Recent books on Cars & Transport

Ferrari Under the Skin book cover

They’re all there this time! Planes, trains, rocket ships, racing cars and ocean liners! There are even two volumes on the former trolleybuses of Wellington, featuring the now-retired trolley network.

Syndetics book coverFerrari : under the skin / Andrew Nahum, Martin Derrick.
“A substantial work, providing exceptional insights into Ferrari the man, Ferrari’s design, and Ferrari the legend. Ferrari is an extraordinary company that emerged as World War II receded in Italy, combining collegiality, an almost religious dedication, and dictatorship in equal parts. Above all, it was impelled by the remorseless ambition of its founder Enzo Ferrari. Richly illustrated with personal ephemera, technical drawings, master models, and luxurious product shots, this in-depth exploration of Ferrari – the man, company, cars, and clientele – reveals what goes into the making of, many would argue, the world’s most desirable car brand.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRails toward the sky : the story of Driving Creek Railway / Barry Brickell.
“When Barry Brickell became New Zealand’s first full-time craft potter, he combined his passion for railways with a family tradition in engineering to build a short line bringing clay and firewood down from the hills to his kilns. Over the next thirty years he kept extending the line, always taking it just a little bit higher. Driving Creek Railway conquers grades steeper than the Rimutaka Incline, includes spirals and horseshoe curves like the Raurimu Spiral, has zig-zags like those in the Andes, and includes the world’s only double-decked railway viaduct.” (Book jacket)

Syndetics book coverThe RAF at 100 : a century in photographs.
“The Royal Air Force was formed in 1918 to defend the skies over Britain during the First World War and made a major contribution to winning one of the largest and most devastating conflicts of the twentieth century. Yet, when the war ended, its existence as an independent air service came under threat from severe defence cuts and intense scrutiny from some quarters as to whether it was needed at all. The Second World War put paid to all the uncertainty and sealed the RAF’s place in the armed services. It has since played a vital role in many large-scale conflicts, as well as in peacekeeping and international aid operations.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Syndetics book coverMotocourse : the world’s leading grand prix & superbike annual / [editor, Michael Scott].
“For the 42nd year, this is the two-wheeled sport’s longest-running and most respected yearbook, featuring independent and authoritative editorial combined with the finest action photography. The World’s Leading Grand Prix and Superbike Annual is the indisputable leader in its field, covering the world of motorcycle racing like no other publication. Motocourse wraps up the year with the most complete results record supplied anywhere in a single volume. This lavish yearbook continues to be essential reading for all fans of two-wheeled motorcycle racing worldwide.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRocket men : the daring odyssey of Apollo 8 and the astronauts who made man’s first journey to the Moon / Robert Kurson.
“By August 1968, the American space program was in danger of failing in its two most important objectives: to land a man on the Moon by President Kennedy’s end-of-decade deadline, and to triumph over the Soviets in space. With its back against the wall, NASA made an almost unimaginable leap: It would scrap its usual methodical approach and risk everything on a sudden launch, sending the first men in history to the Moon–in just four months. And it would all happen at Christmas. In a year of historic violence and discord–the Tet Offensive, the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert Kennedy, the riots at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago–the Apollo 8 mission would be the boldest, riskiest test of America’s greatness under pressure.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Syndetics book coverThe Orient Express : the history of the world’s most luxurious train 1883–present day / Anthony Burton.
“The Orient Express is a name synonymous with luxury train travel in Europe. In 1883, the first train with its gleaming livery and leather-embossed chairs in mahogany-panelled compartments caused a sensation. But by the 1950s and 1960s, the service was becoming ever shorter and European rail travel less stylish. However, in its prime, the Orient Express provided a much-needed luxury service that managed to cross borders and overcome national interests and rivalries. The Orient Express traces the history of the service, from its glamorous beginnings, its popularity with European royalty and heads of state, to its demise in the age of postwar austerity, the Cold War and cheaper air travel. Subsequently revived on a limited scale using some restored original train cars, the mythos of the Orient Express lives on.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverChasing New Horizons : inside the epic first mission to Pluto / Alan Stern and David Grinspoon.
“On July 14, 2015, something amazing happened. More than 3 billion miles from Earth, a small NASA spacecraft called New Horizons screamed past Pluto at more than 32,000 miles per hour, focusing its instruments on the long mysterious icy worlds of the Pluto system, and then continued on its journey out into the beyond. Nothing like this has occurred in a generation–a raw exploration of new worlds unparalleled since NASA’s Voyager missions–and nothing like it is planned to happen again. Chasing New Horizons is the story of the men and women behind the mission: of their decades-long commitment; of the political fights within and outside of NASA; of the sheer human ingenuity it took to design, build, and fly the mission.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe complete guide to drones : choose + build + photograph + race / Adam Juniper.
“Whether you’re flying indoors or out, buying or building, this book covers everything… Following the worldwide success of the first edition, which has been translated into numerous languages, this second edition is not only fully updated to keep pace with the laws and technology, but also extended to thoroughly cover the fast-growing new sport of FPV drone racing, while still including a comprehensive guide to learning to fly any drone.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Life on the road : Kiwi trucking stories
“Kiwi truckies are the unsung heroes of New Zealand – the men and women who make great personal sacrifice to keep our country running. The people who devote their life, in some way or another, to what is often a hard and lonely passion. Life on the Road… captures the humour, tragedy, action and extremes of the trucking world, moving between the dramatic, light-hearted and surprising – including runaway trucks, skirmishes with the law, nostalgic tales of the early pioneers, love stories, and more than one practical joke.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Ocean liners : an illustrated history / Newall, Peter
“Before the advent of the jet age, the ocean liner played a pivotal role in the transportation of people around the world. This illuminating book tells the story of the evolution of the liner from the humble paddle steamer to the beautiful, streamlined passenger ships of the latter half of the twentieth century. Now only a memory, they are here brought back to life in more than 250 evocative photographs, many never seen before.” (Book jacket)

