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The Race to the Future

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Audiobook Downloadable / ISBN-13: 9781529386097

Price: £24.99

ON SALE: 9th November 2023

Genre: Humanities / History

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The story of the world’s most epic race you have never heard of.

10 June 1907, Peking. Five cars set off in a desperate race across two continents on the verge of revolution.

An Italian prince and his chauffeur, a French racing driver, a conman and various journalists battle over steep mountain ranges and across the arid vastness of the Gobi Desert. The contestants need teams of helpers to drag their primitive cars up narrow gorges, lift them over rough terrain and float them across rivers. Petrol is almost impossible to find, there are barely any roads, armed bandits and wolves lurk in the forests. Updates on their progress, sent by telegram, are eagerly devoured by millions in one of the first ever global news stories. Their destination: Paris.

More than its many adventures, the Peking-to-Paris provided the impetus for profound change. The world of 1907 is poised between the old and the new: communist regimes will replace imperial ones in China and Russia; the telegraph is transforming modern communication and the car will soon displace the horse. In this book bestselling author Kassia St Clair traces the fascinating stories of two interlocking races – setting the derring-do (and sometimes cheating) of one of the world’s first car races against the backdrop of a larger geopolitical and technological rush to the future, as the rivalry grows between countries and empires, building up to the cataclysmic event that changed everything – the First World War.

The Race to the Future is the incredible true story of the quest against the odds that shaped the world we live in today.


‘Excellent, innovative and idiosyncratic history that will colour your thinking . . . St Clair writes with style, energy and knowledge’ SPECTATOR

‘Hugely ambitious, sparklingly erudite and wonderfully engaging’ PETER FRANKOPAN, HISTORY TODAY

(P) 2023 Hodder & Stoughton Limited

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Kassia St Clair has clearly done her research . . . she tells a thrilling tale . . . Torrential rain and choking dust, narrow mountain passes that required literally hewing a passage . . . It's an incredible story
Country Life
An incredible and stirring story . . . a mix of competition, camaraderie as well as a larky sense of adventure . . . Down goes the flag. Smash goes the bottle. Shards of emerald glass and champagne spume catch the light. The race from Peking to Paris has begun
The Spectator
And it's Go, Go, Go . . . A captivating history of a seemingly impossible journey and one of the most challenging endurance trials in the history of motoring . . . Skillful researcher and fine storyteller, St Clair's narrative is full of surprises . . . Fabulous . . . she hopes to follow Prince Borghese on his heroic journey and - if you share my absorbed interest in her adventurous narrative you may want to emulate her. See you there?
Miranda Seymour, Literary Review