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The Race to the Future

The Adventure that Accelerated the Twentieth Century, Radio 4 Book of the Week

Kassia St Clair

$34.99

Paperback

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English
John Murray
14 November 2023
'An incredible and stirring story . . . a mix of competition, camaraderie as well as a larky sense of adventure . . . Down goes the flag. Smash goes the bottle. Shards of emerald glass and champagne spume catch the light. The race from Peking to Paris has begun' Spectator

'And it's Go, Go, Go . . . A captivating history of a seemingly impossible journey and one of the most challenging endurance trials in the history of motoring . . . Skillful researcher and fine storyteller, St Clair's narrative is full of surprises . . . Fabulous . . . she hopes to follow Prince Borghese on his heroic journey and - if you share my absorbed interest in her adventurous narrative you may want to emulate her. See you there?' Miranda Seymour, Literary Review

10 June 1907, Peking. Five cars set off in a desperate race across two continents on the verge of revolution.

An Italian prince and his chauffeur, a French racing driver, a conman and various journalists battle over steep mountain ranges and across the arid vastness of the Gobi Desert. The contestants need teams of helpers to drag their primitive cars up narrow gorges, lift them over rough terrain and float them across rivers. Petrol is almost impossible to find, there are barely any roads, armed bandits and wolves lurk in the forests. Updates on their progress, sent by telegram, are eagerly devoured by millions in one of the first ever global news stories. Their destination: Paris.

More than its many adventures, the Peking-to-Paris provided the impetus for profound change. The world of 1907 is poised between the old and the new: communist regimes will replace imperial ones in China and Russia; the telegraph is transforming modern communication and the car will soon displace the horse. In this book bestselling author Kassia St Clair traces the fascinating stories of two interlocking races - setting the derring-do (and sometimes cheating) of one of the world's first car races against the backdrop of a larger geopolitical and technological rush to the future, as the rivalry grows between countries and empires, building up to the cataclysmic event that changed everything - the First World War.

The Race to the Future is the incredible true story of the quest against the odds that shaped the world we live in today.

By:  
Imprint:   John Murray
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 232mm,  Width: 152mm,  Spine: 34mm
Weight:   480g
ISBN:   9781529386066
ISBN 10:   1529386063
Pages:   320
Publication Date:  
Audience:   General/trade ,  College/higher education ,  Professional and scholarly ,  ELT Advanced ,  Primary
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Kassia St Clair studied the history of women's dress and the masquerade during the eighteenth century at Bristol and Oxford. She has since written about design and culture for the Economist, House & Garden, TLS, Quartz and New Statesman, and has had a column about colour in Elle Decoration since 2013. Her first book The Secret Lives of Colour was a top-ten bestseller, a Radio 4 Book of the Week and has been translated into over a dozen languages; her second, The Golden Thread, was a Sunday Times Book of the Year and was shortlisted for the Somerset Maugham Award. She lives in London. www.kassiastclair.com

Reviews for The Race to the Future: The Adventure that Accelerated the Twentieth Century, Radio 4 Book of the Week

Kassia St Clair has clearly done her research . . . she tells a thrilling tale . . . Torrential rain and choking dust, narrow mountain passes that required literally hewing a passage . . . It's an incredible story * Country Life * An incredible and stirring story . . . a mix of competition, camaraderie as well as a larky sense of adventure . . . Down goes the flag. Smash goes the bottle. Shards of emerald glass and champagne spume catch the light. The race from Peking to Paris has begun * The Spectator * And it's Go, Go, Go . . . A captivating history of a seemingly impossible journey and one of the most challenging endurance trials in the history of motoring . . . Skillful researcher and fine storyteller, St Clair's narrative is full of surprises . . . Fabulous . . . she hopes to follow Prince Borghese on his heroic journey and - if you share my absorbed interest in her adventurous narrative you may want to emulate her. See you there? -- Miranda Seymour * Literary Review *


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