Fly girls : how five daring women defied all odds and made aviation history / O’Brien, Keith
“The untold story of five women who fought to compete against men in the high-stakes national air races of the 1920s and 1930s — and won. Between the world wars, no sport was more popular, or more dangerous, than airplane racing. Thousands of fans flocked to multi-day events, and cities vied with one another to host them. The pilots themselves were hailed as dashing heroes who cheerfully stared death in the face. Well, the men were hailed…. Fly Girls recounts how a cadre of women banded together to break the original glass ceiling: the entrenched prejudice that conspired to keep them out of the sky.” (Adapted from catalogue)

Wellington’s Volvo trolleybus finale / Alan Wickens.
“This booklet recalls memories of the Volvo trolleybuses, particularly in their last year of operation in 2009. The introduction of their prototype replacements, and the new look Designline buses is included, together with scenes of the Volvo’s demise and scrapping.” (Catalogue)

Following the wires : trolleybuses of New Zealand / Sean Millar.
“Five New Zealand cities have had trolleybus systems: Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin, New Plymouth and Wellington, of which only Wellington’s survives.” (Syndetics summary)

Ask an astronaut: Recent books about transport

Cover from Syndetics

This time we’ve highlighted a great selection of books about space travel, along with the very popular “How to Build a Car” and “Girls auto clinic glove box guide“.

Syndetics book coverPicturing the Cosmos: A Visual History of Early Soviet Space Endeavor.
“Space is the ultimate canvas for the imagination, and in the 1950s and ’60s, as part of the space race with the United States, the solar system was the blank page upon which the Soviet Union etched a narrative of exploration and conquest. …The USSR mapped and named the cosmos, using new media to stake a claim to this new territory and incorporating it into the daily lives of its citizens…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFlight : the complete history of aviation / R. G. Grant.
“Over 100 years ago, the Wright brothers flew in a shaky plane for the first time. Today, pilots can fly faster than the speed of sound, creating a sonic boom. Filled with thousands of full-color photographs and fact-filled profiles on 300 aircrafts, Flight follows the history of mankind taking to the skies…” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGirls auto clinic glove box guide / Patrice Banks ; illustrations by Dianne Castillo.
“A do-it-herself guide to auto maintenance, roadside emergencies, and the real scoop on how women can get honest car service at the garage, from engineer turned auto mechanic and award-winning entrepreneur Patrice Banks.” (Provided by publisher)

Syndetics book coverClassic planes : celebrating New Zealand’s rich aviation heritage / Ivor Wilkins.
“With eloquence and colour, bestselling author Ivor Wilkins itraces the story of planes in New Zealand, beginning with the exploits of Richard Pearse and shining a light on other local pioneers, Jean Batten and Tim Wallis among them. He also examines the machines from bygone eras, celebrating those who lovingly restore planes in the modern day, and revels in our ongoing love affair with winged wonders. …breathtaking new photography is complemented by archival imagery, revealing a truly special and important celebration of planes and people. As the author notes in his preface- ‘love is in the air’…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverApollo / Zack Scott.
“…The Apollo Program ran from 1961 until 1972, and marks one of the greatest accomplishments in all of human endeavour – man walking on the moon. On 20th July 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin achieved this most remarkable feat, becoming the first humans to visit another celestial body. Apollo is an extraordinary visual history of the story of this iconic space programme, based on recently released NASA data about the various missions of that name. Using beautifully designed infographics, Apollo takes us through all the astonishing facts and figures, as well as some quirky little-known details, and gives us a detailed and elegant history of the seventeen missions which saw twelve humans step on the surface of the moon. Apollo gives us an insight into the incredible individuals who made that journey.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverEndurance : a year in space, a lifetime of discovery / Scott Kelly with Margaret Lazarus Dean.
“A stunning, personal memoir from the astronaut and modern-day hero who spent a record-breaking year aboard the International Space Station–a candid account of his remarkable voyage, of the journeys that preceded it, and of his colorful and inspirational formative years. The veteran of four spaceflights and the American record holder for consecutive days spent in space, Scott Kelly has experienced things very few have. Now, he takes us inside a sphere utterly hostile to human life…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe passion for Holden : a celebration of the classic Australian marque in 48 cars / Joel Wakely.
“Joel Wakely has worked with and raced with Holden cars almost his entire life, owning several significant and some very rare models. He knows Holdens like he knows the back of his hand, and he knows many other passionate Holden lovers like himself. Following his success with his book Legends of the 48-215 – an in-depth racing history of very first Holden model – and to mark the manufacture in Australia of the very last Holdens in 2017, he has gathered together dozens of fascinating stories about many of the models Holden have produced since 1948…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAsk an astronaut / Tim Peake.
“Based on his historic mission to the International Space Station, Ask an Astronaut is Tim Peake’s guide to life in space, and his answers to the thousands of questions he has been asked since his return to Earth. With explanations ranging from the mundane–how do you wash your clothes or go to the bathroom while in orbit?–to the profound–what’s the point?–all written in Tim’s characteristically warm style, Tim shares his thoughts on every aspect of space exploration… The public was invited to submit questions using the hashtag #askanastronaut, and a selection are answered by Tim in the book, accompanied with illustrations, diagrams, and never-before-seen photos.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHow to build a car / Adrian Newey.
How to Build a Car explores the story of Adrian’s unrivalled 35-year career in Formula One through the prism of the cars he has designed, the drivers he has worked alongside and the races in which he’s been involved. A true engineering genius, even in adolescence Adrian’s thoughts naturally emerged in shape and form – he began sketching his own car designs at the age of 12 and took a welding course in his school summer holidays. From his early career in IndyCar racing and on to his unparalleled success in Formula One, we learn in comprehensive, engaging and highly entertaining detail how a car actually works…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAston Martin DB : 70 years / Andrew Noakes.
“The name of David Brown is synonymous with the glory days of Aston Martin, when a tiny British sports car company was rescued from near-extinction and turned into a marque that could compete with Ferrari – and win. Stylish design, lavish illustration and meticulously researched text come together in this large-format, 224-page book to create a superb celebration of the 70th anniversary of DB Aston Martins in 2017…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSpaceport Earth : the reinvention of spaceflight / Joe Pappalardo.
“Examines the current state and future of the space travel industry, discussing the rise of private companies engaged in commercialized space flight, the building of new spacecraft and rockets, and the development of spaceports.” (Syndetics summary)

