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Emerson Fittipaldi: Heart of a Racer [Hardcover]

Karl Ludvigsen
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

Feb. 9 2003
Emerson Fittipaldi, in 1972 crowned the youngest-ever World Champion at the age of 25, won the title again two years later to prove that he was one of the most outstanding talents of his generation. He and his brother Wilson realized their dream of creating the first Brazilian Grand Prix car. After a brief retirement, the bold Brazilian forged a second magnificent career in IndyCar racing, in which he scored wins in ten consecutive seasons. In this latest addition to his well-received driver biography series, Karl Ludvigsen - Emerson's friend since the 1960s - tells the whole enthralling story.

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Review

Emerson Fittipaldi was crowned the youngest-ever World Champion in 1972 and created the first Brazilian Grand Prix car. This book tells the whole enthralling story of Emerson's career in motorsport.

About the Author

Karl Ludvigsen is the author of bigoraphies of Alberto Ascari, Juan Manuel Fangio, Dan Gurney, Bruce McLaren, Stirling Moss and Jackie Stewart in this popular series, also of Classic Racing Engines and Classic Racing Cars. He owns the Ludvigsen LIbrary, from which many of the 250-odd magnificent photographs for this book are drawn.

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Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Tells a good story, but is a disappointment Sept. 21 2003
I've been a fan of Emerson's since the early 70's, and I was excited to see this book arrive, a recap of his entire racing (and personal) history. After reading it, however, I felt like it was missing something. Maybe a few somethings. First, the photography: the book is printed on heavy, glossy paper in a larger format, but almost all of the photos are black & white. There is a 16 page center section of color photos, but it doesn't seem like enough, considering that Fittipaldi raced most of his career long after color photography became commonplace. Most of the photos come from the "Ludvigsen Library", so that may be an explanation. I'm sure it was cheaper to use his own B+W images rather than buy rights to someone else's color stuff. As long as we're on the photos, the last 5 pages consist of shots of Emerson & Family playing paddle tennis, with Emmo clad in Speedo-type shorts and tight T-shirt. These images are the kind you show to your friends to embarass the subjects. Seemed out of place here. Also, despite the claim that Ludvigsen has been friends with Fittipaldi since the 60's, virtually all the quotes have been borrowed from other sources, albeit with credit. Do they ever talk? Finally, the book contained no compendium of his racing career. Where is the list of Grand Prix finishes? His CART racing stats? I guess I don't expect a list of every car and race since his childhood, but certainly his participation in the major series - F1, CART, IROC, etc - could have been listed. I don't know if I can recommend this book or not - I suppose it contains the basic info of his life and racing, but could have been a lot better. It's probably the best book out there about Emmo, but that's pretty faint praise.
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Amazon.com: 3.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Tells a good story, but is a disappointment Sept. 21 2003
By M. Rosen - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
I've been a fan of Emerson's since the early 70's, and I was excited to see this book arrive, a recap of his entire racing (and personal) history. After reading it, however, I felt like it was missing something. Maybe a few somethings. First, the photography: the book is printed on heavy, glossy paper in a larger format, but almost all of the photos are black & white. There is a 16 page center section of color photos, but it doesn't seem like enough, considering that Fittipaldi raced most of his career long after color photography became commonplace. Most of the photos come from the "Ludvigsen Library", so that may be an explanation. I'm sure it was cheaper to use his own B+W images rather than buy rights to someone else's color stuff. As long as we're on the photos, the last 5 pages consist of shots of Emerson & Family playing paddle tennis, with Emmo clad in Speedo-type shorts and tight T-shirt. These images are the kind you show to your friends to embarass the subjects. Seemed out of place here. Also, despite the claim that Ludvigsen has been friends with Fittipaldi since the 60's, virtually all the quotes have been borrowed from other sources, albeit with credit. Do they ever talk? Finally, the book contained no compendium of his racing career. Where is the list of Grand Prix finishes? His CART racing stats? I guess I don't expect a list of every car and race since his childhood, but certainly his participation in the major series - F1, CART, IROC, etc - could have been listed. I don't know if I can recommend this book or not - I suppose it contains the basic info of his life and racing, but could have been a lot better. It's probably the best book out there about Emmo, but that's pretty faint praise.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Decidely Average April 16 2005
By Jared M - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Karl Ludvigsen is a well known journalist and motorsport historian who has written a number of motorsport themed books, including Formula One, Indycar and marque histories. Heart of a Racer is part of a series on notable F1 drivers - other driver biographies in the series include Jackie Stewart, Bruce McLaren, Dan Gurney, and Alberto Ascari.

While being very well presented on glossy paper with a lot of black & white images, Heart of a Racer lacks substance. As the previous reviewer, M. L. Rosen, has noted, Ludvigsen regards Emerson as a personal friend. However, there don't appear to be any interviews with Emerson specifically for the book - published in 2002. All the quotations that Ludvigsen attribute to conversations with Fittipaldi appear to date back to interviews for articles published in the early to late 70's.

The coverage of Fittipaldi's racing career is broken down into sections - his Lotus years, the McLaren years, and the Fittipaldi years in formula one is largely glossed over in a few pages per section - there are more pages dedicated to photography in section than text. Some of the photos aren't fantastic in quality either. Apart from the opening chapter, which details the attempts at the Indy 500 over the years, there is only one other chapter which covers Emerson's Indycar career, which spanned 12 or so seasons. I was disappointed that there was not more material about Emmo's relationships with his teammates and competitors. The rivalry with Ronnie Peterson as a Lotus teammate is only slightly touched on here. And the story of Fittipaldi, the Formula One team, has really yet to be told - the chapter that relates to this period of Emerson's life is quite sketchy.

By and large, I was disappointed with Heart of a Racer - it really is not much more than a coffee table book - mostly pictures and little substance. Which is a real shame, as there are surely many interesting tales that Ludvigsen can relate about Emmo's time in motorsport. Look elsewhere for the definite story of Emerson's motorsport career - a good place to start might be Gordon Kirby's book, "Emerson Fittipaldi" written in 1990, which is often referred to by Ludvigsen in his own text.
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