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The Secret Horsepower Race - book by Calum Douglas

SleeperService2

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Some may find this nitpicking but as a chemical engineer working at an American design company (retired now) I have seen through the years many mistakes being made with gallons as most of my coworkers, especially the younger ones, automatically assume that a gallon is 3.785 liters, even if it is mentioned in a clearly British document. I therefor have always urged coworkers to be careful when reading a document, and be clear which gallons one means when writing about them.

...Assumption is the mother of all f#ck-ups.
Not just an American issue. I worked for a weighing machine company in the UK making equipment designed in Germany, the US, the UK and Italy. Having OCD I ended up buying the fabrications for spares for this zoo. Some of the drawings dated back to the 1860s and are still in use today.

IIRC a US probe to Mars hit the planet at very high speed due to a mph vs km/h error and the French lost an Arianne because the payload was designed in inches then converted to mm.
BOT I found out about this book two hours ago and now it's the most important publication of the year!
 

elmayerle

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Assumption is the mother of all f#ck-ups.
I can't agree more, that's why I carefully write the units down when doing calculations; it's saved me from more than one embarrassing situation.
 

steelpillow

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I would like a signed copy. I pre-ordered long ago but when I log on to the Morton's site I cannot find any menu item / link for existing orders. Is it possible to:
1. Check whether my pre-order has not been forgotten?
2. Upgrade it to a signed copy?
 

Calum Douglas

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I would like a signed copy. I pre-ordered long ago but when I log on to the Morton's site I cannot find any menu item / link for existing orders. Is it possible to:
1. Check whether my pre-order has not been forgotten?
2. Upgrade it to a signed copy?
If you ordered a long time ago from Mortons, it will 100% be a signed copy.
 

Sundog

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Man, Amazon just let me know their ship date is now Jan 7, 2021. I have plenty to read until then. just saying.
 

Foo Fighter

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I am just looking forward to it getting here whenever it does arrive. I think worrying over it will do no good, nor will listening to amazon/google etc. When have they EVER made sense?
 

Calum Douglas

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I am just looking forward to it getting here whenever it does arrive. I think worrying over it will do no good, nor will listening to amazon/google etc. When have they EVER made sense?
I know that "yea but covid" is the new "go-to" phrase for anyone who has done anything late, but in this case its been a disaster. I lost my income in March, and... {boring story removed}
we`re genuinely fortunate the book exists at all in print. Its been really touch and-go a few times. Many many authors have who were only very slightly
less far advanced through the process have had their books cancelled or put into "limbo" (I`m not referring to my publisher specifically there). This book was secured principally because it had so many early pre-orders, so essentially it was actually safeguarded by the prospective readership.

I`m not exactly "Len Deighton" or "James Holland" (i.e nobody knows who I am) - so had there been no pre-orders the publishers would have had no guarantee if they would make money.
 
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edwest

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Going on 40 years in the book business, our publisher has the experience to plan through the "yea but covid" situation. I have only been brought back recently. I do sympathize with what I see happening to other authors and their books. Word of mouth is as important now as in the past but a steady stream of updates and promotion are required. The internet has not made some things easier or obsolete.
 

Foo Fighter

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I am just looking forward to it getting here whenever it does arrive. I think worrying over it will do no good, nor will listening to amazon/google etc. When have they EVER made sense?
I know that "yea but covid" is the new "go-to" phrase for anyone who has done anything late, but in this case its been a disaster. I lost my income in March, and... {boring story removed}
we`re genuinely fortunate the book exists at all in print. Its been really touch and-go a few times. Many many authors have who were only very slightly
less far advanced through the process have had their books cancelled or put into "limbo". This was saved principally because it had so many early pre-orders, so essentially
it was actually saved by the prospective readership.

I`m not exactly "Len Deighton" or "James Holland" (i.e nobody knows who I am) - so the publishers had no idea if they would make money off this until pre-orders started rolling in, thats what
secured it.
I'm sorry you have been hit by this situation, many other too. I wish the very best for you and yours, we need folk like you who are commited enough to research and write these wonderful books. In my own not so humble opinion, those who do not read these books are losing out on an insight into something we mostly take for granted, the Internal Combustion Engine. I do not concern myself with the so called information produced by amazon or google or such, they have many times messed in their own systems and left customers wondering just wth is going on. BTW, Len Deighton or James Holland writing an engine based and factual treatise? No thanks.

After all, I'm not exactly going on holiday am I? That being said, when it arrives I will be one more happy hamster, in my straw bedding and reading happily. Wonderful.
 

Foo Fighter

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He is a far better fiction writer though and perhaps I should have said something else instead but nothing comes to mind. One day I shall stop treading on my own bottom lip, maybe.
 

robunos

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No worries . . . I only posted about it because I had the book and read it many years ago. It's one of those 'Not a lot of people know that' facts that Len Deighton wrote non-fiction books. It was from 'Fighter' that I first learned that it was structural strength, rather than aerodynamic efficiency, that allowed a Spitfire to out-turn a 109 . . .

cheers,
Robin.
 

Calum Douglas

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No worries . . . I only posted about it because I had the book and read it many years ago. It's one of those 'Not a lot of people know that' facts that Len Deighton wrote non-fiction books. It was from 'Fighter' that I first learned that it was structural strength, rather than aerodynamic efficiency, that allowed a Spitfire to out-turn a 109 . . .

cheers,
Robin.
"FIGHTER" - was I thought pretty good in the "historical easy-page turner" category, and I thought (mostly) reasonably accurate technically as well - although the argument about turning circles appears to be still raging to this day. Lets not start that one again here !