The New Zealand shipping and transport directory.
Volume 57, 2018

New Zealand work boat review 2018.
“a showcase selection of the latest workboats.” (Cover)

Ford in New Zealand : putting the car before the horse / John Stokes.
“The arrival of the car in New Zealand was a game-changer – not only was it much faster and more reliable over long distances than a horse, it was affordable to everyone.” (Cover)

Road, rail & sky: New Transport books

Some fascinating new books on planes, trains, cars, rockets and bikes!

Image from fishpond.co.nzUnto the skies : a biography of Amy Johnson / K.A. Lalani.
“This is an extensive, fully-researched biography of Amy Johnson, Britain’s most famous aviatrix. Unto the Skies takes readers from the early days of her childhood and adolescence in Hull, through to her estrangement from her family in London, to the point where her love of flying led to the fame she later, albeit reluctantly, gained after her epic 1930 Australia flight. The story of Amy’s death is still surrounded by mystery, after she crashed into the Thames estuary and was drowned; her body was never recovered. Her story still serves as an inspiration to many, being Britain’s first qualified woman ground engineer – despite being told she would never be a flier – and completing her world-famous solo flight at the age of 26, before other setting other records.” (Publisher description)

Syndetics book coverOn the Trans-Alpine trail : a travel guide to the Great Alpine Highway and the Midland Railway / Geoffrey Churchman.
“Designed for those who travel on the TranzAlpine train through the Southern Alps from Christchurch to Greymouth, and those who do the route by car or bus, this book contains general details and historic facts about each of the localities and features of interest to be seen on both railway and highway, listed in geographical order from Christchurch. Extra chapters on practicalities and stopovers round out the information, which is accompanied by 34 photos (31 in colour) and a map.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Otago Central Railway : a tribute / Tony Hurst.
“A pictorial history of the spectacular Otago Central Railway that once stretched 236 km inland from Dunedin as far as Cromwell; now truncated to the 64 km as far as Middlemarch, the route of the highly popular Taieri Gorge Limited tourist excursion train. With the increasing popularity of both the Taieri Gorge Limited and the Otago Central Rail Trail walkway/cycleway which follows the old roadbed 150 km from Middlemarch to Clyde, this book has been republished so that visitors will be able to appreciate the way the railway once looked includingesphotos taken over 100 years.” (fishpond.co.nz)

Syndetics book coverApollo 8 : the thrilling story of the first mission to the Moon / Jeffrey Kluger.
“In August 1968, NASA made a bold decision: in just sixteen weeks, the United States would launch humankind’s first flight to the moon. Only the year before, three astronauts had burned to death in their spacecraft, and since then the Apollo program had suffered one setback after another. Meanwhile, the Russians were winning the space race, the Cold War was getting hotter by the month, and President Kennedy’s promise to put a man on the moon by the end of the decade seemed sure to be broken. But when Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and Bill Anders were summoned to a secret meeting and told of the dangerous mission, they instantly signed on…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAlternative drivestyles : New Zealand custom-built cars / Patrick Harlow.
“A wide of standard production cars is available, but their pre-packaged looks and specifications don’t meet the needs and tastes of many car enthusiasts. This book takes a comprehensive look at cars that have been given Custom Shop treatment, and in some cases entirely scratch built in New Zealand by enterprising and dedicated car enthusiasts. It presents details with colour photos throughout a wide range of cars from exotic and lavish to the simple and racey. It includes data and descriptions for each and road test results for several.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGondola / Donna Leon.
“Of all the trademarks of Venice none is more ubiquitous than the gondola. In Gondola, Donna Leon tells its fascinating story. First used in medieval Venice as a deftly manoeuverable getaway boat, the gondola evolved over the centuries into a floating pleasure palace, bedecked in silk, that facilitated the romantic escapades of the Venetian elite. Each boat’s 280 pieces are carefully fashioned in a maestro’s workshop. …the gondola is a work of art well worth the labour. And once its arched prow pushes off from the dock, the single Venetian at its oar just might break out in a barcarole, a popular Italian boat song. The best of these songs, as timeless as the allure of the gondola itself, are compiled into an accompanying CD.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverChasing space : an astronaut’s story of grit, grace, and second chances / Leland Melvin.
“Leland Melvin is the only person in human history to catch a pass in the National Football League and in space. Though his path to the heavens was riddled with setbacks and injury, Leland persevered to reach the stars. While training with NASA, Melvin suffered a severe injury that left him deaf. Leland was relegated to earthbound assignments, but chose to remain and support his astronaut family. His loyalty paid off. Recovering partial hearing, he earned his eligibility for space travel.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe complete bike owner’s manual / authors, Claire Beaumont, Ben Spurrier.
“This is the complete reference guide to bike servicing and repair, and an essential hardback bible for every cyclist’s bookshelf. Incredible CGI illustrations show you every aspect of bike repair and maintenance more clearly than ever before, whether you’re a mountain biker, cycling commuter, or road racer. Learn how to replace or repair a chain, correct sagging suspension, fit brake cables, service a handlebar, and much more, with incredible up-close detail helping you to get your wheels turning again.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverStars & cars : mythical pairings / Jacques Braunstein.
Stars & Cars is a celebration of the most unforgettable automotive moments in film, TV, and popular culture. Lavishly illustrated, it brings together the iconic cars that made an impact on our collective psyche, and the stars – the actors, musicians, writers, and painters – who drove, raced, collected, re-painted, crashed, or simply loved them to an obsessional degree. From James Dean and his ill-fated Porsche Spyder to the greatest Aston Martin moments in the Bond movies, from the heroic Minis in The Italian Job, to the eye-popping paint jobs on the psychedelic limos commissioned by The Beatles – all of the greatest collaborations between stars and cars are featured in the pages of this book.” (Syndetics summary)

