the Delta—alternately disturbing and enlightening—as seen first from a river patrol boat, then from a luxury cruise ship.
Pioneer aviatrix Jessie “Chubbie” Miller made a significant contribution to aviation history. The first woman to fly from England to her native Australia (as co-pilot with her close friend Captain Bill Lancaster), she was also the first woman to fly more than 8000 miles, to cross the equator in the air and to traverse the Australian continent north to south.
Moving to America, Miller was a popular member of a group of female aviators that included Amelia Earhart, Bobby Trout, Pancho Barnes and Louise Thaden. As a competitor in international air races and a charter member of the first organization for women flyers, the Ninety-Nines, she quickly became famous. Her career was interrupted by her involvement in Lancaster’s sensational Miami trial for the murder of her lover, Haden Clarke, and by Lancaster’s disappearance a few years later while flying across the Sahara desert.
Sir John Franklin’s Arctic expedition departed England in 1845 with two Royal Navy bomb vessels, 129 men and three years’ worth of provisions. None were seen again until nearly a decade later, when their bleached bones, broken instruments, books, papers and personal effects began to be recovered on Canada’s King William Island. These relics have since had a life of their own—photographed, analyzed, cataloged and displayed in glass cases in London.
This book gives a definitive history of their preservation and exhibition from the Victorian era to the present, richly illustrated with period engravings and photographs, many never before published. Appendices provide the first comprehensive accounting of all expedition relics recovered prior to the 2014 discovery of Franklin’s ship HMS Erebus.
This book evaluates the development of the Rhodesian Air Force during the Second Chimurenga or Bush War (1966–1980). Airpower in irregular conflict is effective at the tactical level because guerrilla warfare is not a purely military conflict. The Rhodesian Air Force was deployed in a war-winning versus a supporting role as a result of the shortage of manpower to deal with insurgency, and almost all units of the Rhodesian Security Forces depended on its tactical effectiveness.
Technical challenges faced by the Air Force, combined with the rate of guerrilla infiltration and the misuse of airpower to bomb guerrilla bases in neighboring countries largely negated the success of airpower.
In 1920, the 18th Amendment made the production, transportation and sale of alcohol not merely illegal—it was unconstitutional. Yet no legislation could end the demand for alcohol. Enterprising rumrunners worked to meet that demand with cunning, courage, machineguns and speedboats powered by aircraft engines. They out-maneuvered the U.S. Coast Guard and risked their lives to deliver illicit liquor.
Smugglers like Bill McCoy, the Bahama Queen, and the Gulf Stream Pirate, along with many others, ran operations along the U.S. coastline until Prohibition was repealed in 1933. Drawing on legal records, newspaper articles and Coast Guard files, this history describes how rumrunners battled the Dry Navy and corrupted U.S. law enforcement, in order to keep America wet.
During the 1960s, the automobile finally secured its position as an indispensable component of daily life in Britain. Car ownership more than doubled from approximately one car for every 10 people in 1960 to one car for every 4.8 people by 1970. Consumers no longer asked “Do we need a car?” but “What car shall we have?”
This well-illustrated history analyzes how both domestic car manufacturers and importers advertised their products in this growing market, identifying trends and themes. Over 180 advertisement illustrations are included.
This weekend in Nashville, we’re exhibiting at the Popular Culture Association / American Culture Association in the South 2016 conference! Visit our book exhibit to shop and to discuss your book proposal with Dylan Lightfoot.
Combat helicopter pilots in the Vietnam War flew each mission facing the possibility of imminent death. Begun as a series of attempted letters to the Department of Veterans Affairs, this compelling memoir of an aircraft commander in the 116th Assault Helicopter Company—“The Hornets”—relates his experience of the war in frank detail.
From supporting the 25th Infantry Division’s invasion of Cambodia, to flying the lead aircraft in the 101st Airmobile Division’s pivotal Operation Lam Son 719 invasion of Laos to cut the Ho Chi Minh Trail at LZ Hope, the author recounts the traumatic events of his service from March 1970 to March 1971.
In late 1944, 78 U.S. Navy sailors and officers climbed aboard a ship just 150 feet long and 23 feet wide, and headed toward the sound of gunfire. One of a class of gunboats known as “mighty midgets,” LCS 52 carried an arsenal equal to ships twice its size. Yet its shallow draft enabled it to maneuver to within a few hundred feet of any beach. Packed inside the tiny craft, the diverse crew were farmers, students, cooks and teachers. They ranged from age 17 to middle-aged—a few had seen combat in the Atlantic and the Pacific.
