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61 of 65 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great personal story from a great man with a great name.
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...
Published on 23 Jun 2009 by Ned Middleton

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Too many near misses to feel any empathy
I was really looking forward to reading this book, as I held Ranulph Fiennes in such high regard & I still do. I started of being raptured by his adventures & near death experiances, but then quickly grew tiered of yet another near death escapade. I'm sure it's not a reflection on the man, but it was not the book I was hoping for. I guess I was hoping to find what drives...
Published on 16 Jan 2012 by JohnJenner


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61 of 65 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great personal story from a great man with a great name., 23 Jun 2009
By 
Ned Middleton (British professional underwater photo-journalist & author) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
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. They include his circumnavigating the globe via both Poles, his use of an old hacksaw to saw off the ends of two fingers lost to frostbite and so many other achievements and hardships it is difficult to believe they were all undertaken by one man. Liberally filled with anecdotal accounts - such as the briefest explanation of the Royal Scots Greys, this book answers questions I had not yet asked.

Throughout it all, however, there comes across an image of the man himself and of his love for his family. In an excellently crafted autobiography, we meet Ginny, his childhood sweetheart and later the wife he almost never won. We continuously learn of her active involvement and support in his many exploits until we finally discover her own unsuccessful fight against cancer. Her passing is recorded with such simple honesty that no reader will fail to feel her loss as though she were one of their own family. The darkness which followed is such that we find great relief in seeing this fine person eventually able to continue his life as before. Completing seven marathons in seven days on seven continents, he just persists in exciting and astounding those who observe. By the time he finds a new love and a new family, we have become so close to this "central character" that we find ourselves experiencing relief and wishing him well.

On finishing this, quite amazing, story, I was left with the clear impression that somehow this was only the beginning and that more was to come. Already, he has finally conquered Everest but I doubt that even that magnificent feat will be the finale to this man's performance in the role of living his own life. Of one thing, however, I can be certain; Nobody will record his feats better than the man himself and I eagerly await part two of this incredible journey. This book cannot disappoint any reader.

NM
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars paul d, 14 Aug 2009
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P. Dodd - See all my reviews
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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
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Read!, 25 Jun 2009
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good British inspiration, 5 May 2013
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A formidable character who constantly challenges himself and never gives in.

Well written, I've read it 4 times now and know it wont be the last!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars what an extraordinary life Mr Fiennes has led, 19 Dec 2013
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An inspirational autobiography from one of the greatest living explorers, to read about his many accomplishments was very enjoyable. Fantastically written.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Understanding Ranulph Fiennes, 27 Nov 2013
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What unique, inspirational human being, through his autobiography we start to get a glimpse of the man and his life
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great book., 14 Nov 2013
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this man has had an amazing life and the stuff he has done is ace. i did not know alot about him before i read it but the title give you an idea and i loved it
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars so much adventure, 4 Nov 2013
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Great adventure book - made me want to go exploring! Constantly in awe of his ability to push himself ever further. Definitely mad! I love the 'why can't I?' approach to life!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 18 Oct 2013
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I couldn't put this book down. I have a couple of his and you feel like you are with him.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars value for money for great book, 11 Sep 2013
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bought as a present as this book in shops is still quite pricey, good story and easy to read, interesting,
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Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know
Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know by Ranulph Fiennes (Hardcover - 20 Sep 2007)
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