Recent titles on Cars and Transport

A wide selection this time, from bicycles to motorbikes, Land Rover to motor racing and speedway culture, Boeing to the RNZAF, and notable boats to product tankers!

Image from Fishpond.co.nzLaucala Bay : the story of the RNZAF in Fiji 1939 to 1967 / Bee Dawson.
“As the prospect of a Pacific war with Japan became likely in the 1930s, a Commonwealth defence conference decided which countries would be responsible for which parts of the Pacific. New Zealand was given responsibility for air reconnaissance for part of the ocean centred around Fiji. It was considered that this would best be done with flying boats. The air base at Laucala Bay was developed as part of the strategy to carry out this work. This account tells of the wartime crises and life when peace arrived, from the tracking of both aircraft and submarine activity, to the tragedies and rescues inevitable in times of war.” (Publisher information)

Image from Fishpond.co.nzKiwi speedway culture / Steve Holmes.
“Speedway racing is a form of motorsport born in the USA, but one which was quickly adopted here in New Zealand, dating back to the early 1900s. Speedway has evolved into possibly this country’s most successful racing arena, and one which has become typically unique to us, and our very unique interests. With 24 Speedway New Zealand affiliated race tracks spread throughout the country, local loyalty among fans is as intense and passionate as rugby, or any other sporting code. Kiwi Speedway Culture is a new book that goes beyond the gritty quarter mile dirt bullring ovals dotted throughout our landscape, and visits some of the characters involved.” (Publisher’s description)

Image from Fishpond.co.nzTasman echo alpha : an account of the NZ airline industry in the 1960’s when flying was dangerous and sex was safe / Guy Clapshaw.
Tasman Echo Alpha is a former Air New Zealand pilot’s imaginary recollections of aviation’s glorious days when pilots flew with navigators and flight engineers, and passengers dressed up to fly in those ‘magic flying machines’.” (Book jacket)

Syndetics book coverClassics : great motorcycles and people / words by Shane Kelly ; photography by Geoff Osborne ; foreword by Graeme Crosby.
“A coffee table book featuring images and histories of iconic New Zealand motorcycles, as well as the people who made them famous. Includes the history of the bikes as well as the people associated with them. Each chapter provides a background that tells why the motorcycles are special, looking at the story of the marque as well as the individual machine. It’s not just about the motorbikes but the experiences of the people associated with them.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Kenny Smith scrapbook : a celebration of a Kiwi legend / Michael Clark.
“This biography covers Kenny Smith’s long career in motor racing, including the golden years of the late ’60s and ’70s when he raced alongside Bruce McLaren, Stirling Moss, Graham Hill, Denny Hulme, Jackie Stewart and Chris Amon, the years he won New Zealand Grand Prix titles, and everything else he’s learnt along the way.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLand Rover : the story of the car that conquered the world / Ben Fogle.
“It is said that for more than half the world’s population, the first car they ever saw was a Land Rover Defender. It mirrors many of our national traits, stiff upper-lipped and slightly eccentric. The car has remained relatively unchanged for nearly seven decades and has spawned an industry that includes dozens of publications, car shows, clubs, associations and even model car collectors who dedicate their lives to the Land Rover. …After 67 years and 2 million vehicles the Land Rover Defender has ceased production, and this book is a fitting tribute to this most British institution which has stood as a beacon of durability and Britishness across the world.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBoeing : in photographs : a century of flight / Martin W Bowman.
“This mighty company evolved from the humble Pacific Aero Products Company, incorporated in Seattle in July 1916 and renamed Boeing Airplane Company in 1917. Boeing’s 100-year history spans decades of rich achievement and technological development, first with the manufacture of sea-planes, then fighters and, from the 1930s onwards, huge bombers, innovative transports and finally, gigantic airliners, missiles, rockets and vehicles for moon exploration. Boeing constantly evolved, setting out to develop an entirely new jet transport, and in 1954 the innovative 707 appeared.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverNotable boats : forty remarkable craft, forty great adventures / Nic Compton with illustrations by Peter Scott.
“Whether used for transport, adventure, work, or sport, boats have played a vital role in human history and have inspired numerous stories. The 40 boats featured in Notable Boats will gently float you away with tales of bravery, adventure, and the odd moment of near catastrophe. The book skillfully balances intricate and beautiful visuals, attractively styled statistics, and gripping text…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFifty bicycles that changed the world / Alex Newson.
“The bicycle is the world’s most popular form of transport, and its design has evolved over the decades both in terms of style and technology. From high-performance cycles to practical run-arounds, conceptual bikes to commercial models, the bicycle means different things to different people, from a means of transportation to a hobby, a way of keeping fit or for competitive sport.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHarley-Davidson Sportster : sixty years / Allan Girdler ; photography by Jeff Hackett, David Blattel, and Dain Gingerelli.
“From its difficult birth, Harley-Davidson’s Sportster went from being a mid-twentieth-century correction to a twenty-first-century icon. …Right from the start the Sportster faced challenges, both from imported competition and from design flaws the resulted from rushing the bike to market. But the Sportster perservered through all of this, outlasting all its rivals to become one of the top selling motorcycles of the twenty-first-century.” (Book jacket)

