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Kussmaul Chronicles

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For starters, when you pick up your copy of Kussmaul Chronicles, you can jettison any preconceived ideas of reading a ‘normal’ book on the story of an engineer and his years spent at Porsche. That way, with a clear mind, you will be better prepared for the unexpected when you turn the first page.

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A young Roland Kussmaul sits astride his Honda CB450, circa 1973 (copyright: Anita Kussmaul)

Author Craig Watkins, whom I have had the pleasure of exchanging many emails with some years back, makes it quite clear right up front that he has not written the biography of a great engineer, in the normal sense of the word. In fact, Watkins is quite open when he says that he is himself an engineer and he did not believe that he had the necessary skills to write a long, narrative-rich book of this kind. But what he set out to do was talk with Roland Kussmaul at length, as one engineer to another, and to record the numerous discussions they had together. These discussions, interviews and exchanges have been transcribed (I guess) almost verbatim into the book. This style is unusual to say the least, but what it gives the reader is an unedited and raw account, warts and all, of what it was like in Porsche’s hallowed motorsport kingdom. So with this in mind, the Kussmaul Chronicles does not follow a typical chronological path from beginning to end, it is not that kind of book, so get ready for a surprise.

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