Standard-Triumph-Books.co.uk

REVIEWS

In September 2011 a number of pre-production copies of "Turn Left At The Pacific!" were sent to several British and North American specialist magazines and two leading Triumph Club publications seeking reviews to support the book's marketing effort.

Some very favourable reviews have already been received and appear below. However, in agreement with the magazine editors involved, it has been decided to withold release to this website of their reviews until the edition in which the review appears is available on news-stands or in monthly club publications.

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Triumph World (UK) (Feb 2012) This book tells the tale of John Macartney's Triumph TransAmeriCa Charity Drive in 2009, when he drove 15,400 miles across the United States and Canada in a 1973 Triumph Stag to raise money and awareness for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Part travelogue, part classic car book and part a crusade for a little-understood problem, it is also a clear demonstration of how the internet can be used as a force for good as a tentative idea was picked up by enthusiasts across the globe and turned into a reality.  

Hemmings Magazine (USA) Just arrived on the Hemmings bookshelf is 'Turn Left at the Pacific,' John Macartney's account of his 2009 coast-to-coast journey by 1973 Triumph Stag to raise money for PTSD treatment and research. Longtime readers of the blog will recall our earlier posts on John's adventures which covered 17,866 miles in the United States and Canada and took 69 days to complete. All the while, John, a native and resident of England, was keeping a diary of his trip in which he recorded not just the experience of that day's drive, but his encounters with American and Canadian culture. His observations are uninhibited, and frequently hilarious. We learn about the run-in with a North Carolina state trooper (to whom he delivered a tongue-lashing), his first encounter with Walmart (impressed) his views on American dietary habits (generally disapproving) and many, many more topics. John, like his father, was an employee of Standard-Triumph and those experiences frequently come to the forefront in his meetings with the Triumph enthusiasts who welcome him along the way. John visited 46 British car clubs in 31 states and 6 Canadian provinces (and stopped by the Hemmings home office too) and generously mentions each one and their contributions to his undertaking. The book contains much,much more: there's a chapter on the Stag's restoration, written by the lead restorer, Joe Pawlak of the Illinois Sports Owners Association, and much background on post-traumatic stress disorder, which John developed while working in Iraq. In fact, there's virtually no aspect of the trip, from idea to planning to execution to aftermath, that's not covered in this book's 306 pages, which are filled with hundreds of color photographs. This is a wonderfully warm-hearted and entertaining book, and anyone who's ever dreamed about making a similar transcontinental trip in a vintage car owes a debt of gratitude to John for sharing the experience in such an engaging way. The book is perfect bound and priced at US$40, plus postage. See this 'Blog' entry by clicking on http://blog.hemmings.com/index.php/2011/11/14/the-tale-of-a-trans-american-triumph-trip/?refer=news

 

Stag Owners Club (UK)  "Turn left at the Pacific"  (Nov 2012)

 

As Stag enthusiasts, we are likely to look for any articles new and old on our favourite car. There are many technical books out there on the Triumph Stag and again, some of us acquire these books or borrow from friends to learn more about the car. This book however, was not quite what I was expecting but has proven to be unique in the fact that it’s not about the car as such but the ownership and the experience. To appreciate what I mean, you need to understand why the book was written.

John Macartney is a recognised author having also written another book “In the Shadow of my Father” which tells the story of his father’s and John’s own days of working at Standard Triumph.

‘Turn left at the Pacific’ tells the story of John’s personal experiences and awareness of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) following his time as a civilian with no previous military experience, who found himself caught up in a war zone – and only because his job sent him to that place as it did at the time. It is as a result of what John and his colleagues experienced that John wanted to give something back to those who helped him during the bad times. Within the introduction, John openly comments that the book has two parts, the journey he made with the Stag and to appreciate fully his experience and reasons behind it. For me, by the way it is written, it compelled me to read all.

The SOC were proud to be one of the sponsors who contributed to this unique event.

The 306 page book is an accountable diary of John’s amazing 17,866 mile journey across the  US andCanada in a 1973 Stag for charity, which incidentally set the standard in north American motoring history. No-one has previously driven that far in a car of any age purely for charity. It covers the highs and lows, including an exploding gearbox with a graphic image of the pieces not to be missed (Page 61).