Product tankers / Nick Tolerton and Michael Pryce.
“Mention tankers, and most people think of the supertankers which trundle cargoes of crude oil to the world’s refineries. But the backbone of the world’s tanker fleet is made up of thousands of product tankers, familiar in ports all over the world, which distribute the cargoes of refined products as indispensable cogs in the wheels on international commerce. This book by New Zealand maritime writers Nick Tolerton and Captain Michael Pryce is the first detailed look at the history of these ocean workhorses, which evolved as a separate ship type abreast of the construction of larger and larger supertankers designed specially to carry crude oil.” (Book jacket)

Cars and Transport, recent titles

As well as cars, from the 250F Maserati to Cuba’s and driverless, this time we feature transport to space and around the Earth!

The New Zealand shipping and transport directory 2017.

Untangling the mystery : New Zealand and the 250F Maserati / Terry Collier.
“”International histories of the 250F Maserati, and these continue to be published internationally incorrectly record the events and cars that were actively racing in New Zealand. This history attempts to correct these records for the benefit of New Zealand’s automotive racing history and future records”–Publisher information.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA space traveler’s guide to the Solar System / Mark Thompson.
“Have you ever dreamed of being an astronaut, traveling through the universe on your very own space mission? What would it be like to tour the solar system, visiting the sun and the planets, taking in everything from moons to asteroid belts along the way? What would you see, and how would you feel? What would you eat? How would you navigate and produce fuel? How would you survive?On this epic voyage of discovery, astronomer Mark Thompson takes you on that journey. From how to prepare for take-off and the experience of leaving Earth’s atmosphere, to the reality of living in the confines of a spaceship and the strange sensation of weightlessness, this is an adventure like no other. Suit up, strap in, and enjoy the ride!” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBeyond Earth : our path to a new home in the planets / Charles Wohlforth and Amanda R. Hendrix, Ph.D.
“…Beyond Earth does not offer another wide-eyed technology fantasy: instead, it is grounded not only in the human capacity for invention and the appeal of adventure but also in the bureaucratic, political, and scientific realities that present obstacles to space travel–realities that have hampered NASA’s efforts ever since the Challenger disaster. In Beyond Earth, Charles Wohlforth and Amanda R. Hendrix offer groundbreaking research and argue persuasively that not Mars, but Titan–a moon of Saturn with a nitrogen atmosphere, a weather cycle, and an inexhaustible supply of cheap energy, where we will even be able to fly like birds in the minimal gravitational field–offers the most realistic and thrilling prospect of life without support from Earth.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCuba’s car culture : celebrating the island’s automotive love affair / Tom Cotter and Bill Warner ; foreword by Sir Stirling Moss.
“Before writing his first book, Tom Cotter had long been involved in nearly every end of the automotive and racing industries. From mechanic and auto salesman to heading the public relations department at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Cotter formed his own racing and automotive PR and marketing agency, Cotter Group. The agency represented some of the largest clients in NASCAR, IndyCar/CART, drag racing and road racing.” (from Author Notes & Sketches, Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverHow to Make a Spaceship: A Band of Renegades, an Epic Race, and the Birth of Private Space Flight.
“…Peter Diamandis was the son of hardworking immigrants who wanted their science prodigy to make the family proud and become a doctor. But from the age of eight, when he watched Apollo 11 land on the Moon, his singular goal was to get to space. When he realized NASA was winding down manned space flight, Diamandis set out on one of the great entrepreneurial adventure stories of our time. If the government wouldn’t send him to space, he would create a private space flight industry himself…” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe crash detectives : investigating the world’s most mysterious air disasters / Christine Negroni.
In The Crash Detectives, veteran aviation journalist and air safety investigator Christine Negroni takes us inside crash investigations from the early days of the jet age to the present, including the search for answers about what happened to the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. As Negroni dissects what happened and why, she explores their common themes and, most important, what has been learned from them to make planes safer. Indeed, as Negroni shows, virtually every aspect of modern pilot training, airline operation, and airplane design has been shaped by lessons learned from disaster.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDrones : teach an Arduino to fly / David McGriffy.
Make: Drones will help the widest possible audience understand how drones work by providing several DIY drone projects based on the world’s most popular robot controller–the Arduino. The information imparted in this book will show Makers how to build better drones and be better drone pilots, and incidentally it will have applications in almost any robotics project. Why Arduino? Makers know Arduinos and their accessories, they are widely available and inexpensive, and there is strong community support. Open source flight-control code is available for Arduino, and flying is the hook that makes it exciting, even magical, for so many people.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRobots / John Jordan.
“…offers a guided tour of robotics today, describing the components of robots, the complicating factors that make robotics so challenging, and such applications as driverless cars, unmanned warfare, and robots on the assembly line. Robots will be neither our slaves nor our overlords; instead, they are rapidly becoming our close companions, working in partnership with us — whether in a factory, on a highway, or as a prosthetic device. Given these profound changes to human work and life, Jordan argues that robotics is too important to be left solely to roboticists.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverZero to 60 : from a wooden caravan to a multi-millionaire dollar business empire / Tony Quinn with Robert Tighe.
“”On a frosty and clear morning in the small, Central Otago town of Cromwell, 2012, Tony Quinn and his son Klark stood with an iPad at the edge of an expansive basin of scrub and grass sketching the curves, corners and chicanes of an imaginary race-track. Less than 18 months later, Cromwell was abuzz at the inaugural Highlands 101, with visitors from all over Australasia flocking to Highlands Motorsport Park for the opening of the new 25-million-dollar racing circuit. To some people, building a racetrack in the middle of nowhere might have seemed like an impossible dream, but not to Tony Quinn.”” (adapted from Syndetics summary)
“This is a laugh-out-loud and fast-paced story of a man who started out with nothing, made his fortune from pet food and is now set to reshape the motorsport industry in New Zealand” (Book jacket)

