Blood and Smoke: a True Tale of Mystery, Mayhem, and the Birth of the Indy 500

Blood and Smoke a True Tale of Mystery Mayhem and the Birth of the Indy One hundred years ago cars lined up for the firstIndianapolis We are still waiting to find out who won The Indy was created to showcase the controversial new sport of automobile racing whi

  • Title: Blood and Smoke: a True Tale of Mystery, Mayhem, and the Birth of the Indy 500
  • Author: Charles Leerhsen
  • ISBN: null
  • Page: 118
  • Format: Hardcover
  • One hundred years ago, 40cars lined up for the firstIndianapolis 500 We are still waiting to find out who won The Indy 500 was created to showcase the controversial new sport of automobile racing, which was sweeping the country Daring young men were driving automobiles at the astonishing speed of 75 miles per hour, testing themselves and their vehicles It was indeed aOne hundred years ago, 40cars lined up for the firstIndianapolis 500 We are still waiting to find out who won The Indy 500 was created to showcase the controversial new sport of automobile racing, which was sweeping the country Daring young men were driving automobiles at the astonishing speed of 75 miles per hour, testing themselves and their vehicles It was indeed a young man s game with no seat belts, hard helmets or roll bars, the dangers were enormous When the Indianapolis Motor Speedway opened in 1909, seven people were killed, some of them spectators Oil slicked surfaces, clouds of smoke, exploding tires, and flying grit all made driving extremely hazardous, especially with the open cockpit, windshield less vehicles Most drivers rode with a mechanic, who pumped oil manually while watching for cars attempting to pass Drivers sometimes threw wrenches or bolts at each other during the race in order to gain an advantage The night before an event, the racers would take up a collection for the next day s new widows Bookmakers offered bets not only on who might win but who might survive Not all the participants in that first Indy 500 lived to see the checkered flag Although the 1911 Indy 500 judges declared Ray Harroun, driving a Marmon Wasp, the official winner, there is reason to doubt that result The timekeeping equipment failed, and the judges had to run for their lives when a driver lost control and his car spun wildly toward their stand It took officials two days to determine the results, and Speedway authorities ordered the records to be destroyed But Blood and Smoke is about than a race, even a race as fabled as the Indianapolis 500 It is the story of America at the dawn of the automobile age, 29.99 a country in love with speed, danger, and spectacle It is a story, too, about the young men who would risk their lives for money and glory, the sportsmen whose antics would thrill and outrage Americans in those long ago days when the automobile was still brand new.

    One thought on “Blood and Smoke: a True Tale of Mystery, Mayhem, and the Birth of the Indy 500”

    1. A Total Joy Full disclosure: I am a huge fan of the Indy 500. I have been to every 500 since 1986 and I live within earshot of the track. I have whiled away many a day at the track watching qualifications, practice or just going through the gift shop during the winter when the track is silent.Charles Leerhsen's recounting of the first few years of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is an interesting, fun and controversial book.What is interesting?Leerhsen tells the story of early 1900s Indianapolis [...]

    2. A good look at the early history of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway,from it's birth to the end of the first 500!Racing buffs you will enjoy this history and the controversial first 500 you won't be disappointed.

    3. As unbelievable as it may sound this book was really entertaining. The author has a wry sense of humor that is easily recognizable as well as a sarcastic bent that he manages to show the reader without sounding preachy. The last three sentences of this book could have served as the starting sentences as well. They would have captured the attention of any reader remotely interested in auto racing or history itself."From it we can learnwell, what, exactly! Maybe only that there are things more Jor [...]

    4. Boy, did I ever love this book and not for the racing action, but for the revelations about the birth of the 500. What a circus the event was. What death-defying daredevils the drivers were. What a shyster Carl Fischer was. I'm a big motorsports fan and this book helped me to develop a real appreciation for the "pilots" that paved the way for the drivers today.

    5. “Blood and Smoke” by Charles Leerhsen, published by Simon and Schuster.Category – Automobile Racing/History“Blood and Smoke” is best defined by its sub-title, A True Tale of Mystery, Mayhem and the Birth of the Indy 500.This book is a must read for anyone interested in auto racing, whether you are a fan of Indy Cars, NASCAR, Formula One, or IROC.The book tells three stories, the life of Indy 500 founder, Carl Fisher, the history of the automobile, and the very beginnings of the Indy 50 [...]

    6. Blood and Smoke, by Charles Leerhsen, focuses on the first Indy 500, which took place in 1911. It describes the history of the automobile to that point, as well as the strange and fascinating personalities who were instrumental in creating the Speedway and the race.I'd recommend Blood and Smoke for the Indy enthusiast, or anyone else interested in American popular culture in the pre-1911 years. Leerhsen has an eye for cultural detail and a sympathetic ear for the personalities that watched and p [...]

    7. As much as I'm heartily into the subject matter (as an Indy native and race fan) I have to stop short of giving this more stars, and three may be too many. Leerhsen's ADHD writing style maddeningly (to borrow his word for a piece of writing he refers to several times) left me feeling like I was running to keep up with him and trying to see where he was going at all (race reference puns intended! j/k). He seems hellbent on impressing us with all the details he insists on cramming into every sente [...]

    8. Comments based on advanced readers copy. Well researched, at least as well researched as is possible with scant available information. Readers who are motor-sports enthusiasts are likely to be disappointed, though the early history is vividly depicted. The book is suited to those interested in the subject of sport and society, and/or the history of technology and society. In addition this is essential for Indiana local history collections. Likely to get a certain amount of promotion as this is t [...]

    9. Great material, what an exciting time, but holy cow I had a hard time following what was going on! It was a rambling text book, I could have used text-book colored pop-ups to keep me on track. Could be great for die-hard fan or your one-and-only read at the time, so I am bumping a 2-star up to a 3.

    10. This was a delightful book, full of dry wit that made me wonder if the author is British (he's not), and people with the oddest and most wonderful characters and some of the most humorous death scenes you'll ever read. I say this all as someone who cares not one iota for auto racing, but boy am I glad this book jumped off the shelf at me.

    11. Non-race fans can enjoy this book for the history and tales of the time. Race fans will enjoy this book to discover (if they don't already know) the dangers and deaths that surrounded early racing.The book dragged at the beginning as too many characters were introduced, but as the book progressed the pace of the book also sped up.

    12. As someone interested in the start of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, I should have enjoyed this more. It was a series of short stories, and a retelling of the exhibitions that occurred before the inaugural race. Interesting, but not engaging.

    13. An in depth and also sometimes very funny account of the first few years of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Not everyone will agree with the author's contention that the real winner of the race was not Ray Harroun, but he makes a good case. The account of Carl Fisher's slow suicide is compelling.

    14. The story of the beginning of the Indy 500 and all the craziness involved. This book goes a long way to prove that the first winner may have been a lie and the truth is not easy at hand. A worthwhile look into the beginning of motorsports in this country.

    15. After having just attended the 100th anniversary of the Indy 500, I found this history of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the first Indy 500 Sweepstakes fascinating. I have actually seen some of the cars mentioned in the book and will look at the museum next year with new eyes.

    16. A fascinating glimpse into some of the shenanigans leading up to (and including) the running of the first Indy 500.

    17. An intriguing history. I've attended the Indy 500 many times and after reading this book will watch it with deeper appreciation for what it took to make it a reality.

    18. Very thoroughly researched. Amazing look into the history of the indy 500. However, can be a bit plodding and the author injected way too much of his opinion.

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