The only bit I do remember him getting plain "wrong" - was mixing up two-stage and two-speed superchargers.... which is a very common one people get wrong. (Although I`m not
really sure how as the number "two" is the only common factor between them... anyway)
 
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Dagger

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I`m not exactly "Len Deighton" or "James Holland" (i.e nobody knows who I am) - so had there been no pre-orders the publishers would have had no guarantee if they would make money.
Until now I had never heard of Len Deighton or James Holland, but that's probably because I neither read fiction nor war books.
I'm interested in planes (design and development, aerodynamics, engines), not so much in war.
From reviews on amazon.com I get the impression that Holland's books are not worth the time and money.
Deighton's Fighter book however seems to be interesting so I just ordered a copy. Thanks for mentioning it.
I intend to order your book as soon as it is available. Didn't pre-order due to bad experience with that in the past (was not with Mortons though).
 

Calum Douglas

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Deighton's Fighter book however seems to be interesting so I just ordered a copy. Thanks for mentioning it.
Its a good read, very well written and much better researched than modern "popcorn" aviation books. Not perfect, but then neither is my book !

You`re pretty safe now with my book, 2000 copies are in a crate in portsmouth right now. Unless it gets torpedo'd in the harbour
you`ll get one. :)

You raise an interesting point about reviews, as far as I can see almost everything gets 4/5 stars on average. Sometimes I read all the
1/5 reviews and see if they seem cogent. Whats your tactic ?
 
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Foo Fighter

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Reviews on anything are a minefield so unless the people writing them know and understand the topic I ignore them completely. I learned a while ago that film marketing people were editing reviews of film critics so that "Not exactly a blockbusting action adventure", becomes "The blockbusting action adventure you have waited for". I have read and re-read the Dark Tower by Stephen King multiple times and bought the film. The fact that Ron Howard had a lot to do with it made me think it was going to be fair and the cast looked good too. Result? One of the worst time wasting piece of dross I have come across. Unbelievably there were reviews in the four and five star range. It just goes to show that when reviews are available to anyone you will get all kinds of junk as a result.
 

Sundog

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When it comes to reviews I try to find the names of people who've reviewed books that I like and have read and see if they have reviewed books I'm thinking of buying. I also have a reliable group of friends who can give me the lowdown. Not to mention, if it's aviation related, I can usually find honest reviews here. ;)

Sometimes you can even find a deal. I was looking for a good book on the mathematics of lofting, as used in aircraft design, and I happened to run across a good reference from a former aeronautical engineer and it's been out of print for decades. But I think I snagged my copy for around $15.00 USD with shipping from a used book store. I think it's more than worth it's weight in gold, lol.
 

overscan (PaulMM)

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Reviews can be tricky. I've read negative reviews of books on projects which say "its just a bunch of drawings and models of things that that never got built'. Well, yes.

My idea of a good book on an aircraft has a lot of text with detail on development and technical aspects, and less operational coverage and photos of aircraft in action. I appreciate that's not true for others.

Other people just want lots of photos for modelling, or loads of pilot stories. Its all good, provided it's clear before you buy.

A good non-fiction review shouldn't pan a work for failing to meet your expectations, it should be an accurate description of the contents of the book and your assessment of the quality of that contents, and how it compares to previous books on the subject, such that other people can judge for themselves if the contents are of interest.
 

Dagger

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You raise an interesting point about reviews, as far as I can see almost everything gets 4/5 stars on average. Sometimes I read all the
1/5 reviews and see if they seem cogent. Whats your tactic ?
Probably not much different from yours. I first read the 1star reviews, then 2star, et cetera. Of the 3star, 4star and 5star reviews I usually only read the really long ones.

My idea of a good book on an aircraft has a lot of text with detail on development and technical aspects, and less operational coverage and photos of aircraft in action.
Exactly my idea too.

On the ww2aircraft forum there is a topic (a new book in my library) that is almost 400 pages long by now, where I mainly see books that I would not even want for free if I was forced to read them. Apparently there is a market for them. That's fine with me, but not for me.
 

Calum Douglas

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As a book publishing professional, I am seeing all of the hallmarks of a readable, well laid out book. Not to mention the choice of paper stock. Well done.
I dont deserve all of the credit for that, Dan, Steve and Jayne at Mortons did most of it. We did try extremely hard to make it a very high quaity print, which was
very challenging. As, to be honest, for a low volume hardback of almost 500 sides A4 (ish) the price is rather low. We feel the result is an exceptionally good
price to content/quality ratio book for the reader. Books of similar size from people like SAE, often go right in at double the cost of this, then vanish from print.

I think people who compare it to other books of similar size will find this one punches far above its price-point in terms of print quality and content. (I suppose
all authors say that dont they ! ;) )
 

edwest

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Well, many authors send in their manuscripts and leave the rest to the publisher. Someone has to understand page layout, how to select a typeface and so on. I learned the production side long ago, and it helps to have direct contact with a quality printer who will explain it all to you. Some things never change, such as photo and art reproduction. Right now, low volume is all we can do but I have experience with the high volume side as well. As far as books vanishing from print, I've seen too many end up in the hands of speculators who go for sky high prices. One book in my collection was at $30, went to $300 and then dropped back down.

And finding a printer that is low cost and high quality takes time. Prices can vary widely. Fortunately, our primary printer has kept quality high and costs low for decades.
 

Foo Fighter

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Even with CAD software, they have given up supplying a printed manual as the cost was exorbitant.
 

Foo Fighter

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I am reduced to trying to recreate a Tatra 103 with Sketchup and that is expensive enough. Oh well more research material coming soon so I will have a wealth of that at least.

"Courtesy of the Tank Museum Bovingdon".
 
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Ray

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Just order my copy of the book. Amazon (USA) said they would ship it at the end of the year. Anyone else have this issue?
 
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