This book tells the story of the ship’s extensive service in World War II’s Pacific Theater. Most of the crew survived the war, as did LCS 52 itself, serving in the U.S. Navy and Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force until 1958, when it was decommissioned and used for artillery practice. A roll call of crew members is included, with biographical information when available.
Ed “Big Daddy” Roth (1932–2001) was a phenomenon. His body of work is still discussed in hot rodding, fine arts and pop culture circles and his cult following remains as devoted as it was during his career. His 1963 Mysterion show car—featuring two big-block Ford V8s—was his masterpiece and the story of its rise and brief existence is legendary. Though it was immortalized as a popular plastic model kit and is featured on several websites, little is known about Roth’s magnum opus. There are a number of fanciful stories of its demise—mostly fiction.
Combining history and shop class, this book provides a full investigation of Mysterion—both the legend and the machine itself. Drawing on interviews, magazine articles, photos, models and other (sometimes obscure) sources, the author pieces together the true story of the car, while documenting his own faithful bolt-by-bolt recreation of Mysterion.
A major force in the American automobile scene through the 1950s, Packard made a mark on American advertising as well. The cars themselves seemed built for promotion—the red hexagon in the hubcap, the yoke grille, and the half-arrow belt-line molding acted as a logo of sorts, setting a new standard in visual continuity and branding. The company’s image became so firmly established, in fact, that Packard eventually ran advertisements which pictured the cars but purposely omitted the name, instead asking readers to “guess what name it bears.”
This book traces Packard’s advertising history from 1900 through 1958, based on original research that includes several first-hand interviews with the people who made it happen. Filled with reproductions of Packard ads (some in color), the book looks beyond the surface to examine how the advertisements reflect and interpret the company’s management and business convictions, how they were influenced by business conditions and competitive pressure, and how they changed with the times.
This comprehensive look at the heyday of automobile manufacturing in Ohio chronicles the region’s early prominence in an industry that was inventing itself. More than 550 Ohio manufacturers are covered, from Abbott to Zent. There are familiar marques, such as Jordan, Baker, Peerless, and White of Cleveland, along with Packard, Stutz, Crosley and Willys. Less well-known and forgotten automotive ventures, such Auto-Bug, Darling and Ben-Hur, are documented, although many never got beyond the concept stage. Attention is given to the various ancillary industries, services and organizations which nurtured, developed with and, in many cases, survived the decline of Cleveland’s automotive industry.
World War I fighter pilot William C. Lambert of Ironton, Ohio, flew for the British Royal Air Force in 1918. When he left the Western Front in August, he had 22 victories—then the most achieved by any American pilot. (By the time of the Armistice in November, his total was surpassed by Eddie Rickenbacker, the former race car driver from Columbus, Ohio, with 26 victories.) Lambert survived the war and lived into his eighties, unwilling until late in life to seek public acclaim for his war record. This book examines his life and the wartime experiences that defined it.
With the outbreak of World War I in August 1914, Kiffin Yates Rockwell, from Asheville, North Carolina, volunteered to fight for France. Initially serving with the French Foreign Legion as a soldier in the trenches, he soon became a founding member of the Lafayette Escadrille, a squadron made up mostly of American volunteer pilots who served under the French flag before the United States entered the war.
On May 19, 1916, Rockwell became the first American pilot of the war to shoot down a German plane. He was killed during aerial combat on September 23, 1916, at age 24. This book covers Rockwell’s early life and military service with the Lafayette Escadrille, the first ever American air combat unit and the precursor to the United States Air Force.
In 1915, the road system in south Florida had changed little since before the Civil War. Travelling from Miami to Ft. Myers meant going through Orlando, 250 miles north of Miami. Within 15 years, three highways were dredged and blasted through the Everglades: Ingraham Highway from Homestead, 25 miles south of Miami, to Flamingo on the tip of the peninsula; Tamiami Trail from Miami to Tampa; and Conners Highway from West Palm Beach to Okeechobee City.
In 1916, Florida’s road commission spent $967. In 1928 it spent $6.8 million. Tamiami Trail, originally projected to cost $500,000, eventually required $11 million. These roads were made possible by the 1920s Florida land boom, the advent of gasoline and diesel-powered equipment to replace animal and steam-powered implements, and the creation of a highway funding system based on fuel taxes. This book tells the story of the finance and technology of the first modern highways in the South.