Syndetics book cover1001 bicycles to dream of riding / general editor, Guy Kesteven ; foreword by Chris Boardman.
“Lavishly illustrated, comprehensive, and authoritative, this guide to the 1,001 most important and groundbreaking bicycles is the perfect book for cycling enthusiasts and bike experts alike. 1001 Bicycles to Dream of Riding celebrates the designs and individual stories behind the world’s most influential and high-profile models from every discipline, including mountain and road biking as well as BMX and track racing.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Cars and transport, recent titles

A real mixture this month, from rocket ‘girls’ to travelling the world in an estate car named Desire and a guide to bicycling.

Syndetics book coverRise of the rocket girls : the women who propelled us, from missiles to the moon to Mars / Nathalia Holt.
“The riveting true story of the women who launched America into space. In the 1940s and 50s, when the newly minted Jet Propulsion Laboratory needed quick-thinking mathematicians to calculate velocities and plot trajectories, they didn’t turn to male graduates. Rather, they recruited an elite group of young women who, with only pencil, paper, and mathematical prowess, transformed rocket design, helped bring about the first American satellites, and made the exploration of the solar system possible.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCars, trains, and planes : the definitive visual history of land and air transportation / general consultants, Tony Streeter (trains), Giles Chapman (cars), Philip Whiteman (planes).
Cars, Trains, and Planes chronicles the history of mechanized transportation in awesome detail, profiling the thousands of machines that have carried people around the world over the last two hundred years. This stunning book offers a lavishly illustrated photographic collection of the world’s most incredible popular vehicles. …See everything from the first steam engines to the newest high-speed intercity trains; the Model T Ford to the latest hybrid and electric cars; and the Wright Flyer to stealth fighter jets and huge passenger planes.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverInto the black : the extraordinary untold story of the first flight of the space shuttle Columbia and the astronauts who flew her / Rowland White.
“The real-life techno-thriller from a bestselling author and aviation expert that recaptures the historic moments leading up to the launch of the space shuttle Columbia and the exciting story of her daring maiden flight. Using interviews, NASA oral histories, and recently declassified material, Into the Black pieces together the dramatic untold story of the Columbia mission and the brave people who dedicated themselves to help the United States succeed in the age of space exploration…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAn estate car named Desire : a life on the road / Martin Gurdon.
“In the 1960s, Martin Gurdon grew up in a lost world of bubble cars and Ford Anglias, a place where dads took spare gearboxes on holiday and cars were frequently fixed at the roadside. A 1970s family crisis saw him sent to relatives in rural Lancashire, before spending five dysfunctional years at a vegetarian boarding school, where cars were both his salvation and his undoing, thanks to an illicitly acquired Triumph Herald. He’s since driven everything from supercars to Morris Marinas and been stalked with murderous intent by Reliant Robins. As iconic, and sometimes spectacularly awful vehicles passed through his hands, Martin dreamed of owning an exotic Bristol 401 like his dad’s, and of writing about cars, but would anyone ever be mad enough to let him? Car fans and car agnostics alike will love An estate car named Desire’s eccentric cast of wheeled and human characters.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDoor to door : the magnificent, maddening, mysterious world of transportation / Edward Humes.
“Transportation dominates our daily existence. Thousands, even millions, of miles are embedded in everything we do and touch. We live in a door-to-door universe that works so well most Americans are scarcely aware of it. …And yet, in the one highly visible part of the transportation world–the part we drive–we suffer grinding commutes, a violent death every fifteen minutes, a dire injury every twelve seconds, and crumbling infrastructure. Now, the way we move ourselves and our stuff is on the brink of great change, as a new mobility revolution upends the car culture that, for better and worse, built modern America…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHello, bicycle : an inspired guide to the two-wheeled life / Anna Brones ; illustrations by James Gulliver Hancock.
“An inspirational and encouraging illustrated guide to the world of bicycles and cycling, with practical information on bike buying, riding, repairs, and maintenance. Riding a bike is one of life’s simple joys–it’s fun, freeing, and good for the planet and our health. Hello, Bicycle is a practical guide to the bike life with real-world advice, covering everything you need to know to up your bicycling game and ride with confidence and style…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFifty ships that changed the course of history : a nautical history of the world / Ian Graham.
“A virtual history of the world told through the boats and ships that influenced how and where people lived, with whom they traded, the ideas they exchanged, and how they won and lost the battles that set the course of later generations and millennia.” (Syndetics summary)

Recent titles featuring Cars and transport

From the A-Z of classic cars to a book on living in outer space these books are all about ‘moving’ us everywhere!

