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James Hunt: The Biography [Paperback]

Gerald Donaldson
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)

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Book Description

6 Feb 2003


His story is an epic tale of a short but turbulent life lived to the limit. Triumphing against all odds to become World Drivers' Champion with McLaren in 1976, Hunt sank into a period of decadence and depression ... only to be rejuventated as he found true love for the first time. With that came personal contentment and a renewed zest for living, so that one of the most colourful and controversial figures in Grand Prix racing is best remembered by those close to him as a fun-loving, caring man who had a genuinely uplifting presence - qualities that shine through in Gerald Donaldson's compelling and moving account of his life.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 392 pages
  • Publisher: Virgin Books; New edition edition (6 Feb 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0753507358
  • ISBN-13: 978-0753507353
  • Product Dimensions: 19.3 x 13.5 x 3.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,021,698 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'The best biography of a racing driver I've ever read.' Classic Cars; 'Donaldson, in his thoughtful and intimate work, has delved behind the headlines and superbly fleshed out the character behind the caricatures of James Hunt.' Dally Telegraph; 'Covers James Hunt's life with skilful devotion.' Mail on Sunday; 'Donaldson has written a very fine book.' Independent

Book Description

AN EPIC TALE OF A SHORT LIFE LIVED TO THE LIMIT --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars James' long Hunt for happiness 9 Aug 2004
Since James Hunts' sudden and untimely death in June 1993 I held certain beliefs and opinions of him, his career and his relationships.
The author of the book, Gerald Donaldson, dispelled some of these opinions through his excellent work.
James will always be a personal hero for me, it was he and the Hesketh team who attracted me to F1 (in the exiting days), his talent was not lost in the commentary box with Murray Walker - he will never be replaced.
How can a man adored by so many live for so long without true love?
When he finally found a true love in Helen Dyson, he was taken from her and us.
Thankyou Gerald Donaldson for this work - truely an excellent and evoking read.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hunt, Reviewed 1 April 2003
By A Customer
A thoroughly well-written account of the life and times of a man who brought pop-star fame to a sport previously seen as the domain of stoic gentlemen. The book goes into exceptional detail when looking back over James Hunt's career as a public-school eduacted loner who found himself the subject of mass adulation. The racing side of Hunt's colourful life is superbly dealt with, but I felt that some of the juicier details of the extra-curricular activities that also made Hunt such an interesting character are just alluded in a way that suggests that the author feels embarrassed, or that they could tarnish the image of the subject. To me, these extra stories would further enhance the reputation of a man who was a great racer, but above all one hell of a great lad!
This minor criticism however, should not dissuade any fan of Formula 1 from reading more about a fantastic character who lived through a time when racing was racing and drivers could be cavaliers on the track and off it.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Having also read the author's excellent biography of Gilles Villeneuve I was eager to get my hands on this book. Once again, I was not disappointed.
Donaldson attempts to explore all sides of Hunt's character through the different stages of his development, and succeeds in producing a well-written account of the legend's life. He achieves a good balance between the kind of factual reporting of the driver's career which is available elsewhere, and a probing insight into the complex nature of the man. It is the latter which will probably appeal more to most readers, and the author does a decent job of bringing together the many diverse recollections of those who were close to the subject.
If I have one criticism it is levelled at the publishers, who have left this edition littered with too many small and annoying printing errors. Don't let this put you off though: this book will appeal to anyone who enjoys a colourful story.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars James Hunt awsome bibliography 12 Feb 2008
The author describes the life of a man,hated by some , but imortalised by his friends ,and by people who knew him by his achievements as a professional racing driver , and as careful human being devoted to his sons and dogs !
Well writen , intense and detailed description of his life ,in two words , an outstanding book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A pleasure to read 25 Sep 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have never been a very big Grand Prix fan but as a child of the 70s, James Hunt (and of course Barry Sheene) was a playboy icon and seemed, certainly to me as a young lad, to be the epitome of glamour ,with a life full of speed, Martini cocktails, girls, danger and controversy.
So,reading the story of James Hunt after all these years was something of a revelation. There was glamour, there were girls , there were thrills and spills but also downs, and very severe downs they were too. Hunt was, as is usually the case,a far more of a complex personality than the public persona suggested and the author explores his character in a sensitive but honest and open fashion.
I found this book to be an enthralling,enlightening, exciting and fascinating read. The thrill and glamour of the races, the determination of the drivers (not just James), the intrigue between F1 racing teams (notably it seems, Ferrari), and of course the ladies, contrasts with the sadness of marriage breakdown, the on set of depression and a sense of loss and isolation but then positivity and redemption through his children.
I came away with not only a new found respect for James Hunt as a driver and as a person but also for F1 drivers in general. A book that's a must for any sports fan,or for those who still wish they could have been just (or even a little bit) like, Hunt the Shunt.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A thorough and addictive autobigraphy 19 Jan 2004
If you want to know the full truth about the life and times of James Hunt, this is the book to purchase. It goes into tremendous detail about all aspects of his life, without fear or favour. Well-written and comprehensive.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic read! 3 Nov 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I don't have much interest in F1 but having seen a documentary about James and Niki, then seeing Rush, I felt compelled to find out more about this intriguing character. I really enjoyed the book and was moved to tears at the end. I would definitely recommend it and would say don't worry if you're not in to the sport, it doesn't matter!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Real Racer 21 Mar 2013
By G
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
When racing drivers where real racers with no assistance from technology. A guy with such charisma and who lived the life and who did what many people are afraid to do and speak your mind.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Great read so far
Great read so far. I only started reading the book the other day. I have to say that James Hunt was one of the kind and what a lad. Read more
Published 27 days ago by ACE
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great book.....we need more characters in sport like James Hunt instead of the sponsor fed automatons we now have
Published 1 month ago by Mr. H. Seddon
5.0 out of 5 stars a great
A man off my youth,a great read
Published 2 months ago by John A. Merritt
5.0 out of 5 stars Well written biography. It captures the danger and drama ...
Well written biography. It captures the danger and drama of the era, as well as James Hunt's humour and obvious charisma. X
Published 2 months ago by Lena
4.0 out of 5 stars Well written and interesting- taught me a lot.
Well written and interesting- taught me a lot.
Published 3 months ago by Keith585
5.0 out of 5 stars What was this guy on! The book is extremely ...
What was this guy on! The book is extremely well written and is interesting. Every paragraph about his life off track is action packed. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Annie
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
A true insight in to the life of a f1 legend, a must read for any f1 or James hunt fan.
Published 3 months ago by rob
5.0 out of 5 stars A classy write!
Read this if you want to know all the tiny details associated with James' early life and initiation into motor racing! Read more
Published 4 months ago by penelope pitstop
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding
A fantastic read by Gerald. You certainly get to know about the real person who James Hunt was. I seriously cant recommend this book highly enough to any fan of F1 old or new!
Published 6 months ago by Al_Mc72
5.0 out of 5 stars What a rush
I bought this biography after seeing the film Rush about the 1976 world championship but I wanted to know more about the character of James Hunt. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
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