The Racers: How an Outcast Driver, an American Heiress, and a Legendary Car Challenged Hitler’s Best

­Scholastic Audio. Oct. 2020. 619p. $27.99. ISBN 9781338673432.
Gr 7 Up–History alchemized through the Bascomb lens—Russian battleship Potemkin, WWI prison camp, Nazi Germany—is a guaranteed thrill-ride; his latest takes readers into the speediest cars of the 1930s. Adapting Faster for younger audiences, Bascomb details a prominent Nazi upset played out on wheels. Frenchman René Dreyfus is the driver, turned outcast because of his Jewish parentage as Nazi power rises. The heiress is Lucy O’Reilly Schell, one of history’s first women racers—and perhaps the most compelling character of all. The car is a singular Delahaye 145—its production made possible by Schell—that outraced Nazi-sponsored Mercedes Benz’s best. Alas, Jon Lindstrom’s unflagging energy pushes too often toward frenzied; he’s also no polyglot, a necessary talent for narratively traversing Europe. Lazy glitches are many, beginning in the prologue: Lindstrom garbles “Place de la Concorde,” while producers clumsily re-insert the phrase almost as if to accentuate the ineptitude.
VERDICT Bascomb deserved better.

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