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Go Like Hell summary

A. J. Baime

Ford, Ferrari, and Their Battle for Speed and Glory at Le Mans

4.4 (26 ratings)
25 mins

Brief summary

Go Like Hell by A. J. Baime is a thrilling American history book that follows the race between Ford and Ferrari at the 1966 Le Mans and the men who risked everything to win. It's a gripping story of speed, rivalry, and engineering that left a lasting impact on the world of motor racing.

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    Go Like Hell
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    Henry Ford II led the Ford Motor Company out of a financial free fall during a national car craze.

    In 1945, when Henry Ford II took over as president of the Ford Motor Company, he had quite a job ahead of him. In the years prior, his father, Edsel Ford, had been hamstrung by his grandfather, the original Henry Ford. Despite Edsel’s pleas to modernize the brand, Henry stubbornly refused to allow his son to make any changes, while the Chevrolet car company slowly became the American brand of choice.

    At the same time, Henry Ford, who had no talent for accounting, placed a former convict by the name of Harry Bennett as an executive manager. The company was hemorrhaging money. And the run of terrible fortune continued as, at the age of 49, Edsel Ford died of stomach cancer, though many believed it was due to a broken heart since he had never managed to gain the trust of his father.

    Henry Ford II believed that his father was a saint who’d been killed by his job, and he wasn’t going to let that happen to him. So when he took the job of company president, it was on the condition that he be allowed to make whatever changes he wanted. First on his list was to modernize the company – as his father had once hoped – and in doing so, regain supremacy over Chevrolet.

    It was a momentous time to be in Ford’s shoes, as, in post-WWII America, there was an ongoing car craze.

    Key to the burgeoning fascination with big and fast cars were the new interstate highways that were built in the 1950s. They wove throughout the US and allowed people to drive from coast to coast. Meanwhile, WWII veterans who’d learned how to be mechanics or become accustomed to fast speeds as fighter pilots were turning their attention to cars and their increasingly big and powerful engines.

    And so were a new generation of teenagers, who made up the big crowds around the automobile races taking place on local drag-strips and the big, sponsored events in cities such as Indianapolis. All across America, people were getting most excited about cars with loads of horsepower, like Chevrolet's Corvette, which was capturing lots of checkered flags.

    In response, Henry Ford simply had to come up with a Corvette killer.

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    What is Go Like Hell about?

    Go Like Hell (2009) tells the remarkable story of a high point in automotive racing: the mid-60s rivalry between Ford and Ferrari, two very different car manufacturers that wanted to win at all costs. The pinnacle of this rivalry was the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans, the most gruelling endurance race in the world as well as the most prestigious.

    Go Like Hell Review

    Go Like Hell (2009) tells the thrilling story of the fierce rivalry between Ford and Ferrari in the 1960s, highlighting the epic battle for victory at the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans race. This book is definitely worth reading because:

    • It offers an in-depth exploration of the intense competition between these iconic car manufacturers, providing fascinating insights into the world of motorsports.
    • The book captures the sheer determination and passion of the individuals involved, bringing their larger-than-life personalities to the forefront.
    • Bringing history to life, it vividly portrays the high stakes, risk-taking, and suspense that kept audiences on the edge of their seats.

    Best quote from Go Like Hell

    The Mille Miglia, which had been a cherished event for thirty years, was never held again.

    —A. J. Baime
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    Who should read Go Like Hell?

    • Fans of the Ford vs. Ferrari movie
    • NASCAR and racing enthusiasts
    • Anyone who loves a good sports story

    About the Author

    A. J. Baime is a former automotive and sports feature editor for Playboy and is a frequent contributor to the Wall Street Journal and Road & Track magazine. His other books include Big Shots: The Men Behind the Booze (2003).

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    Go Like Hell FAQs 

    What is the main message of Go Like Hell?

    The main message of Go Like Hell is the fierce competition between Ford and Ferrari in the 1960s.

    How long does it take to read Go Like Hell?

    The reading time for Go Like Hell varies depending on the reader's speed, but it typically takes several hours. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Go Like Hell a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Go Like Hell is a captivating read for racing enthusiasts. It offers a thrilling account of the battle for supremacy in the world of motorsports.

    Who is the author of Go Like Hell?

    The author of Go Like Hell is A. J. Baime.

    What to read after Go Like Hell?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Go Like Hell, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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