How a Jewish Driver, an American Heiress, and a Legendary Car Beat Hitler’s Best by Neal Bascomb
Virtual Book Talk and Discussion
Thursday, Nov. 12 • 7pm • Online Presentation
Sometimes there comes along a sports story that one marvels has never been told in its full glory. Four years ago, author Neal Bascomb received a tip about a remarkable race car and the improbable team of upstarts who saw it come to creation during the golden age of motor sport. Such was its success that Hitler reportedly sent his henchmen to have the car found and destroyed when he invaded France. An incredible tale has now become an exhilarating book, Faster: How a Jewish Driver, an American Heiress, and a Legendary Car Beat Hitler’s Best.
In it, Bascomb introduces us to Rene Dreyfus, a former top driver on the international race car circuit who had been all but banned from the Grand Prix by the mid-1930s because he was Jewish. We also meet Charles Weiffenbach, head of the down-on-its-luck automaker Delahaye who was desperately trying to save his company as the world teetered toward the brink. And Lucy Schell, the adventurous daughter of an American multi-millionaire who yearned to reclaim the glory of her Monte Carlo Rally-driving days.
Nazi Germany launched its campaign of racial terror and pushed the world toward war, these three misfits banded together to challenge Hitler’s dominance at the apex of motorsport: the Grand Prix.
In addition to bringing the Dreyfus and Schell stories to life, Bascomb offers readers a glimpse of the death-defying thrill of these Grand Prix cars of old by narrating his experience of racing through the orange groves of California in the restored, multi-million dollar Delahaye (now owned by the Mullin Museum) that once made Dreyfus the “Babe Ruth” of his time. Through the help of the Dreyfus family, a range of interviews, archival discoveries, and a deep dive into period newspapers and magazines (including French, British, German, and Italian publications), Bascomb has uncovered this important—and spellbinding—story.
Neal Bascomb is a national award-winning and New York Times bestselling author of The Winter Fortress, Hunting Eichmann, The Perfect Mile, Higher, The Nazi Hunters, and Red Mutiny, all non-fiction narratives, all focused on inspiring stories of adventure or achievement. His work has been translated into over 15 languages, featured in several documentaries, and optioned for major film and television projects.
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