Log of My Motor - Vanderbilt

This article originally appeared in the August 15, 1909 Indianapolis Star but is for the most part a re-print of a book review from the July issue of the trade publication "Touring." The article was written by Harry Caldwell who provides a scathing review of the book, "Log of my Motor," by William Kissam Vanderbilt Jr. who would later become known as William K. Vanderbilt II. Deemed historically significant the book can be downloaded or read on-line through the Library of Congress at link associated here with the book title.
The book had only recently been published at the time and is essentially Vanderbilt's memoir of his adventures from 1898 through 1908 as a motorist, an amateur race driver and the founder of the Vanderbilt Cup, which was America's first international road race. The Star introduces Caldwell's critique with an introductory paragraph that notes that Vanderbilt was an accomplished amateur race driver.
Caldwell's assessment seems excessively critical at times and a good example is when he writes, "He wrote it himself, and, since it is extremely dry and poorly written, I am not surprised the published only 200 copies for distribution among his intimates." Given that the book has stood the test of time perhaps Caldwell lacked vision in understanding its eventual contribution to the body of work concerning automobile history.
Caldwell's recount is cursory. It focuses on Vanderbilt's personal opinions about touring the countryside in an auto. An example is how heavy a meal drivers or passengers should consume just prior to taking what would be, given the condition of most roads of the day, a jostling ride. Caldwell also tells of Vanderbilt's concerns about the cost of touring such as bargaining with hotel proprietors about the price of rooms. He also discusses Vanderbilt's misadventure in striking a boy with his car while traveling in Italy. The boy endured only superficial injuries but local residents were not sympathetic and even attacked the American millionaire. Vanderbilt was spared by the local chief of police.

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