This week, we’re honoring Cleveland after Lebron James and the Cavaliers improbably won three straight to lift the city’s 52-year curse. Through June 26, 2016, get 20% off the following books when you use the coupon code CLEVELAND!
The “Interim” LSM(R) or Landing Ship, Medium (Rocket) was a revolutionary development in rocket warfare in World War II and the U.S. Navy’s first true rocket ship. An entirely new class of commissioned warship and the forerunners of today’s missile-firing naval combatants, these ships began as improvised conversions of conventional amphibious landing craft in South Carolina’s Charleston Navy Yard during late 1944. They were rushed to the Pacific Theatre to support the U.S. Army and Marines with heavy rocket bombardments that devastated Japanese forces on Okinawa in 1945.
Their primary mission was to deliver maximum firepower to enemy targets ashore. Yet LSM(R)s also repulsed explosive Japanese speed boats, rescued crippled warships, recovered hundreds of survivors at sea and were deployed as antisubmarine hunter-killers. Casualties were staggering: enemy gunfire blasted one, while kamikaze attacks sank three, crippled a fourth and grazed two more. This book provides a comprehensive operational history of the Navy’s 12 original “Interim” LSM(R)s.
Covering legendary and obscure intercity passenger trains in a dozen Southeastern states, this book details the golden age of train travel. The story begins with the inception of steam locomotives in 1830 in Charleston, South Carolina, continuing through the mid–1930s changeover to diesel and the debut of Amtrak in 1971 to the present. Throughout, the book explores the technological achievements, the romance and the economic impact of traveling on the tracks. Other topics include contemporary museums and excursion trains; the development of commuter rails, monorails, light rails, and other intracity transit trains; the social impact of train travel; and historical rail terminals and facilities. The book is supplemented with more than 160 images and 10 appendices.
On November 24, 1968, more than 250 people from 19 nations set off on a 10,000–mile endurance rally from London to Sydney. Crossing 10 countries, competitors encountered officious border guards, gangs of rock-throwing children, treacherous driving conditions, collisions, breakdowns, injuries, wayward dogs, livestock, camels and kangaroos, millions of spectators crowding the roads and even bandits. Among the professional drivers were a large number of enthusiastic amateurs, many of whom had never raced in their lives.
Drawing from personal recollections of more than 60 participants—many who made it to Sydney and many more who didn’t—and contemporary newspaper and magazine articles, this book tells the full story of what was called the “Marathon,” from an idea dreamed up over an alcohol-fueled lunch to the last car over the finish line.
This book offers solutions for creating sustainable urban transportation. Topics include historical developments, planning, policy and legislative initiatives, nonmotorized and public transportation, environmental and social justice issues, and safety.
The author discusses social, health and economic consequences of autocentric transportation and possible policy measures to address them. The important topic of changing travel behavior is discussed. Chapters contain straightforward concepts, case studies, review questions and ideas for class projects.
Meet author Robert R. Ebert (Champion of the Lark) and others at the Studebaker National Museum’s Automotive Book Fair and Holiday Open House, Sunday, November 15, in South Bend, Indiana! The museum will offer free gifts to the first 100 families, special discounts, and there will be door prize drawings every half-hour. Best of all, admission is FREE! For more information, please call the Museum at (574) 235-9714 or toll free at (888) 391-5600, or visit the website at www.studebakermuseum.org.
Our brand-new holiday catalog is in the mail, but we’re giving you a sneak preview this morning—click here for great holiday gift ideas before the catalog hits your mailbox!
And, because it’s never too early to start your holiday shopping, we’re offering our biggest sale of the year! Get 30% off your purchase of two or more books when you enter the coupon code HOLIDAY2015 at checkout!
We’re exhibiting at the biennial North Carolina Library Association conference in Greensboro, North Carolina this week! Our own Dylan Lightfoot and Stephanie Nichols are exhibiting books, and several McFarland authors are among the NC librarians attending the convention.
The world of Champ Car auto racing was changing in the 1970s. As cars became more sophisticated, the cost of supporting a team had skyrocketed, making things difficult for team owners. In an effort to increase purses paid by racing promoters and win lucrative television contracts, a group of owners formed Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) in 1978. Soon after, CART split from its sanctioning body, the United States Auto Club (USAC).
