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No Angel: The Secret Life of Bernie Ecclestone [Hardcover]

Tom Bower
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
RRP: 18.99
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Book Description

21 Feb 2011

Private, mysterious and some say sinister, 79 year-old Bernie Ecclestone criss-crosses the globe in his private jet mixing with celebrities, statesmen and sporting heroes. Ecclestone's success has not just been to create a multi-billion pound global business but to resist repeated attempts to snatch the glittering prize from his control.

Ecclestone has never before revealed how he graduated from selling second-hand cars in London's notorious Warren Street to become the major player he is today. He has finally decided to reveal his secrets: the deals, the marriages, the disasters and the successes on race tracks, in Downing Street, in casinos, on yachts and in the air. Surprisingly, he is telling his life's story to Tom Bower, described by Ecclestone as 'The Undertaker' - the man who buries reputations - and has given him access to all his friends and enemies. All have been told by Ecclestone, 'Tell him the truth, good or bad.'

The result is a unique story of a simple, driven man who unlike shady tycoons offers an intriguing insight into the sport, business and, above all, the human spirit.

'I'll accept your facilities,' Bower told Ecclestone, 'but if I find evidence of wrongdoing or hear any criticism, it will all be published.' After a brief moment, Ecclestone replied, 'Tom, I'm no angel.'

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No Angel: The Secret Life of Bernie Ecclestone + An Independent Man: The Autobiography
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber (21 Feb 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 057126929X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571269297
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 24.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 151,544 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


'In Tom Bower, Ecclestone has found the ideal biographer. This magnificent book, based on characteristically intensive research, can only add to Bower's already formidable reputation ...' --Sunday Telegraph

'A marvellous book, with a great story to tell, and many wonderful smaller stories as well.' --Daily Mail

'A vastly insightful work that peels away the layers guarding this most unusually protected and inscrutable of men ... For once, though, with this riveting biography, Ecclestone's levers have deserted him. Underneath his skin, away from the negotiating table, he is exposed as human after all.' --Evening Standard

Book Description

A riveting account of the remorseless rise of Bernie Ecclestone, the international Formula One tycoon.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Riveting, but flawed. 13 Mar 2011
No Angel is a riveting read and goes a long way toward unravelling the complex network of companies and trusts that, over the years, have established control of the immensely profitable business of Formula One.
It does not, however, reveal anything that was not already known or suspected although it certainly underlines the power that Ecclestone continues to wield, as well as his obsessively secretive and manipulative nature and the fact that that he seems able to operate highly successfully in international financial circles using exactly the same crude techniques that he learnt as a second-hand car dealer in Warren Street in the 1950s.
I wish that the publisher had employed an editor with some basic knowledge of motor racing parlance. The book will, presumably, be read mainly by those with an interest in F1 and many of the expressions used, whilst not actually wrong, are not ones that would be used by those with even a passing knowledge of the sport. There are also several glaring factual errors which any competent editor or proof-reader should have picked up.
Worth reading if you have an interest in Formula One but probably a little boring for those who don't.
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80 of 86 people found the following review helpful
I was really looking forward to this book, but sadly its sloppy approach to fact checking left me disappointed and feeling I couldn't trust what I was reading.

In the notes section, author Tom Bower says he had Ecclestone's cooperation and spend a lot of time with the F1 boss.

He says that led to many of those close to Ecclestone also granting interviews.

In the weeks before it was published Ecclestone withdrew is support, saying that Bower had broken the terms of their arrangement by writing about his stormy relationship with ex-wife Slavica.

This spat essentially made the book unauthorised which made me want to read it even more.

Bower does a competent enough job of telling the story of Ecclestone's early life as used car dealer who goes on to build up one of the most lucrative sports in the world.

It's when we get into the 80s/90s/00s that the really juicy tales start to emerge.

Sadly this book is seriously let down by its numerous mistakes.

There are plenty of typos.

Time after time prominent figures in Formula One have their names mis-spelt. (Theussen instead of Thiessen, Permayne instead of Permane. The list goes on...)

But the worst problem is the lack of factual accuracy. There are dozens of real howlers that would jump off the page to most serious F1 followers.