Please note that John has held several lectures and presentations about this trip, so if any area or members wish to hear more about this marvelous international achievement, then please feel free to contact John. Could even be worth considering this for a 2013 event for your calendar. 

The book is unique and a different view of ownership and experience enjoyed by the owner/driver. If you enjoy something different to read, involving your favourite car and in full knowledge that every sale goes towards this worthwhile charity, then this is the book for you, a must. The book 210mm wide and 275mm tall and the numerous printed photos that John took are of very good quality.

The book (reference is ISBN 9-78061-5--52364-4) is available directly from John for £25 plus £6.50 post and packaging.

If you wish to place an order, John can be reached by email at flywheelcoventry1@yahoo.co.uk

Please note that the publisher makes it very clear that John is not earning commission on the sales and that his hard work is all raising charity funds. This would make an excellent Christmas present! Well done John and hope you all enjoy the book.

Triumph Sports Six Club (UK) (Dec 2011 copy of 'COURIER') Many of us know, or know of John Macartney, formerly of Standard Triumph Export Sales, who is a TSSC Honorary Member and our past Register Secretary for the 2000/2500/2.5PI models. We may not all be so familiar with John’s work for charity, which in recent years has focused on support for organisations that offer practical help for sufferers of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. PTSD is a cruelly debilitating condition and sufferers may of course come from a forces or emergency services background, but civilians can also be struck down as John knows from personal experience. You may remember seeing John raffling a Tahiti blue Spitfire 1500 at several car shows 2-3 years ago, as part of his fund-raising effort to help PTSD sufferers. Turn Left at the Pacific is John’s latest book and is being published as this issue of the "Courier" goes to print. The book records John’s epic journey of over 15,000 miles across North America in a Triumph Stag, to raise awareness and funds for PTSD charities in the UK, USA and Canada. He covers the preparation for the trip and the trip itself, which makes for a fascinating story, full of John’s dry humour. But the book is far more than an account of a road trip. John also writes about being caught in the outbreak of the Iran-Iraq war, the personal impact of the horrific events he witnessed, his experience of PTSD and his long road to recovery when eventually he found the help he needed. It’s a very moving account, guaranteed to increase understanding of PTSD. Turn Left at the Pacific is available direct from John's website. All proceeds go to established charities that help PTSD sufferers, so a very worthy cause indeed. If you would like a copy [for shipment to the UK from its US publisher] please visit www.standard-triumph-books.co.uk

Vintage Triumph Register, USA - Dec 2011 copy of "The Vintage Triumph." The epic 18,000 mile charity drive across the United Statedand Canada in a 1973 Triumph Stag. Readers of a certain age may recall the old Certs “Two Mints in One” [It’s a breath mint. No, it’s a candy mint!]commercial of a few decades ago. Turn Left at the Pacific by John Macartney is somewhat comparable in that it’s like two books in one.

