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Crashed and Byrned: The Greatest Racing Driver You Never Saw Paperback – 4 Sep 2008


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Product details

  • Paperback: 228 pages
  • Publisher: Icon Books Ltd; First Edition (a paperback original) edition (4 Sept. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1848310285
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848310285
  • Product Dimensions: 13.4 x 2.4 x 21.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 199,232 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"For all the rollicking yarns, this is a tale of talent wasted, but in spite (or perhaps because) of that, it is far more honest - and funny - than the anodyne autobiographies of many more successful drivers." -- Independent on Sunday, Sept 08

"One of the most extraordinary sporting autobiographies you are likely to come across" -- Andrew Baker, Daily Telegraph, Sept 08

`...I challenge you to put it down. It might just be the greatest book you've never read.' -- Simon Arron, Daily Telegraph, Sept 08

`A riveting read.' -- Financial Times, Sept 08

`I'd be amazed if you didn't enjoy this book.' -- F1 Fanatic, Sept 08

Review

"One of the most extraordinary sporting autobiographies you are likely to come across"

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4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By A. T. Airey on 5 Sept. 2008
Format: Paperback
This is some journey!

Barely believable, 'Crashed and Byrned' somehow twists through the apposite worlds of grubby 1970's O'Connell street, the 1982 Las Vegas Grand Prix and a seedy mansion in drug addled Mexico. Why? Because Tommy Byrne was chasing his quest to make the motor racing world realise that he was the most naturally gifted racing driver of his generation (and that is no idle boast by the way). And what is more, this book does it in a kind of surreal innocence that would be quite at home in a Hunter S.Thompson yarn!

Tommy Byrne will generally only be known to racing people but his story is so unique that he and his adventures will be enjoyed by those who have never seen a motor race in their lives before. This story will surely become a classic alternative to the bland and colourless publications that modern sports stars often produce.

It wasn't so much that Tommy was anti establishment it was more like he created his own establishment and then whether it was his fault or not, trashed it in a bright haze of his own brilliance and confidence. This had an uncanny knack of rubbing people up the wrong way. Ron Dennis was one of these people, so was Ayrton Senna. Years before Eddie Irvine was getting a slap from the great Brazilian champion, another and more gifted urchin from the Emerald Isle was getting under Ayrton's skin! Put bluntly, if John Lydon and Phil Lynott had raised a bastard child that took up motor racing, then his name would have been Tommy Byrne.

The anecdotes are told in a fabulously honest and more often than not comic fashion. There is no self pity and no 'what ifs'. These are left to the reader, who by the end of it are likely to ask these questions quietly to themselves.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By AK TOP 500 REVIEWER on 13 Mar. 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book follows the life and racing career of Tommy Byrne, an Irish racing driver with plenty of raw driving talent but who due to his personality (it comes across as the primary issue) never truly makes it. From winning all the feeder championships in the first year of contesting them, he joins a third rate F1 team, where there was no perspective, he flies in tests for McLaren but fails the Ron Dennis test (in some ways much like Montoya and Alonso in that respect) and then goes through a slow motion train crash and byrne over the next 10 years or so, partly in Europe, partly in the US and Mexico.

The book seems to have been written during two periods, as there are two clearly definable styles in there. The early chapters, which describe his childhood and adolescence in Ireland, are written pretty much like an Irvine Welsh novel (If You Liked School, You'll Love Work for example), full of raw anger, associated bad spelling and language but somehow engaging and gripping. Part Two of the book, which then focuses more on the racing has either been written at a different time period or has been edited completely differently - the style is night and day. It is a bit more typical sports personality biography, in some way more polished (the language cleans up for sure) but no longer so gripping and engaging. The anger gives way to some sense of deep disappointment over the lack of respect the author is faced with most of the time in spite of the unmistakable pace he can deliver on track, often with not exactly stellar machinery and support.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By John Pitchers on 20 Jan. 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I find it difficult to rate this half biography, half autobiography.

I have a friend named Jackie who wrote and self-published a book about dogs. On the back cover the first commendation reads `"The best book I have ever read" - Jackies Mum'

Was Tommy Bryne as good as he constantly tells us he was ("the best driver in the world.")? Or was he even more obnoxious than he, equally constantly, reveals? Certainly the latter prevented him from proving the former one way or the other. The record book certainly suggests that Byrne's early Formula Ford and F3 results were exceptionally good, but his penchant for self-destruction again and again ruined any opportunity to move up to F1 where, he convinced himself, his deserved millions awaited him.

For most jobbing professional racing drivers Bryne's career would have been considered successful, but not for Tommy who was destined for bigger things - so he tells us. However, as one contributor says, he was never really dedicated enough (unlike the equally un-successful Perry McCarthy) preferring to wallow in being borne down by the massive chips on both shoulders about his upbringing "I never received the respect I deserved", "Nobody tells me what to do".

Anyone who knows that being a really top professional racing driver requires more than just being a good performer on the track, will realise that the apparently constantly foul-mouthed Bryne was his own worst enemy.

On the plus side, Tommy Byrne tells his story with self deprecating humour and the book is an amusing read - providing you can stand the constant stream of bad language. There are very few photos in this book, and none of Tommy's face - perhaps a psychoanalyst might read something revealing into this!
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