Though Champ Cars ran on numerous tracks, the Indianapolis 500 was the payday that supported most teams through the season. From the beginning, CART had most of the successful teams and popular drivers, and they focused on driving a wedge between the track owners and the USAC. Over the next 30 years, the tension between CART and USAC ebbed and flowed until all parties realized that reunification was needed for the sake of the sport. This book details the fight over control of Champ Car racing before reunification in 2008.
From 1850 to 1854, the ambitious Commander Robert McClure captained the HMS Investigator on a voyage in search of the missing Franklin Expedition, which sailed from England into the Arctic in 1845 to map the last uncharted section of the North-West Passage. The Investigator and her consort the Enterprise were to pass through the Bering Strait from the west but a Pacific storm separated them, never to meet again. Obsessed with traversing the passage, McClure pressed on and HMS Investigator spent three years trapped in pack ice in Mercy Bay before the crew abandoned ship on foot.
This book chronicles the voyage in detail. McClure and his relationships with his officers are at the heart of the story of the arduous journey, vividly illustrated by the paintings of Lt. Samuel Cresswell.
The blood moon was a bust in overcast, rainy Jefferson last night, but we’re spinning it positive with this week’s deal. Through October 4, 2015, get 20% off the following books about the moon and space exploration when you enter the coupon code BLOODMOON!
Authors, customers, friends, and fans: if you’ve ever wondered what McF’s mountain town is like, have a look at this neat response about our area from a recent vacationer. (A special nod, too, to our Boondocks friends who regularly support us in a number of ways.) We love where we live!
“At twenty-one, with a year at Lehigh University behind me, and having inherited a small trust fund, I started out to see the world. I booked a passage on a Dutch freighter, the Beemsterdyke, for England. It was incredibly slow and took a full three weeks to arrive.
Once in London I fell in with a lovely little ballet dancer whose friend, Ham Johnson, owned a wheat barge on the Thames. Ham insisted I stay on the barge with him while I was in town, which seemed like a fine idea to me. We talked of all the places we’d like to go—and Ham suggested a trip through the British Isles, Scotland and Wales, which also seemed like a fine idea to me. (The Continent would have been my choice, but the war on Poland had started and visas were unobtainable.)
Pooling our resources, we bought a used MG Magnette sedan for $700 and took off on our journey. Now this car was not in the best of shape. The engine and gearbox were fine, but the steering and suspension were horrible, and it leaked oil at an alarming rate. Also, the starter was inoperative, and we were forced to push-start the car all through our trip. After several thousand miles ,this became routine. At a thousand yards our educated eyes could spot the slightest incline on which to park for a coasting restart.
On a particularly twisty stretch through Wales we overtook a brightly painted Model 328 BMW (a phenomenal road car of its day) being driven with enterprise and obvious skill. The driver saw us approaching and accelerated away. I was at the wheel of our MG and set out after him, sliding in the turns and using up all of the road to keep him in sight. Johnson was literally green on the seat beside me, and thinking back on the condition of the Magnette’s suspension, I can well understand why. But I was having a grand time in my first all-out “dice,” too enthralled to be discouraged by Ham’s discomfort.
Finally, however, the BMW simply outdistanced us and we resumed our trip at a more sedate speed. (Before I am branded an outlaw and mad dog of society I must point out that these roads were deserted and that no speed limit existed on the open roads on the British Isles. Citizens, even foreigners, are assumed to possess sufficient juddgment to regulate their speed according to their abilities, without resort to a stifling edict based on the presumption that all cars are of uniformly poor design and bad construction and that all their drivers are equally incompetent.)
I’d seen formal road racing (in which cars must compete over real or simulated roads, with sharp turns, high-speed bends and straightaways, testing engines, brakes and suspenstion to the fullest) for the first time in my life at Brooklands that year and my motoring appetite was whetted by the sight of Prince Bira flying around the high bankings in the E.R.A. Pushing the crippled Magnette at speed was the closest I had come to realizing my growing ambition to race at the time, but I had already determeined to possess a responsive, nimble sports car of my own someday.
