Speed records

High-speed trains, planes and automobiles are increasingly redundant

Should the world be faster or slower? This is a question relevant to global economics, politics and culture. But not to Martin Roach. The History of Speed is a one-dimensional book — if it has any dimensions at all. Speed and pace are often confused. One is distance over time, the other is time over distance. A snail’s pace is actually a snail’s speed, or about 0.002 mph. At the other extreme is the speed of light: 671,000,000 mph. The shelled gastropod is nearer to the average speed of London traffic today, about 7 mph if you are lucky. Roach, who has written bestsellers on boy bands, suffers no sort