It is a detailed travelogue chronicling Macartney’s epic odyssey across 31 states and 6 Canadian provinces in a restored 1973 Triumph Stag to raise awareness for the struggle against post traumatic stress disorder.
However, it is also a treatise on the debilitating effects that PTSD has had on countless individuals.
Macartney is well-known among Triumph circles as a frequent contributor to the Triumph internet message board. His posts are generally held in high regard since he grew up in a Standard Triumph household and spent much of his adult life in the British auto industry working for Jaguar, Standard Triumph, British Leyland, Land Rover, and Massey Ferguson.
In addition, he was also the general manager of an international auto parts supplier before becoming a consultant for numerous blue chip automakers.  
In September of 1980 while in this capacity, Macartney found himself in the Persian Gulf region caught up in the midst of the incredible violence that has marked the area throughout recorded history. In Iraq he witnessed such carnage and bloodshed that his life changed forever, and he became a casualty of PTSD, although he didn’t yet realize it.
It would take a quarter century and intensive treatment before he came to grips with the condition. He later discovered that the charitable organization responsible for his recovery was in dire financial straits. Since Macartney had considerable experience in charitable fund raising, he decided to try to raise money for the philanthropy through a series of drives around the UK. His efforts proved so successful that he then reasoned that it might also be possible to do the same in North America. Thus was born the Triumph Trans-AmeriCan Charity Drive, a journey that would expose the need for PTSD funding to Canada and the United States.
Although the trip was first perceived by many as a pipe dream or even a scam by some, Macartney persevered. With help from Colorado Stag enthusiast Glenn Merrell, a general itinerary was created that would allow Macartney to visit numerous British car clubs, provide a presentation on his background with Triumph and also raise awareness of PTSD. 
Ultimately, over a period of six weeks, he would address 46 British car organizations and roughly 5,000 people. More importantly, he raised $45,000 which was divided equally among three charities dealing with PTSD – one in the UK, one in the U.S. and one in Canada. One of Macartney’s first tasks was to decide upon a Triumph that might be suitable for such an undertaking. His first thought was to use a Triumph 2000, since he had owned one and knew first hand of its capabilities.  Eventually, he decided against it due to the relative obscurity of parts in the US. He also considered a Spitfire or TR series, but he rejected them both due to limited luggage capacity. After further deliberation, Macartney, with encouragement from Merrell, chose a Triumph Stag for the trip. The Stag was originally designed and marketed as a “boulevard cruiser,” and despite a reputation for unreliability in the 70s, [no doubt well deserved at the time] by the 2nd decade of the new millennium, the problems that had plagued it had largely been sorted out.  A solid project car was located in Indiana and acquired through donations from members of the Triumph internet list. The car was then meticulously restored by members of the Illinois Sports Owners Association in 2008/9 under the stewardship of Joe Pawlak. [See TVT 116, 117]
Despite a catastrophic transmission failure a week before its official unveiling, the car, nicknamed “Uncle Jack” in memory of the extremely popular Triumph racer, the late Jack Drews, was repaired and delivered to Macartney in June of 2009 in Daytona Beach, FL, where the trip to raise awareness began.
He averaged nearly 300 miles a day for the trip with nary a breakdown before arriving at the 2009 VTR convention in San Luis Obispo, CA on the appointed date, and winning first place in the Stag concours.
The travelogue portion, which makes up the majority of the book, is much more than a diary of who, what, when, and where. It is somewhat analogous to a latter-day Alexis de Tocqueville observation of American culture, only through the eyes of a 21st century Brit.
In a way, Macartney was 2010 version of Steinbeck to “Uncle Jack’s” Charley. Macartney was totally bemused by the American media’s obsession with the passing of pop star Michael Jackson, who died as Macartney was just starting his journey. He also quickly became a devotee of Wal Mart and observed that American talk show hosts frequently seemed unconcerned with concrete facts when expressing resentment about the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
In addition to his cultural observations, Macartney also encountered numerous “colorful” characters, to include a motorcycle cop in NC who pulled him over for no reason other than to look at the car. The dialogue that ensued could easily have been taken from Hollywood central casting of southern police officers. He also came across a donor who was at first sympathetic to helping fight PTSD, until he found out that some of the money might go to help Middle Easterners, after which time he demanded a refund.
He also recounts several amusing anecdotes about his interaction with hotel clerks and waitresses resulting from his accent. On a more serious note,  Macartney also experienced a series of bureaucratic nightmares in America as well as her neighbor to the north, which made the fact that he was able to complete this trip all the more miraculous. But compete it he did, and on schedule, too. Despite challenges that might have prevented a less dedicated man, John rolled into the VTR convention grounds in October after racking up nearly 18,000 miles on a 40 year old car best remembered for its unreliability. 
The book also contains significant contributions from Glenn Merrell on coordinating the actual drive, Joe Pawlak on the car’s restoration, and Liz Macartney, Sue Merrell, and Kathy Pawlak, who [each] add a wife’s perspective to the project. Their offerings add additional magnitude to the depth of the commitment from those who helped make the Triumph Trans-AmeriCan Charity Drive not only possible, but successful.
North American readers should remember that whenever reading prose by authors from ‘across the pond,’ the English and the Americans are not only separated by a large body of water, but also by a common language. Context clues will help in deciphering many of the colloquial expressions common in the UK but alien to Yanks; however, there may well be some expressions that leave the North American reader puzzled as to Macartney’s intent. These instances are fairly rare, and in my opinion, actually add to the charm of the book.
The author combines his own dry English sense of humor with a passion to educate the public about PTSD in order to craft an absorbing account of his journey.
The book should appeal to most Triumph enthusiasts and will make a worthy addition to their libraries.
 