However, the war intervened, and I was not to achieve this until 1948, three full years after I was liberated from the Nazi POW camp.*
[*John Fitch was shot down while strafing a German supply train. After parachuting from his burning P-51, he was captured and spent three months in a prison camp, becoming the leader of its 200 occupants near Nuremberg, and an active member of the Radio Club, in which each man had a different part of the radio and all would meet, assemble the radio and listen for news of the American Army getting closer. Among Fitch’s group was the son-in-law of General Patton, and it was Patton who sent the Seventh Army in to liberate the camp.]
I bought my first sports car—on a loan from the National City Bank—early in 1948: a spry, lemon-yellow British MG-TC. And I was so enthusiastic that I immediately set up shop as an automobile dealer, beginning with a few square feet of space in a sporting goods store in White Plains, New York. The TC sat in the middle of the floor, surrounded by outboard motors, fishing rods and bicycles. MGs were then selling for $2395—and to the average American motorist it seemed ridiculous to put out this kind of money for a little wire-wheeled “toy” automobile.
When I told Elizabeth that I intended to enter a sports car race at Bridgehampton in June she wanted to come along. She’d never seen one and I’d never competed in one, so this made us even. Road racing was being revived in the States after many years, Watkins Glen, New York, having held the initial event the previous fall, and not since the era of Barney Oldfield had sports cars raced on public roads.
In an MG-TC borrowed from one of my customers (I’d sold out my stock of new TCs by then), I lined up with the other drivers, many of whom also drove MGs. I was well to the rear of the starting grid, but soon found to my amazement that I was moving up car by car through the pack as I grew accustomed to the speed and the road. I write this calmly, but I was anything but calm in the dizzy whirl of initial impressions in my first race.” –John Fitch
There is much to celebrate today! Our publishing duty, however, is to equip you with industry intel (some of which is less likely to be in your news feed today). Therefore, as we witness historic decisions in our country, we’d be remiss not to mention the Annual American Library Association conference, which meets over the weekend in San Francisco. Themed “TRANSFORMING our libraries, ourselves, McFarland looks forward to several days’ worth of terrific conversations about all things librarianship.
A happy coincidence—assistant sales manager Adam Phillips has THIS hotel view, providing opportunities to share the goings-on of an historic Pride Week in San Francisco.
A New York Evening World reporter interviewed her at her large Victorian home on a tree-lined Long Island street. He spoke to her just hours after she had completed the tour, with cracked lips and sunburned, peeling nose. However, she had taken time to bathe and change the dusty, travel-stained clothing for “an elaborate gown of white lace.” According to the Evening World, Mrs. Cuneo complained that the Ranier now had a sprung frame, busted springs, leaky tires and a spliced front axle after its rough treatment during the tour, “but it never phased the engine.” Commenting that the dust they drove through “could have made another Egyptian Plague … we had dust and little else for breakfast, dust for lunch and dust for dinner … and then it rained and there was mud, mud, mud, nothing but mud, all through the Allegheny mountains. I counted 10,000 ‘thank-you ma’ams’ in one day on the road to Bedford Springs, Pennsylvania. You can imagine the effect on our springs.” When queried about the scenery, she replied that she had little time to look around. She was forced to concentrate on the “long brown ribbon of road that stretched endlessly ahead and deal with the constant bumping of the car over the dips and water breakers.” According to Joan Cuneo, “the men couldn’t stand it, and for miles they stood out on the running board,” while she drove doggedly ahead.”
Although she had commented earlier on the friendly reception she received from her fellow tourists, Mrs. Cuneo got some strange looks from the locals who lined the roads to watch the tourists drive by. “All along the way the village people stared at me as if I had been a monster of some kind. In one town a young man with his best girl on his arm came up to the car and gazed at me searchingly, ‘Say Bess, it is a woman all right,’ he remarked reassuringly.”
According to Mrs. Cuneo, their main trouble on the road had been tire failure, not surprising, considering the roughness of the roads. “Our right rear wheel was smaller than standard size,” she commented, “and the tires we used kept slipping. We lost a lot of time fixing them, and then there was that accident when we skidded into a fencepost.”
Andrew Cuneo, who was present at the interview, then suggested she tell the reporter how she had helped the village smithy fix the axle. His wife laughed and said, “Good gracious, people will think I am a regular crank if you make me a female blacksmith, too….I love my home and my children but you may say I am speed mad too.” (In 1907, the word “crank was commonly used to describe an annoyingly eccentric person or one who indulged in unusual activities with excessive enthusiasm.)
