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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Tracks: Racing the Sun is a historical fiction novel written by Sandro Martini. Journalist Joe Deutsch has come to Venice to speak with Johnny Finestrini, a retired journalist and author, at the hotel where he's living in L'Isola Del Lido. It's 1968, and the story Deutsch is researching begins with the rise to fame of the legendary racers Achille Varzi and Tazio Nuvolari, and follows the races in which they competed in the years before and during World War II. The two were friendly rivals and sometime enemies whose daring exploits, inspired driving and disregard of danger inspired nationalistic fervor. Finestrini was a reporter for the Italian newspaper, the Gazzetta, and his daily column covered the races, the race car makers, and the drivers who lived and died on the track, but in the process he had become much more than a reporter and observer.
Sandro Martini's historical fiction novel, Tracks: Racing the Sun, is a monumental achievement that brings to life the motor racing experience of Italy and Germany during the first half of the twentieth century. It's a remarkable story that is impeccably written and researched. I was spellbound as Johnny Finestrini's recollections and tales unwind. Martini masterfully recreates the tension, expectations and mood of Italy's citizens under fascism and Mussolini, and details the political expedience that pressured racers to excel, challenge boundaries and risk their lives as national heroes. I especially enjoyed reading about the design and evolution of the Italian and German racing cars. Tracks: Racing the Sun is filled with stories and anecdotes that are historical as well as those that serve to fill in the gaps with what might have been, and the blend of fact and supposition works marvelously in this enthralling and fascinating tale. I had a marvelous time reading Tracks: Racing the Sun. If you're a racing fan as I am, you're in for a thrill when you start reading this book. If you're not, you might just become one, or at least get a better idea of what all the fuss is about. Tracks: Racing the Sun is most highly recommended.