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Book Review - Chapman's Car Compendium

The Essential Book of Car Facts and Trivia

by Giles Chapman

Chapman's Car Compendium

The subtitle is perhaps a little misleading: can it really be essential to know “the cars most name-dropped in rap songs,” “the 10 most famous car mascots” or “20 celebrity car deaths” (with location, date and type of vehicle)? Well, no—but it is fun. Anyone who fancies trivia will rejoice in the scope and content of the information Chapman collects here—there’s plenty of appeal whether you’re an automobile enthusiast or just someone whose copy of Schott’s Original Miscellany is already well-thumbed. While the lack of index or table of contents makes this Compendium not terribly handy if you’re in search of a specific fact, the book is great both for quick dips and long, leisurely jaunts. If you have a few seconds, why not bone up on the “A-Z of car design”? But be careful: it’s all too easy to start reading about “lost property in London cabs” on page 13 and not find yourself emerging until you’ve explored all of “the 10 greatest motoring attractions around the world” on page 171. Just be sure to put the book down before you actually get behind the wheel.

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(Updated: 12/12/11 NW)

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