In 1964, in Australia's remote outback, on the dazzling saltpan of Lake Eyre, Donald Campbell set out to drive his Bluebird car at over 400 miles an hour - faster than any man in history.
Things went wrong from the start: unseasonal rains, a sodden lake bed in which every high-speed run slewed dangerously, money running short...even an Aboriginal curse. WIth death shimmering on the horizon before him, the lonely Campbell tried to hold his nerve until he broke the record. Campbell would lose his life eventually on Coniston Water, with over thirty years passing before his body was recovered in 2001, but this strangest - and greatest - of all his world record attempts was witnessed by a young reporter.
John Pearson's classic book about Donald Campbell is an extraordinarily compelling and moving portrait of a modern tragic hero, fighting a battle with inhospitable elements and the outer limits of technology - and, above all, with himself.
John Pearson is a renowned author and journalist who books include The Profession of Violence, his famous biography of the Kray twins which won the Edgar Allan Poe Special Award, The Life of Ian Fleming, The Life of James Bond, The Sitwells and Painfully Rich: The Outrageous Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Heirs of J. Paul Getty and The Cult of Violence.
Richard Williams is the chief sports writer of the Guardian. His books include The Death of Ayton Senna, Racers, Long Distance Call: Writings on Music, and Enzo Ferrari: A Life