"Enzo Ferrari" by Luca dal Monte

“Enzo Ferrari” by Luca dal Monte reviewed

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Luca dal Monte’s mammoth biography of Enzo Ferrari arrived last year, but it took us a while to both procure a copy and cover its near-thousand pages. Having finally done so, it’s easy to recommend you do the same.

If the pen is mightier than the sword, then the hardback edition of this monstrous tome is certainly an effective weapon. In scope, ambition and page count this bears comparison with some of the lengthier biographies we’ve covered recently.

Philip Porter produced over 600 pages on the first 26 years of Stirling Moss’s life, with volume two apparently on its way. In comparison Dal Monte’s work is more condensed, and is more readable for it.

This titanic chronology of Ferrari’s life has obvious aspirations to be considered the definitive work on a uniquely important figure in motoring and motor racing history. It is a must for fans of Ferrari – the man and the machines – it as comprehensive an account of his life you’ll find.

For less committed Tifosi there is also masses to enjoy here, although skim-reading is recommended for some of the more arcane detail. Ferrari is central to the narrative, and the author thankfully avoids the temptation to use the Ferrari shield as a route to rehash the stories of Chris Amon or Gilles Villeneuve.

Throughout the work is clearly impeccably sourced, and goes well beyond and superficial narratives – with constant insight into Ferrari’s thoughts on his drivers and how he navigated some of the politics of the time.

The real challenge for Dal Monte is how to structure the work; interweaving the chronological telling of Ferrari’s life, with short summaries of the races that were happening at this time. Whilst arguably necessary, the author is a far better biographer than sports reporter. ‘Perfunctory’ is the most appropriate adjective for the race action.

Again this is partly a matter of necessity with a book of this size. Crucially, key moments are told through the prism of Ferrari’s experience, so it what happened back in Maranello rather than at the track which comes through.

The prose is brisk and accessible, and has enough time to ground the story in the context of the times, without losing pace or focus. Superbly researched, well written and comprehensive, Dal Monte’s comprehensive account of Enzo Ferrari’s life is highly recommended.

RaceFans rating

Rating five out of five

Buy “Enzo Ferrari: Power, Politics and the Making of an Automobile Empire”

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“Enzo Ferrari: Power, politics and the making of an automotive empire”

Author: Luca dal Monte
Publisher: David Bull Publishing
Published: 2018
Pages: 968
Price: £35.00
ISBN: 9781935007289

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Ben Evans
Motorsport commentator Ben is RaceFans' resident bookworm. Look out for his verdict on the latest motor racing publications on Sundays....

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5 comments on ““Enzo Ferrari” by Luca dal Monte reviewed”

  1. Enzo Ferrari is a genuine legend, he built a racing dynasty like no other, many have tried but none have come even close. I look forward to reading this book even if it is not the definitive story of Enzos life.

    1. @johnrkh, in some ways, I would argue that it was a case of two individuals building up Ferrari, because Forghieri – for many years, the Chief Technical Officer of Ferrari – was integral to the team for many years, and sometimes perhaps more so than Enzo.

      It was Forghieri who had to spearhead the team after the mass walkout of 1962, and three is an argument that Ferrari are only in Formula 1 today because of Forghieri. Enzo’s first passion was for sportscars, not Formula 1 – it was Forghieri who advocated that Ferrari should focus on Formula 1 instead of the World Sportscar Championship, which was Enzo’s preference (it was the lack of funding for the F1 team that lead to them skipping races in the early 1970s, especially in 1973).

  2. Derek Edwards
    24th March 2019, 11:18

    Philip Porter produced over 600 words on the first 26 years of Stirling Moss’s life

    While this is true I think you mean 600 pages!

  3. For the love of god get a proofreader please. Seriously. I get Dieter has English as a second language so his word mangling articles have some excuse, but the rest of you don’t. If you want to have a professional site with a huge percentage of the page dedicated to begging for money at least get the grammar and spelling sorted out first.

    1. I have to agree with you there.

      English is my second language but even then I find some of it quite jarring.

      I’m a paid subscriber to this site and will continue to be but it can be quite painful sometimes.

      That said i find this to be across a lot of the sites I read and seems to be getting worse across all publications.

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