Rare Book Review: Gilles Villeneuve by Nigel Roebuck
As the F1 circus moves to Montreal, its hard not to think of the driver which the GP circuit was named after, the legendary Gilles Villeneuve. Gilles fans have quite a few books to choose from. Some have been better than others. Last year, I posted a review of the Silvio Rossi’s “Gilles Fra Mito […]
As the F1 circus moves to Montreal, its hard not to think of the driver which the GP circuit was named after, the legendary Gilles Villeneuve. Gilles fans have quite a few books to choose from. Some have been better than others. Last year, I posted a review of the Silvio Rossi’s “Gilles Fra Mito E Legenda” and I have a few more from the collection lined up for review over the rest of the year. One of the harder to find books nowadays is Nigel Roebuck’s “Gilles Villeneuve” which was No.4 in the Autocourse driver profiles book series published by Hazelton Publishing. Let’s take a closer look.
Consistent with other books in this series, there are no chapters to this book – although, Roebuck does provides a 1 page prologue with some graphic memories of Zolder ’82. Roebuck’s narration and personal interviews with Gilles make great reading even though there are relatively few pages to read (this book is more a photo album). The text does tend to focus on only the more memorable Gilles grand prix races (e.g. Zandvoort ’79 and Dijon ’79) and glosses over many of his other races. At the back of the book is a career stats summary.
Roebuck includes lots of quotes from other drivers (Andretti, Scheckter, Stewart, etc.) and team personnel but doesn’t offer too much insight into Gilles’ personal or family background. If that’s what you’re looking for, Gerald Donaldson’s biography on Gilles will probably be a better option.
There are only 19 color photos in the book which is a shame. The rest of the book contains a lot of varied black & white photos, some are double page spreads but all are portrait or in-car action shots. Some of these b&w photos are well defined but there are others that are a little ordinary in photo quality. If you’re only interested in a good color photo book of Gilles, this book would be a slight disappointment and I think the excellent Gribaudo Paolo D’Alessio series book or Nigel Roebuck’s other Gilles title “Gilles Villeneuve: A photographic portrait” would be better.
The cover price of the book when it was released was £11.99 but it usually fetches well over US$50+ now. I think the Autocourse tag has something to do with it.
In keeping with the Canadian GP theme this weekend, I’ll be looking to review a Villeneuve Jnr book next…
Wow Factor or Money Shot: Lots of good shots but my favorite would be the double page photo of the 312T3 at ’78 Canadian GP.
Suitable for: Gilles fans and tifosi.