Finally, the reporter asked Joan Cuneo to explain why she found driving an automobile so compelling. “What’s the fascination of a trip that you don’t see anything of?” he asked. She replied, “That’s hard to answer. I suppose it’s the sense of mastery of a powerful force. The feeling that the great mass of energy carrying you along at express speed is obedient to the twist of your finger … sometimes.”
Excerpted from Mad for Speed: The Racing Life of Joan Newton Cuneo by Elsa A. Nystrom, Transportation Catalog p. 3. Click here to order the book and click here to view the transportation catalog. Through August 1, 2015, get 30% off your order of two or more transportation books. Use coupon code TRANSPORTATION on the McFarland website, or call toll-free 800-253-2187 (Mon-Fri 8:00 am to 4:30 pm Eastern Time) to order and ask your customer service representative for your discount.
Imagine an island in Lake Erie with a crescent bay and another island inside that bay. At the waterfront is a collection of Lyman runabouts with brightly varnished decks, a variety of offshore sailboats, the majestic R-Boats, Chris Craft Sedan Cruisers and Thistle class sloops. The Miller’s Ferry docks are there too.
There’s a little park with a bandstand and several cannons dating to the War of 1812 and Admiral Oliver Hazard Perry’s defeat of the British fleet in Lake Erie there—Perry’s Monument is just on the outskirts of town. Children’s swings and benches ornament the square. Then there’s a neat row of stores. There are bars, ice cream stores and places to buy picture postcards.
The front straight and the start-finish line are just ahead of those stores. As eager spectators leaned precipitously against the snow-fence there, Manny Holder’s Porsche 550 RS was doing ninety miles an hour, two or three feet away.
For a week or two before—and after—the race, the winding country roads south and east of Cleveland would be busy with racers and would-be racers sharpening up their driving techniques—you would go after dark so you could see the headlights of approaching cars and get back into your own lane. The forest would ring with the sound of sports car exhausts. They would depart Linsay’s Tavern, a sports car hangout in Shaker Heights, and head for Chagrin River Road, Eagle, Merkle or Rte. 615, all of which were, and are, terrific driving roads—no doubt the reason so many members of NE Ohio SCCA have done so well in national racing….
…MG-TD owner John Comey went to every one of them—as a competitor in the first two and as course marshal in the rest. “In 1952,” he says, “it was run in the fall—September I believe. I had the distinction of being the 1st car into the 1st corner in the 1st race. I was in the front row and got a good start. Then, on Airport Straight, I was passed by some cars that were going 7 or 8 miles an hour faster. We were all supposed to be stock, so the lesson here is that some cars were more stock than others. It started raining and I was getting wet so I stopped at a farm house and put up the top. I ran the car again the next year and, going into the gas station chicane, a number of cars came together. I had a tough time avoiding them but I did not avoid the telephone pole. That meant the end of my racing, since the MG was the car I drove to work. Then I became the course marshal. I would go up two days ahead of time, sweep the gravel off the corners and get farmers to bring in hay bales.” Comey was also known for his Bugatti pace cars, a Type 55 that King Leopold had owned and a Type 57 convertible.
Competitors would arrive on the ferry boats Friday morning in order to perform technical inspections and practice. In fact, some, such as Chuck Stoddard, would come up very early Saturday morning. “The whole island was shut down and there was nothing to do,” he recalls, “so I would just get up early and drive the Siata from Willoughby to get there at 9 o’clock. I would race my car, put it back on the ferry and be back home the same night.”
Since there was no time for qualifying, the grid was formed by drawing numbers from a hat. Most of the cars were new, so inspection didn’t reveal much. Brake tests and the rest of the tech inspections were held at Joe Parker’s garage on Catawba Avenue. As race worker Mickey Mishne recalls, “Joe Kovatch was the technical inspector. One of his main concerns was that a car braked in a straight line. The driver would speed up slightly upon entering Parker’s Garage, step on the brakes and raise both hands. The result was that many drivers learned how to keep their steering wheel straight, with their knees.”
At the time, it was also common to test handbrakes. Only one car ever went through the back of the garage, as spectator and motorcycle road-racer Bob Karol relates: “Accelerating the length of the garage during the hand-brake test, Frazer-Nash driver Bo Miske disappeared, speed unchecked, out the back door. Returning from his trip around the building, he explained, ‘I knew I forgot to connect something.’”
