Geert Mak=Bruce Springsteen. Both are thoughtful and ruminate a lot. They rarely rock out, but when they do, make sure you're there for it.
After 170 pages of careful history, explanations and ruminating, Mak suddenly becomes a great action writer. He takes us back to the 1934 London-Melbourne Air Race.
Holland's pilots, "Pull a typical Dutch stunt," and enter the race in a new airliner from Douglas. The other teams from the US, Britain and Germany enter purpose-built planes, with additional gas tanks and all sorts of extra equipment. Mak does a great job of setting the scene. He points out that the race was only a little further than the usual KLM run from Amsterdam to Medan.
The drama includes problems with weather and a hastily organized landing in Australia, with a runway lit by the headlights of cars parked on both sides.
This was the most exciting part of the book so far.