Image from Fishpond.co.nzCoral route : Tasman Empire Airways Ltd, flying boats & the South Pacific / Garry Barton, Philip Heath.
“The Coral Route was the first scheduled air service through the islands of the South Seas. Inaugurated by Tasman Empire Airways Ltd (TEAL) in 1951 using four-engine Solent flying boats, it flew into the jet age, becoming the world’s last long-haul flying boat route. Since its final service in 1961 the Coral Route has grown into an aviation legend, the passing decades seeing regular embellishments to old tales.” (Book jacket)

Syndetics book coverThe A-Z of classic cars : the greatest automobiles ever made / Hilton Holloway & Martin Buckley.
“Barely contained within the book are many beautiful, powerful cars from the most prestigious international manufacturers Ferrari Daytona, the Model T Ford and the Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow through to the Tesla. Many cars within are celebrated as the building blocks of everyday life too, like the Ford Escort, GM’s Buick and one of the world’s most successful cars: the Toyota Corolla.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHow to go boating and where : the complete Kiwi guide / Mike Rendle.
“This is a book for everyone who wants to begin their own boating career or who wants to add to their knowledge. Written in the same style as his previous bestseller How to Catch Fish and Where: The Complete Kiwi Beginners Guide, the book covers everything from how to buy a boat through to how to launch it, ski from it, catch fish from it and, most important of all, stay safe while doing so.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBreaking the chains of gravity : the story of spaceflight before NASA / Amy Shira Teitel.
“NASA’s history is a familiar story, one that typically peaks with Neil Armstrong taking his small step on the Moon in 1969. But America’s space agency wasn’t created in a vacuum. It was assembled from pre-existing parts, drawing together some of the best minds the non-Soviet world had to offer. In the 1930s, rockets were all the rage in Germany, the focus both of scientists and of the German armed forces. Meanwhile, the US Air Force was looking ahead to a time when men would fly in space in the thin upper atmosphere. Breaking the Chains of Gravity tells the story of America’s nascent space program, its scientific advances, its personalities and the rivalries it caused between the various arms of the US military…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMotocourse : the world’s leading Grand Prix & superbike annual [2015-2016] / [editor, Michael Scott].
The latest edition of the well-loved annual.

Syndetics book coverRailway depots, stations, & terminals / Brian Solomon.
“Using a blend of contemporary photography and historic images, this book examines some of the finest, most interesting, and most famous railway stations, as well as small-town country stations and architectural gems.” (Cover)

Syndetics book coverBeyond : our future in space / Chris Impey.
“A report on humanity’s imminent potential for living in space covers topics ranging from China’s 2020 space station and the colonization of Mars to space-elevator innovations and the mapping of Earth-like exo-planets.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe railways : nation, network and people / Simon Bradley.
Sunday Times History Book of the Year 2015. BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week. Shortlisted for the Longman History Today Book of the Year 2016. Britain’s railways have been a vital part of national life for nearly 200 years. Transforming lives and landscapes, they have left their mark on everything from timekeeping to tourism. As a self-contained world governed by distinctive rules and traditions, the network also exerts a fascination all its own…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Cars and transport: recent titles

This time we have, amongst others, books about transport over the “Northwest Frontier of India”, on the sub-continent, and about the “Middle East Run”, the route “across Europe and deep into the Middle East to Kabul”.

Teak and tide : the ebbs and eddies of the Edwin Fox : from the Ganges to Picton, New Zealand : the changing fortunes of the last surviving 19th century merchantman / Nigel Costley ; with Roderick Glassford & Don Grady.

Syndetics book coverFrom fabric wings to supersonic fighters and drones : a history of military aviation on both sides of the North-West Frontier / Brian Cloughley, Lester W. Grau & Andrew M. Roe.
“The famed, and dangerous Northwest Frontier of India was a rocky, mountainous land between Afghanistan and the settled districts of the Punjab. Military aviation above the frontier has had little real attention, except for a number of lighthearted memoirs about the challenges of flying antiquated aircraft over precipitous terrain. The Pakistani Air Force has taken over the job with more modern aircraft, but it is only since 2004 that independent American activities in the ongoing fight against militancy in northern Pakistan have drawn widespread attention to air power over the frontier. But any wider study of the utility and challenges of air power in the region would be incomplete without a detailed look at the Soviet-Afghan War. The purpose of this book is to provide a compact, yet comprehensive history of air power in this region…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Powerhouse : inside the invention of a battery to save the world / Steve LeVine.
“Journalist LeVine (The Oil and the Glory) offers an inside look at the race among industrialized nations to develop a world-changing battery technology. The main players-Japan, China, South Korea, and the lagging United States – all aim to create a powerful, affordable battery to propel electric automobiles and challenge “the provenance of the internal combustion engine.” The book lays out a history of batteries, looking primarily at the period after 1977, when Exxon released the first rechargeable lithium battery. LeVine follows a number of scientists, entrepreneurs, and managers whose contributions slowly advance the technology, but it’s only when Chicago’s Argonne National Laboratory and a hopeful, venture capital-funded startup called Envia enter the picture that the race toward innovation gains momentum…” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

cover imageLondon railway atlas: 4th edition / Joe Brown.
“A cartographic masterpiece which provides detailed mapping of the myriad lines which transverse the city, including both London Underground and national railway networks. The clear and detailed large format maps show all tracks and platforms across the network. The new edition has been updated with a massive amount of new detail ideal for enthusiasts and travellers.” (Syndetics summary)

cover imageIndia’s disappearing railways : a photographic journey / Angus McDonald ; foreword by Sir Mark Tully.
“A vibrant photo-essay by Australian photographer Angus McDonald, capturing the sub-continent’s unique narrow-gauge hill railways in all their vivid colour, character and chaos.” (Syndetics summary)