John Comey recalls, “There was a lot of racing the night before the race and a friend of mine went in the lake off the South Dock. It was Mike Caparon, in an MG. He claimed that mayflies made the dock slick!”
Planes, trains, and automobiles (and boats, buggies, ships, race cars, horses, and more!)—fascinated about transportation history like we are? McFarland has you covered. Take a look at our brand new transportation catalog and enjoy a 30% discount with a purchase of two or more titles, good now through August 1. (Coupon code is TRANSPORTATION.)
On March 9, 1945, during his 34th combat mission, Lt. Edward F. Logan, Jr.,flew his B-17 against Bruck and Graz, Austria. Bracketed by intense flak, his bomber took devastating shrapnel damage just after bombs away over Graz, sending the plane into a tight, diving leftward spin. Extensive training and his level-headed demeanor allowed Logan to recover the aircraft only to find both engines on the left wing knocked out, along with damage to the number four engine on the right and the complete loss of many controls. With his crew’s survival of foremost concern, Logan shepherded the plane to partisan-controlled territory in Slovenia where his enlisted men successfully bailed out, and he planned to crash-land only after his navigator, bombardier and co-pilot had escaped as well:
“I explained to them that it would be easier and safer for them if I crash-landed the airplane alone, and that I could easily accomplish this maneuver by myself. But they replied, “We will not leave. We’re not leaving you alone in this predicament.” Time and altitude were running out while this worthy but time-consuming conversation was taking place. All three of them knew only too well that their safety and perhaps even their lives hinged on all of them getting out of the airplane quickly. I appreciated their sympathetic words, but I could not let them lose their chance to jump safely. I grasped the control yoke more firmly in my left hand and rapidly pulled my Colt 45 automatic from my chest holster with my right hand. I pointed it overhead of the cockpit and said to them in a firm voice: “If you three don’t jump from this airplane immediately, I will shoot all three of you! Jump, damn it, jump!!!”
This week’s deal is a big one! Instead of our regularly scheduled Weekly Deal, we’d like to draw your attention to our new transportation catalog with a special offer—get 30% off your purchase of 2 or more books when you use the coupon code TRANSPORTATION!
Planes, trains, and automobiles (and boats, buggies, ships, race cars, horses, and more!)—fascinated about transportation history like we are? McFarland has you covered. Take a look at our brand new transportation catalog and enjoy a 30% discount with a purchase of two or more titles, good now through August 1. (Coupon code is TRANSPORTATION.)
McFarland is exhibiting at the annual conference of the Popular Culture Association April 1-4 in New Orleans, Louisiana. In addition to our book display and sale, editors will be on hand to discuss manuscript ideas. Click here to browse McFarland’s books about popular culture. #pcaaca2015
Attention mutineers: as we approach this bounteous Thanksgiving season, treat yourself to a good book about maritime revolts! Through November 16, 2014, get 20% off the following books when you enter the coupon code BOUNTY!
This afternoon the sad news is spreading around our halls of the death of Car Talk’s Tom Magliozzi. McF’s VP and Editorial Director Steve Wilson, who was a caller in a 1997 episode, reflects, “I’ve been hearing Tom and Ray’s voices, every week almost without fail, for more than half my life. Nobody left on this earth laughs like Tom.” Farewell to an irreplaceable voice of our times
It’s fall in the Blue Ridge, and that means leaf-lovers are planning their weekend trips to see the fall colors. Why not take the time to explore a few covered bridges, too? Through October 12, 2014, get 20% off the following books with the coupon code BRIDGE:
On this day in 1909, the newly formed General Motors Corporation (GM) acquired the country’s leading luxury automaker, the Cadillac Automobile Company. Curious about this iconic car? We have stories to tell! Check out these two titles by Christopher Cummings: Cadillac V-16s Lost and Found and The Cadillac That Followed Me Home.
We’re thoroughly enjoying these long summer days but, we’re always looking ahead, too. (And, er, behind.) Check out this awesomely autumnal catalog cover from several years back. Beautiful. And that reminds us, here’s the new fall catalog. Enjoy, folks!
June 27-30, the American Library Association is gathering in Las Vegas for Annual. We’re still trying to get our book display set up in the exhibit hall, with some “help” from early browsers like Allan Greenburg of Diamond Comic Distributors (pictured). McFarland is in Booth #1423, and our friends at Diamond are in Booth #2015.