For instance, several times he talks about the Toyota F1 team having never reached the podium. Untrue. He gets the date of Senna's infamous deliberate collision with Prost at Suzuka wrong by two years. He writes about the first Grand Prix in Melbourne being in 1995 (it was a year later).
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46 of 50 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Look, Ecclestone doesn't make it easy for biographers. He's spent years encouraging various legends about his past to circulate, effectively setting traps for later writers. He tried to buy Terry Lovell's 2004 biography 'Bernie's Game', and certainly got his fingers into its contents. He put Susan Watkins biography 'Bernie' on hold for five years or so before finally allowing it to be released just in time to steal 'No Angel's thunder. Even so, surely Bower could have done a better job than this?

Yes, this rapidly knocked together book is a broadly accurate picture of Ecclestone's life. And that's not really surprising, because despite what the book's cover would have you believe, pretty much everything here has been covered before in the three previous biographies, two team histories of Brabham, various other books on Formula One and many magazine and newspaper articles. Bower's strongest influence is Terry Lovell's 2008 King of Sport (extensively cited in the notes section), and his book follows pretty much the same story from Ecclestone's birth in 1930 through to the present day. Bower had access to slightly different selection of interviewees, but this has added little to earlier accounts.

The biggest problem for me was Bower has no feel whatsoever for motor racing, and plainly didn't go to the trouble of employing a researcher or proofreader who did. If you know the sport, you'll read some sections of the book with a furrowed brow as you try and translate Bower's idiosyncratic terminology. Then there are the widely-reported errors. The book is littered with motorsport howlers: Reutemann as world champion, Brabham winning three championships with his own team, etc etc.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars So secret, I made it up !!!, 17 Mar 2011
By Spudgun
This book is a shocker !! I suspect Mr Bower doesn't have the faintest idea what actually happens in F1. This book has so many factual errors it becomes quite amusing to keep score. Events happen before things were even made, people who weren't even at certain races influenced the outcome, drivers that we didn't realise were world champions (Carlos Reutemann), overall a complete waste of paper. Probably the worst aspect of this book, is that there is a fascinating story to be told, but his isn't it. Save your money, if you have something better to do that just throw it away, buy the "Bernie" book, it's more factual, not the whole story sadly, but at least what is says is generally correct.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
My hubby loved this
Published 25 days ago by Lorraine Worsley
5.0 out of 5 stars Any F1 Fans this is a MUST read
This is a great book for anyone who like me is an anorak over F1.
It gives a full history on Bernie, how he started up and his wheeling and dealing that led him to the... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Tony Bendall
3.0 out of 5 stars A good read but not Tom Bowers usual standard
This book is not giving the total picture or is as confrontational as his book on Branson. It is still a good read especially on holiday were were I light a light read.
Published 4 months ago by GEORGE STANLEY MEGAHEY
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent !
Lifts the lid as far as Ecclestone would allow,we'll see what happens in April when it gets to court.Watch this space!!
Published 5 months ago by Brian Bull
2.0 out of 5 stars No Angel
This was a gift for a friend. He thought it was a hard back book. Perhaps he explained it wrong to me.
Published 7 months ago by Gerry Webb
2.0 out of 5 stars Virtually an authorised biography
Love him or hate him it should be impossible for anyone to write a boring biography about rags to riches, megadealer, 'Bernie ' and I suppose in some ways the author has written a... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Healeyguy
3.0 out of 5 stars More or less what you would expect.
If you are a formula one fanatic you'll find this book fascinating. For the rest of us it's a good professional job by a writer who has done his homework. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Westham
3.0 out of 5 stars Confusing
I'm really unsure about this book, it doesn't flow well at all. I feel it jumps about all over the place. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Greig_D
3.0 out of 5 stars stranger than fiction
This book is reasonable but has many errors. more so on the technical side of F1.Some of the paragraphs are strange as you arexpecting a conclusion and it will veer off in a 90... Read more
Published 8 months ago by AluCard IV
5.0 out of 5 stars A present
My son is an enthusiast > It is difficult to buy presents for him but no complaints. He is an avid watcher of all the GP of 2013.
Published 9 months ago by trainman
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