This book is part of a series by Ballantine books series on the history of the car. Ferrari was number 5 and published in 1971 with an intro by John Surtees. Most people know the author by the name LJK Setright who was featured in CAR magazine for many years. The book is decidedly English and some of the idioms and references didn't translate to me as an American forty years later. He also has an annoying habit of using foreign phrases in place of English at most inappropriate places, like "...making the FIAT Dino a rare automotive example of legititmation per matrimonium subsequens." Really, what's the point?
He has divided the history into a few chapter segments: The Slow Forging of Independence, What Makes A Ferrari and Why All The Fuss?, Front Engine Single Seaters, Rear Engine Single Seaters, The Racing Sports Cars and finally Ferraris In The Street. He skips around a bit too much, introducing an idea here and then dropping it to be reintroduced at a later more appropriate time. It took me a while to settle into his groove.
Once involved with the story, he tells it very well and includes some perspectives not covered to any satisfaction by other authors. He talks about the commercialization of Ferrari, how the old man made production work for him while maintaining a rapid R&D department. He also originates or perpetuates some misinformation, such as the old "different oils for transmission and overdrive" dilemma. I don't know what his engineering credentials are (certainly better than mine), but I questioned some of his views from this perspective, like forged v. billet cranks. There's also some confusing text differentiating models like the 250 Europa (which is referred to as a 250 Export at one point) from the Europa GT. His conversation about suppliers v. in-house manufacturing is interesting.
Overall this is a satisfying overview of the company, written shortly after the FIAT merger and refreshing in having been done "in period". Really, there's the Hans Tanner book and its revisions, the terrific Fitgerald & Merritt book and little else published before this one, so he doesn't have a lot of pre-published sources to pull from, mostly magazine articles (and some of them are great). Originally priced at a dollar, Setright did a very good job telling this story to the general 1970s public, adding some personal anecdotes and views to make this a nice little addition to your library.