 
REVIEWS FROM PRIVATE INDIVIDUALS
 
I've purchased the book. Excellent read, good cause, highly recommended. Dave Northrup, Texas, USA
 
I received the book yesterday and it's fabulous. I stayed up way too late last night reading random sections and was extremely impressed. There's a lot of good reading there. I'm glad to see your contributions with lots of info on the restoration and ISOA too. I've been on the Triumph lists for years and was always fascinated by John's tales. He's a born raconteur. Thanks a million. Juanita Pooley, Canada  
 
If you don't know much about Triumphs, British Leyland, Customs (US, Canadian and British) this book will teach you a lot! Oh yes - and "tenacity" too, I should have put that word first. Here is a saga that will truly astonish you. In this book you will read the story of a man who has been to the bottom - truly the nadir of human existence. You will find that no matter how things go wrong for you now, you must persevere. In doing so, you can turn your life into a rewarding experience and even help those who've been saddled with the thing that pulled you down. It is the things that humans do to humans which produce the mental trauma that leaves a person forever changed. It is easy to see what produced John's drive to do this tour. His recovery [from his own PTSD and a stroke] is nothing short of a miracle. If you count how many times our hero crossed the US/Canadian border, you really begin to understand how dedicated this chap was. Each time, the experience (no matter which direction he was going) would be enough to cower a less determined soul. Tenacity!!! I'm astonished at how many times this fellow went head-to-head with the gamut of Customs people. Not to say there weren't some really nice ones, but it seems some of them really hate their jobs. I can truly say I would not have had the courage or tenacity (oops - said it again) to have made this trip. My sense of adventure would have been stomped by my sense of self-preservation early in the trip. Here you see proof that when one man sets his mind like John sets his mind to something, get out of his way! He will do it come Hell or High Water. With the greatest admiration - and DON'T MISS THIS BOOK!  Skip Harris, Arkansas, USA
 
WOW - What a wonderful book!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Just arrived and with the initial 'flip through' finding it hard to put down. Can't wait for this evening to spend some time with it. Looks Fantastic!  Dave Zink, Missouri, USA 
 

What a wonderful story, and what a wonderful cause! My wife and I were privileged to host John on his trip as he made his way through middle America.  We did indeed enjoy sitting on our “verandah” with glasses of wine and getting to know John, even though the visit was so short-lived.  His story-telling abilities really shine in his writing, and though I was not able to travel with him on this epic journey, reading this book has filled in many blanks for me.

The cause that John champions with this endeavor, and that he and his wife continue to promote, is so much more than worthy.  I am the rector of an Episcopal church that serves Clarksville, Tennessee, the home of Ft. Campbell Army Post.  As such, I have had the honor of visiting with soldiers and their families affected by PTSD, and know that it can be quite debilitating, not only to the sufferer, but also to his or her family and associates.

At the same time, I am also a British car nut, and followed with keen interest the restoration of “uncle jack”.  I know what is involved in such an enterprise, having restored four British cars myself.  The sense of adventure involved in trusting not only a forty-year-old car, but also the hands that brought it back to life – and that in original and not “improved” fashion – cannot be overlooked.  I was much in envy of John’s endeavor, and would have loved to accompany him in my own Triumph or MG, had the opportunity presented itself.  But again, reading his journal and commentary was a great substitute.

One more point I must make:  John’s absolute candor in expressing his thoughts is to be admired!  I loved reading his comments to the Alabama “gendarme”, as well as the border agents he encountered as he made his way back and forth across Canada.  I would love to have been the proverbial fly-on-the-wall at either of those events!  Not sure I would have had the necessary “stuff” to express thoughts as he did.  God save the Queen AND the Brits!

Finally, his observations about the people he encountered were most entertaining.  They were obviously made with tongue in cheek, but at the same time should give readers pause to think about the impression one makes on visitors from another country, regardless of one’s home.

Well done, John, and I do hope to return the favor of your visit here in the future!  Mickey Richaud, Tennessee, USA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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