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. All books have mistakes, but this is on a different scale altogether: I'm averaging an obviously inaccurate statement every few pages.
Ignore all descriptions of racing or technology in the book. They're wrong. All of them. As an illustrative example only, Bower seems to think the 1978 Brabham fan car was some kind of hovercraft. And the (untrue) story that Lauda had no idea how that car worked but was just told to "Push the accelerator down when you see the others in trouble" is priceless. Kinda like Wacky Races. The two pages (94 & 95) describing the fan car may be the most error-strewn in the book. I counted nine flatly incorrect statements, plus another four that are just misleading or only technically inaccurate.
In a way, this shouldn't be a problem. The book is mainly trying to tell the story of how Ecclestone rose to his current position and wealth, not give a history of Formula One, but the number and scale of some of the errors will make the book very hard to read for anyone familiar with Formula One. For those not especially interested in F1 itself, the inaccuracies are still a problem because Bower uses the framework of racing events to build his narrative and when dates are out by years, or individuals are accused of actions that they cannot possibly have taken, it undermines his case.
On top of this, the writing is poor. It rambles and has more than its fair share of grammatical errors. Bower seems completely blind to the subject of a sentence, for example. There are brief passages that are all but incomprehensible because of this. I suppose you could best describe the writing style as Jeffrey Archer: it more or less gets the job done, but you might want to wash your eyeballs afterwards.
Frankly, the book is hack-work. If you want to learn about Bernie, buy Watkins' and/or Lovell's biographies. In broad terms, they tell the same story, but despite having their own faults, both are better researched and written than this one. 'Bernie' is probably a better account of Ecclestone the man, but carries an obvious (and declared) bias as Watkins is a friend; 'King of Sport' is generally anti- rather than pro- Ecclestone and gives a lot of apparently well-researched material on his financial dealings, but can get a bit bogged down in the details.