This book is a completely revamped, revised and enlarged version of Andrť CitroŽn- The Man and the Motor Cars published
in 1996 by Sutton Publishing. I must confess that I have never
owned a copy of the earlier edition which means that I should have
approached this as a completely new book. However, curiosity got
the better of me and noticing that the original edition was available
from my local library, I duly went ahead and borrowed it.
However, circumstances conspired against me and I was not able to read
it from cover to cover so I dipped into it; looked at the pictures and
eventually returned it to the library. Thus my original intention
to approach this as a completely new work was almost fulfilled.
Inevitably I did make comparisons but these were mainly concerned with
the respective appearances of the two books. I thought the
original edition looked old-fashioned (or to employ a kinder word,
‘conservative’) even by the standards of the day; not helped by its
format with dense text interspersed with the occasional, well-known,
The new book looks fresh,
modern and very attractive indeed and constitutes a companion book for
the author’s ‘Daring To Be Different’. The Haynes ‘house style’
is truly excellent. Wherever possible, colour images have been
used and many of these are new to me.
John Reynolds has
managed to draw on a multiplicity of sources; including surviving
members of Andrť CitroŽn’s family; has been allowed access to the
company’s archives and chronicles for the first time the story of the
development of the Traction Avant with the result that the book has
been expanded by some 25% compared with the original. Much of the
new material relates to the financial events that led to the Michelin
takeover and to the rŰles played by members of Andrť CitroŽn’s family
in the Rťsistance during the Nazi occupation of France. The
author has also extended the work to touch on the company’s subsequent
history (although those who want an in-depth analysis of that era
should buy a copy of ‘Daring To Be Different’ by the same author). John
Reynolds, thanks to meticulous research, reveals the fact that the
Michelin brothers, like Andrť CitroŽn himself, were of Jewish origin –
a fact hitherto unknown to all other CitroŽn and Michelin historians.
will doubtless be pleased to learn that a French language edition will
be published soon (although quite how John Reynolds’ erudite prose will
read in the ‘Language Of Angels’ is anyone’s guess).
book comes highly recommended. It is well-written (indeed it
would be surprising were this not the case; given John Reynolds’
impressive track record); interesting; informative; full of fresh
insights and astute analysis; and attractively presented.
Together with ‘Daring To Be Different’, the author has provided what
must be the definitive history of the company and the people who made
it what it is up until the PSA era.
Finally, I must
admit that I approached this book with something less than total
enthusiasm. The pre-Traction era is perhaps that part of the
CitroŽn saga that interests me the least; hence my failure to buy a
copy of the original edition. My particular interest is in the
Michelin era and I have hitherto tended to view the pre-Traction models
as being worthy but dull. I suspected that this book too might be
worthy but dull, notwithstanding that I always enjoy John Reynolds’
writing. Like most CitroŽn enthusiasts, I was aware of the broad
outlines of the story of Andrť CitroŽn’s life and of the early history
of the company. I was amazed at the amount of detail contained in
the book and freely admit that my preconceptions were wrong. Even
if you own a copy of the first edition, I strongly recommend that you
buy this one.
© 2006 Julian Marsh/© 2006 CitroŽnŽt