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Full of Myself Hardcover – 1 Oct 2011

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 298 pages
  • Publisher: Johnny Dawes Books; 1st edition (1 Oct. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0957030800
  • ISBN-13: 978-0957030800
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 2.4 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 283,291 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"It's brilliant - frank, funny, telling his full life story and not just the climbing. And the climbing accounts are riveting as well. A great read from cover to cover." (Sir Chris Bonington) "An insight into the mind of one of the greatest and most daring rock climbers of the 20th century - sometimes very funny, sometimes very scary." (Joe Brown, MBE) "I don't climb, I ride bikes, but this book got me by the balls!!!" (Steve Peat, World Downhill Mountainbike Champion.) "Johnny always seemed some kind of freak from the very first picture of him I ever saw. I could see positive freakiness that made him go out of the ordinary, to climb with ease things that must be admired and that should inspire many to come." (Adam Ondra) "Like a Terry Pratchett novel it gives an insight into the many dimensions of Johnny's life which left me in stitches." (James McHaffie) "I've been fortunate to climb with some of the best climbers of the last 30 years, Fawcett, Moon, Moffat, McClure, but only when climbing with Johnny have I been baffled and bemused. To watch him climb in his prime was something special, so special that some dismissed it as an oddity, don't be fooled, the term great is rarely bestowed on anyone in climbing but Johnny is one of the greats." (Zippy)"

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Martian on 3 Dec. 2011
Format: Hardcover
If you've got any interest in British rock climbing (or climbing full stop), then you know -- or should know -- who Johnny Dawes is.

Dawes (The Dawes, the Stone Monkey, the Cosmic Rascal ...) is one of the great climbers of the 20th century. In the 80s, he pushed the grades with routes like Gaia, Indian Face, Braille Trail and the Quarryman that were not only harder than anything anyone else was climbing, they were bolder, stranger, more visionary. While his peers were getting into sport climbing, regimented training and athleticism, Dawes seemed to be imagining new ways of moving on rock, finding ways to stand on nothingness or use dynamism to flow through a series of inadequate holds.

It's no surprise that this is anything but a standard climbing autobiography, and it shouldn't be: instead, it feels like a download direct from Johnny's brain, raw and unfiltered, a glimpse into what it feels like to have the kind of mind that could envision those routes. It skips over what a ghostwriter would have added, the bland and factual over-elaboration of who and what and where, in favour of wonky lyricism and move-by-move descriptions of climbs, the textures and subtleties of holds and moves recalled in microscopic and impassioned detail. More than any other book I've read, it communicates the way in which climbing can transcend "sport" to become a deep engagement of the heart and the world.

Oh, and there's a very important existential encounter with a bee.

Baffling, brilliant, heart-breaking, slyly hilarious when you least expect it; it will make you believe that if you could understand all of it, you could climb a good five grades harder. Essential reading.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By D. Elliott TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 30 Dec. 2011
Format: Hardcover
Johnny Dawes commenced climbing as a schoolboy on various structures in addition to rock, and in the 1980s he transformed climbing techniques with introduction of the dyno using momentum to convert unusable features into holds, and he raised standards to E8 and E9. Revolutionary performances on gritstone and in North Wales culminated at age 22 years in his mesmerizing ascent of Indian Face on Cloggy. Together with accounts of climbs and the climbing scene on grit, Welsh slate, Gogarth, Strone Ulladale, abroad etc. the outlandish build up to this seismic event, including his obsessional attention to controlled falling, is quirkily told in `Full of Myself'. With honesty and self-deprecation his approach is wacky, humorous and original, but behind this imaginative, multi-dimensional rock-climbing genius is a deep thinker whose choice of subjects is an eclectic mixture stirred by a style of writing embracing both move by move portrayals and throwaway quips. In addition to climbing stories there is brief mention of his filming activities which endorse him as having an artistic inclination, and this is readily appreciated via his self-published book with its neat binding, attractive endpapers and dust wrapper as well as delightful illustrations and stunning photographs. Though somewhat disjointed there are also tales of political stunts, American escapades, motor racing, personal considerations etc.

Like a Dickens `Great Expectations' character described as "different and extraordinary" the idiosyncratic `Full of Myself' confirms Johnny Dawes as unique and incredible.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jim T on 6 Mar. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I loved this book from cover to cover. As a climber, having read many 'climbing' books, it's refreshing change to read a full and open expose of a very talented, unique man who many climbers desrvedly call a hero. Obviously the outstanding feats, pioneering first ascents, accounts of death defying occurences form a huge part of the narrative, but for me the life, history and events leading up to those during the golden age are the real beauty in the book. It's very easy to pint the 'overprivileged' finger at a person who grew up in a wealthy environment and what was in some ways a wonderful period of growing up through childhood, yet here we see the reality of public school for a sensitive, 'different' soul spending weeks away from the comforts of home and having the spine to find a release and a challenge, and to continue to forge a path to define his own sense of self without succumbing to the 'norm' of greed and privilege. The world may be a nicer place if some our 'senior figures' in politics et al had followed a similar path.
There's some raw emotion laid bare here, humility and humour, and again it's refreshing to see a hero figure climb down from a pedestal built around him and lay it all out. I suspect even now many headpointers and young aspirants stand in awe of Johnny, and the wish to repeat routes and emulate similar feats of first ascensionism may not have the same meaning and drive that we see in the book. Is it really arrogant to admit to being arrogant (and to my mind in climbing there are few with similar bragging rights) yet admit to seeking therapy for one's emotional hurdles in not so many chapters? That's strength of character and conviction to actually do it. Admittedly not everyone would have the luxury of spare time and resources with which to seek it out in LA etc.
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