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No Angel: The Secret Life of Bernie Ecclestone Hardcover – 24 Feb 2011


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber (24 Feb. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 057126929X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571269297
  • Product Dimensions: 16.1 x 3.7 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 230,510 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'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

No Angel: The Secret Life of Bernie Ecclestone is Tom Bower's bestselling biography of the international Formula One tycoon.

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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Gongoozler on 13 Mar. 2011
Format: Hardcover
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 By AP on 10 Mar. 2011
Format: Hardcover
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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47 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 23 Mar. 2011
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Peter on 11 May 2011
Format: Hardcover
Bernie Ecclestone would surely be a very tough subject for any biographer, such is his apparent way of doing business. He plays his cards very close and seems prone to statements which, while appearing correct in fact, are less than the whole story in context or substance. Bower possibly relied excessively on explanations from Bernie regarding certain technicalities, events and the timing of events in the past and, as noted by other reviewers, this has resulted in not a few errors appearing from time to time. Having been a very close follower of motorsport for many years, while seeing these errors is slightly irritating at worst, I don't feel that any or all of them had the effect of detracting from the complex core subject at all i.e. Bernie, his 'ownership' of F1 and how he built his apparent one-man empire in a sea of greedy, highly political and disloyal sharks.

The book built a picture of Ecclestone's character in a consistent context and provided a far more in-depth understanding than I had before reading it of who he is, how he operates, how he built his power and influence in F1, and how he has been able to sustain it in the face of ever-changing threats over the years. Bower very cleverly drew on lots of input from friends, allies and adversaries of Ecclestone and this made the journey through the book much more 'alive' than I expected it to be. It was at all times captivating, sometimes very amusing (not least in reading about the behaviours of some very image-conscious and self-important players in F1,) at times nauseating, cringeworthy and even sad and - by the end - I felt that I had read a story of admirable substance.

Were it not for the factual errors, I would easily have given it 5 stars. It definitely deserves a solid 4.9 at least - the most substantial of the two Ecclestone biographies I have read ... by far. Highly recommended.
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