Monday, March 30, 2015

The Pacesetter by Jerry M. Fisher

Genre: Adult, Biography
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

I requested this book when I found out about it for several reasons. The first is that I've always had a love of racing, thanks to my father. I was born and raised most of my young life in Indiana. I've been on the track at the Indianapolis Speedway. It was one of the most terrifying and exhilarating times of my life. According to my mom, my dad worked the pits in Indianapolis and Kokomo. Another reason I wanted to read the book was because I had just learned that I had a distant cousin, Harry Knight ,who was part of the early racing in Indianapolis, racing in the first two Indy 500 races. He sadly lost his life in 1913 during a race in Ohio. These were the initial reasons I wanted to read the book. However there were so many more reasons to read this wonderful book.

I learned so much about the early years of the Indy 500 and the speedway just from reading this book.  Carl G. Fisher was a name I had never heard associated with it.  I am so glad I read the book.  He started out as a very poor boy.  He was considered stupid by many. He quit school at the age of six.  The problem wasn't that he was stupid, it was that he couldn't see.  This is something that was discovered later in his life. Not only did he create the Indy 500, but he was responsible for two major highways. The Transcontinental highway that crossed the United States East and West and the Dixie Highway went from Indianapolis to Miami.  He began to build up Miami.  Fisher Island is actually named after him. The more I read his book the more I became convinced that although he made a lot of money, it seemed to be more about the adventure, getting somewhere with his ideas.

Although all of these adventures were thrilling to read about,  nothing touched me like the story of an accident that caused him to fight for civil rights. One of his black workers fell into a vat of boiling tar. Carl himself drove the man in his personal car to the hospital.  He was told that they didn't treat "his kind" at that hospital. As he drove his worker to the other hospital, the worker died.  This was the fuel needed to make him work hard for equal rights.    This man made a lot of contributions to our country yet we know very little about him.  I think it is time we get the word out.

No comments:

Post a Comment