B00BMRTPEM_02___SCMZZZZZZZ_The long haul pioneers : a celebration of Astran, leaders in overland transport to the Middle East for over 45 years / Ashley Coghill.
“It all started in 1964 when two friends gave up promising medical careers to embark upon a journey which few hardened truckers would have considered. In so doing, they were solely responsible for creating the first long haul overland route, across Europe and deep into the Middle East to Kabul. This book is about the company founded by one of those men, from its fledgling days as Asian Transport to the thriving Astran Cargo Services Ltd that it is today. These early long haul drivers would think nothing of a 10,000 mile round trip to Iran or the Arabian Gulf and being stranded at 6,000 feet on a mountain pass with temperatures below -40 was just all in a day’s work. The end result is a detailed, comprehensive and fascinating account of an extraordinary company.” (Product description, Amazon.co.uk)

Top Gear and caravans… New transportation books

Yes, we know. Top Gear and caravans… Two things that don’t naturally go together, unless one is being blown up or otherwise destroyed. Nonetheless, our selection of the best car and transportation new books this month features both. From titles about aviation (mentioning Richard Pearse and Richard De Crespigny), to Top Gear’s coolest 500 cars and an homage to caravans, here are our latest picks of the new transportation books!

Syndetics book coverA passion for flight : New Zealand aviation before the Great War. Volume 1, Ideas, first flight attempts and the aeronauts 1868-1909 / Errol W. Martyn.
“Not only is the Richard Pearse controversy finally put to rest here, but readers will also be surprised to learn just how many New Zelanders were activley engaged in one field or another of aeronautical activity. By 1914 they had filed some 70 patents, built or begun the construction of over 30 gliders or aeroplanes, worked with airships or learned to fly, here and abroad, and even invented and operated (for entertainment ourposes) a prototype equlivalent of today’s virtual reality flight simulator.” (Book jacket)

Syndetics book coverTop Gear : the cool 500 : the coolest cars ever made / Matt Master.
“Ever since Karl Benz first powered up his Patent-Motorwagen in 1885, man has salivated and swooned over automobiles. And none more so than the motoring fanatics at Top Gear Magazine, who have test-driven, critiqued and worshipped some of the finest cars in motoring history.” (Library Catalogue)

Syndetics book coverEngineers : from the great pyramids to the pioneers of space travel / [editor-in-chief Adam Hart-Davis].
“An epic visual guide to the great engineers who have built our world. Full of great tales of achievement and ingenuity. Engineers celebrates 80 of the greatest engineers that ever lived and the stamp they have left on the world.” (Library Catalogue)

Syndetics book coverMy cool caravan : an inspirational guide to retro-style caravans / Jane Field-Lewis + Chris Haddon ; photography by Hilary Walker.
“A weekend away in a stylish caravan provides the perfect antidote to 21st-century living, and more and more people are now breathing fresh “retro” vibes into the humble recreational vehicle. Old-style campers also tap into the nostalgia/retro market and the desire for a simpler lifestyle. “My Cool Caravan” aims to inspire a new generation of camper owners and provide an idiosyncratic sourcebook for the design conscious. The inspiration for the styling can come from many different sources–this book looks at 30 styled campers in detail, covering themes such as Country Cottage, Rustic, Romany, Funky 1970s, Airstream, Trailer Park Treasures, and Recycled.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverQF32 / Richard De Crespigny [with Mark Abernathy].
“On 4 November 2010, a flight from Singapore to Sydney came within a knife edge of being one of the world’s worst air disasters. Shortly after leaving Changi Airport, an explosion shattered Engine 2 of Qantas flight QF32 – an Airbus A380, the largest and most advanced passenger plane ever built. Hundreds of pieces of shrapnel ripped through the wing and fuselage, creating chaos as vital flight systems and back-ups were destroyed or degraded. In other hands, the plane might have been lost with all 469 people on board, but a supremely experienced flight crew, led by Captain Richard Champion de Crespigny, managed to land the crippled aircraft and safely disembark the passengers after hours of nerve-racking effort. Tracing Richard’s life and career up until that fateful flight, QF32 shows exactly what goes into the making of a top-level airline pilot, and the extraordinary skills and training needed to keep us safe in the air. Fascinating in its detail and vividly compelling in its narrative, QF32 is the riveting, blow-by-blow story of just what happens when things go badly wrong in the air, told by the captain himself.” (Library Catalogue)

Syndetics book coverMechanics of flight / A.C. Kermode.
Mechanics of flight is an ideal introduction to the basic principles of flight for students embarking on courses in aerospace engineering, student pilots, apprentices in the industry and anyone who is simply interested in aircraft and space flight. Written in a straightforward and jargon-free style, this popular classic text makes the fascinating topic of aircraft flight engaging and easy to understand. Starting with an overview of the relevant asoects of mechanics, this book goes on to cover topics such as air and airflow, aerofoils, thrust, level flight, gliding, landing, performance, manoeuvres, stabilty and control” (Book jacket)

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