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Fred: The Definitive Biography Of Fred Dibnah [Hardcover]

David Hall
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)

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Book Description

2 Sep 2006

Fred Dibnah's World celebrates the life and work of Britain's best known steeplejack and national treasure, Fred Dibnah. Before his death in 2004, Fred presented many popular series, including Magnificent Monuments, The Age of Steam and Made in Britain, all of which attracted viewers in their millions.

Fred is the companion to the 12-part BBC2 series celebrating the life of this great man, which combines highlights from some of Dibnah's classic programmes with previously unseen footage. The book can of course go much further than the series, including an extraordinarily account of Fred's childhood which evokes a lost England and our great industrial heritage. Fred's passion for the glories of the Victorian age and his fascination with the landscape he grew up in, plus his admiration for the craftsmen and labourers who made it all possible, captivate us on every page.

Fred is the personification of everything that made England great in the first place. And this is a glorious tribute to a man whom millions came to love.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam Press; First Edition, Ninth Printing edition (2 Sep 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0593056647
  • ISBN-13: 978-0593056646
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 15.8 x 3.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 628,473 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Book Description

The official biography of a national treasure.

From the Back Cover

Fred Dibnah won the hearts of millions of viewers with his television programmes about his life as a steeplejack, and his passion for the industrial history of Britain. With his trademark flat cap, enthusiasm and knowledge of the country's steam past, his gift for storytelling, and his cry of 'Did you like that?' as another giant chimney slid to earth behind him, he quickly became a genuine favourite with viewers.

This is an intimate portrait of Fred, from his childhood in Bolton, to his days as a steeplejack - the job he was to love above all others - and on to his successful television career. We discover all the different sides of Fred's personality - engineer, steeplejack, artist, craftsman, steam enthusiast, inventor, storyteller and eccentric. This definitive biography will delight Fred's many fans.

'Fred Dibnah, philosopher and steeplejack, has been representing the people for nearly 20 years'

Sunday Telegraph

'Dibnah, a true man of the can almost hear the echoes and smell the oil and smoke in this affectionate delve into his life'

Manchester Evening News

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The spirit of Fred in a book 9 Oct 2006
This well-written biography trully captures the spirit of Fred's life and I believe Fred would have liked it. This book includes some of his frustrations and many achievements. The only thing missing is smell of Fred's oil soaked cloth cap and a (couple) of pints of Guiness.
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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great reading!!! 30 Aug 2006
By S. Lee
Although it says published on 2nd Sept 2006 I managed to get a copy from my local Tesco.Well written and interesting all the way through I found the last chapters particularly poingnant and sensetively dealt with.Fred lead a varied and interesting life and if you love a good biography you will love this one!

Nice one Fred (and David)
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fred all over 29 Dec 2006
By bgr1965
I was given this book for Christmas as I've always been a Fred fan but never really a book lover. I started it Christmas Day and hardly put it down! It is compulsive reading.

It is written in Fred language which makes it easy to follow and the last few chapters tell you all the things that never showed up in the TV series. A good read and definitely worth buying.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not bad 18 April 2007
I enjoyed this biography very much but felt it was a little long and slightly repetitive. It also helps if you have some appreciation of steam engines and other mechanicals as it gets just a little technical from time to time. However, the author does bring out Fred's essential warmth and enthusiasm. All told it is certainly worth reading even if, unlike me, you don't come from Bolton.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Chuffing lovely 16 Jun 2008
By edzshed
It really is a nice read, the author, I feel, really brings Fred's character into the book, yes there are a few repetative bits, but it's all by the by really. What really comes accross is Fred's drive, passion and ambition not forgetting his sense of humour. I for one thoroughly enjoyed reading it and whole heartedly recommend it. Time for a pint.....
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The definitive Englishman 22 Feb 2011
This book ought to be on the national school curriculum: it shows
how to be at ease with oneslf and society without cow-towing to
all the nonsense and hypocrisy of the modern 'p.c.'world.
Quite simply Fred became a National Treasure and this volume is a celebration of that purely fortuitous achievement.

Martyn McGinty (Fairdeal Books).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read but lacking something... 17 Aug 2010
I didn't buy this book, I picked it up in a house I stayed in. It caught my attention as I liked Fred Dibnah although his constant "agreeing noises" whenever anyone else spoke were so irritating I could not watch much of him on TV.

This book covers all of Fred's public life from his earliest chimney fellings to his final demise. It discusses his highs and lows and his marriages and gives a real insight into Fred the man, rather than just the TV character. It makes a good read.

However for me the book lacked something and as I neared the end I realised what it was. The author seemed to have little understanding or interest in what interested Fred. David Hall seemed interested in Fred the man but was not interested and did not understand anything about the things that fascinated Fred. I suppose this is good and bad, good in the sense that the author did not get sidetracked into technicalities but bad in the sense that without much understanding how could he convey the enthusiasms that Fred had for steam, engineering and many practical things.

David Hall did a good job in keeping Fred on TV (and therefore entertaining millions and giving Fred an income) but, I feel, he and Fred could never have been kindred spirits.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good bloke, Good read 19 Jun 2013
Easy to read biography of a true backstreet Engineer (mechanic didn't cover it for me). As a mechanical Engineer I'd have liked a fifth of Freds knowledge and skills. I also went to Art college to get it out of my system (did wrong course like Fred!) so this book rang even truer with me. Ok not exactly the model husband, but to be fair you get what you see with Fred and his sheer love for his subject and enthusiasm is infectious.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars But now I have it on kindle I have read it Very good reading
I have had the book since it came out but have not been able to read it, But now I have it on kindle I have read it
Very good reading
Published 22 days ago by EARDLEY 1848
5.0 out of 5 stars fred dibnah biography
yet another truly fascinating read about the life and times of the late great fred dibnah M.B.E.a thoroughly recommended read.
Published 7 months ago by malcolm burndred
5.0 out of 5 stars Yes, I did like that!
Thoroughly enjoyed this book, albeit a little sad. They certainly don't make 'em like Fred any more (with the possible exception of Guy Martin!)
Published 8 months ago by Leeds Lad
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Suprised
Having purchased this book as a gift for my other half we took it on holiday. When he finished it he passed it on to me To read i must say it was a fantastic read could not put it... Read more
Published 15 months ago by janet walls
4.0 out of 5 stars A great story for those admiring craft skills.
Although I had seen very few of Fred's programmes on TV I was certain that his biography would be worth reading and I was not disappointed. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Tibblington
4.0 out of 5 stars Mostly Good but a Little Disappointed.
Generally a good insight into Fred’s life, but I feel some parts of the book are a bit repetitive and a bit confusing in places. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Bazzer2005
5.0 out of 5 stars enjoyable read
Had previousl;y read ''did you like that'' another life story which I enjoyed. This is longer is also very good and doesn't repeat too much from the other book
Published on 30 April 2012 by David Sanders
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect!
Bought this book for my Dad who like's watching Fred's series' on TV. He doesn't really read books as a rule, but he hasn't put this down!! Read more
Published on 19 July 2010 by Poddlemus
5.0 out of 5 stars WOW!
Bought this book for my husband as a stocking filler.
Since he started reading it, he keeps filling me in with Freds details. He is loving every page. Read more
Published on 25 Jan 2010 by Mrs. V. A. Howard
5.0 out of 5 stars fred the definative biography of fred dibnah
I think this is the best book in the dibnah series it covers the best points of all the others publications and goes into enough detail of freds life to make it interresting for... Read more
Published on 9 Jan 2010 by C. F. Jones
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