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Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know Paperback – 1 May 2008


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Frequently Bought Together

Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know + Cold: Extreme Adventures at the Lowest Temperatures on Earth + To the Ends of the Earth
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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks (1 May 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340951699
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340951699
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2.7 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (130 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 11,269 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'Rip-roaringly readable' (Guardian)

'Even readers with a broadly low tolerance for macho heroism will find themselves gripped . . . compelling' (Time Out)

'It's exhausting just reading about his exploits, so it is a perfect bedtime book. It's delightful to plump up one's duck-down pillows while vicariously enduring Fiennes's successive plunges into the deadly waters of the Artcic, and his festering crotch-rot.' (Helena Drysdale, New Statesman Books of the Year)

'It is lively and vivid, and often exciting as we anticipate each plunge into deadly Arctic waters. There are some wonderful throwaway lines . . . So, not an alien species after all but - as they say - a national treasure.' (Spectator)

enthralling (Independent)

Book Description

The extraordinary life story of the man described as 'the world's greatest living explorer' by the Guinness Book of Records


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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

62 of 66 people found the following review helpful By Ned Middleton HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on 23 Jun. 2009
Format: Paperback
Sir Ranulph Twisleton-Wykham-Fiennes was once described by his prospective father-in-law as "Mad, Bad & Dangerous to Know." He is also described by the Guinness Book of Records as "the world's greatest living explorer" and this is the major part of the story of his life. I say `part' because, since this book was published in 2008, Ran Fiennes (as he is known) finally conquered Everest - at the age of 65!, in early 2009.

Throughout the book there is one single overriding quality which stands out above all others; For all the accolades poured upon this man, few bother to mention the fact that he is an engaging writer with the gift of capturing the reader's attention. Whether he is white-water rafting or walking to the South Pole, he has the knack of including his readers as part of the team and takes them along for the ride. This is why this book is so hard to put down.

It is an honest account of the life of someone unable to sit still. From his earliest recollections and formative years we move on to his service as an officer with 22 SAS and being required to leave after some exuberant exploits with explosives (and a betrayal by the press!) from where he later re-emerges as a Trooper (private soldier) in one the SAS reserve squadrons. An illuminating account of his active service in Oman is followed by an even more exciting narrative in which, his team travelled along some of the most dangerous and uncharted rivers in the world from the Yukon to the USA as a celebration of British Columbia's centenary. He was also considered by Cubby Broccoli for the part of James Bond!

The next 16 chapters are filled with expeditions and explorations too numerous to mention here.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By P. Dodd on 14 Aug. 2009
Format: Paperback
I like to read biographies about people who have achieved something and have a good story to tell. Ranulph Fiennes definately fits into that category. I took this book to turkey for a holiday read. I read this book in 40 degree heat whilst reading about Fiennes' travels in minus 40 degree plus temperatures! The man is definately mad, has a cardiac arrest, then recovers and runs seven marathons in seven days! I am not a climber or an arctic adventurer by far, so i was a bit confused by some of the terminology. This aside a very enjoyable book about a modern day hero.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By BadgerMeister on 25 Jun. 2009
Format: Paperback
MB&DtK is a wonderful read. I had heard of Sir Ranulph Fiennes through various media coverage over a number of years, but my knowledge was generally quite patchy. This book describes his extraordinary life and exploits in breath-taking detail.

The guy is absolutely amazing; a real 'Boys Own Adventure' in the flesh. Not only do we learn about his astonishing Polar exploits and the horrendous hardships he endured, but the various other endeavours leave the reader equally gob-smacked.

The description of his mountain climbing exploits and his amazing 7 marathons, in 7 continents in 7 days simply beggar belief!

If Britain had more men like Sir Ranulph (in politics, in industry) we wouldn't be in the state we are today!

This is an astonishing life told in an immensely readable book.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Greatest Living Explorer in the world (Guinness Book of World Records).

Quintessential English hero, does the unthinkable with a nonchalance that beggars belief. By all rights he should have perished more times than I could count. To me there seems no surer way to die than to face the hostile elements he not only faced, but Raced in. Setting record after record, crossing hundreds of miles of territory where average temperatures will kill exposed limbs in 3 minutes flat. And this is done without support, two men pulling sleds, that's it - no planes, no supply dumps, no rescue.

Just weeks after a double heart bypass, Fiennes completed 7 marathons, on 7 continents, in 7 days. On completeing it he said "I wouldn't do it again. It was Mike Stroud's idea". He was nearly 60 at the time.

At 65 he climbed Mt Everest.

He has circumnavigated the world, via the North and South poles.
Walked to both poles, crossing Antarctica coast to coast, took a hovercraft up the Nile River. . . Well there are so many remarkable achievements, not least of which being raising £14 million for carity. Doctor, Knight and one of the top 100 living geniuses.

Ask him and he will steadfastly refuse to admit that he is anything special, just a guy looking to make ends meet. In his eyes he is just another travel writer. He will I think admit to a certain English eccentricity, that lovable madness behind most great occurrences in English history.

The humble, character filled personality that lurks behind an intelligent steady gaze comes through very clearly in his writing. It is a book that is remarkably frank, surprisingly candid and shares some of the deepest heartache any man can know. There is no fanfare, no self congratulations, no seeking of approval or recognition, just a quiet determination.

Read the book, get the measure of this Man of all men.
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By Spider Monkey HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 10 July 2010
Format: Paperback
Ranulph Fiennes has lead a most extraordinary and inspirational life and `Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know' is the autobiography that recounts it for us. He has participated in numerous endurance events and has achieved many world first explorations and to read of his tenacity and determination is at times awe inspiring. From his early days in the SAS, boating the Yukon, the worlds first global circumnavigation via the poles, a desert archaeology expedition, an Antarctic crossing, running 7 marathons in 7 days across 7 continents, his attempt at climbing Everest and finally his Eiger climb, this book offers up adventure and explorers spirit on every page. This is written in a clear and engaging style, although I did find it lacking in real emotion at times. It is a rich, description of his various exploits, but you never truly know how he feels about them. There are two sections of photos, but these aren't on the glossy paper typically used for these sections in books and they are in black and white. Never the less, they illustrate the various expeditions and events from his life well. All in all this is an interesting and inspirational book and if you enjoy adventure/survival books then this is well worth reading. Other polar books worth reading if this has piqued your interest are `Mawsons Will' (which is one of the best Polar books I have ever read) and the account of James Cracknell and Ben Fogles Antarctic race.

Feel free to check out my blog which can be found on my profile page.
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