Written by Gosport, Indiana, native James Alexander Thom, Spectator Sport focuses on the rain-shortened, crash-marred 1973 Indianapolis 500-mile race and the deaths of drivers Art Pollard and Swede Savage. The event is seen through the eyes of a number of spectators who interact with one another. First published in a paperback edition of 250,000 copies, the book received a mixed reaction locally. One reviewer from Indianapolis chided the author for his “outlandish vocabulary,” while another called his story “compelling, believable, and, in consonance with the topic, fast-moving.”

Born on May 28, 1933, Thom is a 1951 graduate of Indianapolis Arsenal Technical High School. A Korean War veteran, he received a bachelor of arts degree in journalism from Butler University. He worked for the Indianapolis Star from 1960 to 1967, serving as the business editor and writing a financial column. He later was a senior editor for the Saturday Evening Post before becoming a freelance writer.

Thom is the author of several other books including Long Knife (1979); Follow The River (1981); From Sea To Shining Sea (1984); and Panther In The Sky (1989).

Revised April 2021

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