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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Golden Era of F1
This book is an absolutely classic insight into the rivalry that existed between Alain Prost and Aryton Senna. Two completely different styles but both magnificent drivers. This book is a read page turner for F1 fans as I realised, when i finished the book in 5 days.The 80's was truly a great decade for Formula 1 despite the fatal crashes.Well done Foley...A Fantastic...
Published on 7 Jan 2011 by Michael J Mc Carthy

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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't bring any new insights
As someone who has been a Formula One fan for many years and has read many books on Senna and Prost, I was dissapointed with this book. It is basically an account of both Senna and Prost's careers and this has been covered in countless other books in greater detail. I found myself skipping over the race accounts and old interviews which I have read previously, in order to...
Published on 22 May 2009 by smcdermot


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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't bring any new insights, 22 May 2009
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This review is from: Senna Versus Prost (Hardcover)
As someone who has been a Formula One fan for many years and has read many books on Senna and Prost, I was dissapointed with this book. It is basically an account of both Senna and Prost's careers and this has been covered in countless other books in greater detail. I found myself skipping over the race accounts and old interviews which I have read previously, in order to find the 'new' material. The 'new' material is a recent, and fairly underwhelming, interview with Prost which does not add any great insight into the relationship he had with Senna. This may be an interesting read for someone new to the topic but for those who have read other books on Senna and Prost this adds nothing new.
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32 of 42 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Generally well written, but nowhere close to impartial, 6 Aug 2010
By 
P. Hannam (Pennsylvania, USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Senna Versus Prost (Hardcover)
The impression it leaves me is that Folley was so delighted and gratified to be given a nice lunch and a fairly in depth interview by Prost in his Paris apartment in 2008 that his efforts to remain impartial thereafter collapsed into a morass of subtle and not so subtle slips that reaffirmed the narrative of Prost as the ultimate gentleman and Senna as the fragile and ruthless newbie who came and stole it all away. As such, the Folley narrative ranges from fair and balanced, to being rantingly anti-Senna. To the extent that Senna's story is told, or his point of view heard in retrospect, it is through the words of the others of the time: Warwick, Brundle, Berger, Walker, Jardine, Leberer et al, who Folley has at least taken the trouble to interview and quote. (Brundle is impressively self-effacing and candid about his standing against Senna...no agenda there. Warwick is also remarkably gracious, as he has been over the years about Senna, who he retains an immense respect for). Meanwhile, Folley's faithful repetition, without the slightest irony, of Prost's claim about Suzuka in '89: "I had no interest to make a crash", is a case in point. This is as disingenuous a statement as we have heard from Alain, up there with his equally laughable claim that he never blocked Senna from the Williams team for 1993 (we all know he did, and Senna called his bluff with his 'I'll drive for free' offer to Williams, to make the point). But the narrative treats it without the slightest scepticism, having described the Suzuka collision simply as "a brash manoeuvre" on Senna's part, which "hopelessly misjudged Prost's mood". Never mind that Prost's block is regarded quite widely in the F1 pitlane as the template professional foul, as premeditated as they come, and that attempting to pass someone going more slowly than you is usually regarded as one of the primary imperatives of motor racing. Instead, Alain's 'mood' is what counts. Needless to say, there are valid criticisms to be made of Senna's career and conduct. What is lost in this book is the notion that Prost had a ruthless and underhand streak, too, and was something other than a serial victim.

A good example of what I mean when I say Folley's narrative varies from level headed to openly ranting against Senna, comes at the conclusion of a passage quoting Senna about the notorious incident at Imola in `89, where Prost accused Senna of reneging on an agreement to not attack each other at the first turn after the race start. Here, Folley quotes Senna:

"On the second start, after Berger's accident, he got off to a better start than me. But I got in his slipstream and accelerated quickly. I was going faster than him. I then started the manoeuvre to overtake him. Not at the first corner, before that. It was when we were braking that we were not to attack each other. We had a momentary confrontation, and then I drove clear. He made a mistake and skidded off the track. He had made a driving mistake, but he was trying to make me take the blame. The original idea was simple: no overtaking as we braked on the first bend. After the race, I had a clear conscience. I didn't think that the whole thing would take on such proportions".

So far, so good. Folley is quoting Senna's point of view, and we have already heard Prost's point of view, at great length over several pages. But here's how Folley goes on, and, to be clear, this is our author talking, not Alain Prost:

Folley: Perhaps that had something to do with the fact that he had not been in the race when Pironi, blatantly, and inexcusably, betrayed the promise he had shared with Villeneuve. Perhaps that had something to do with the fact that Prost had lived with that haunting memory for seven years and knew it would never leave him. What was it Prost said? "Gilles was angry with Pironi and Ferrari, absolutely furious. Later I would fully understand these feelings because I had this with Ayrton. At the next race, Gilles went too far in the car in practice. He killed himself because of that dispute with Didier." Do you really believe that drivers would enter a pact that involved no overtaking before a braking area rather than a more specific location, such as the first corner?

So here we have Folley pouring scorn on Senna's account and using the passive aggressive, if not openly sarcastic "perhaps that had something to do with..." language to frame the narrative in terms of Prost's feelings about it. All that's missing is the jabbing of the author's finger at Senna's chest (Folley even addresses the reader in the first person, as if we're incredibly dumb to have even entertained Senna's side of the story all these years). Not for the first time, we hear that Senna should somehow have been cognisant that his rival's buried feelings over an accident 7 years earlier, before Senna even entered F1, would be triggered, along with the displaced fury that went with them. It's an interesting idea, that F1 drivers should be aware of all the experiences and traumas their rivals have been through, take account of them and act accordingly. This is not to say that there is no argument that Senna did wrong, though I find it tenuous at best to invoke the events of 1982 as the primary determinant of the rights and wrongs of a passing move in 1989, but the whole passage from Folley reads to me like an outburst, more like something you'd read from a partisan poster on an internet forum than something you'd read in book, written by a professional author, billing itself as an impartial account of a rivalry. Senna could be fully in the wrong on this and the point would still stand. This is not balanced writing, it is a framed narrative from someone who either began the exercise as a firm fan of Alain Prost, or became one through his interviews with the man.

The Villeneuve/ Pironi narrative (not only their clash at Imola and Villeneuve's death, but also Prost's involvement in Pironi's crash at Hockenheim), which legitimately altered Prost's outlook on risk, runs like a thread through the book. This is interesting, but it's woven through the story in such a way that it's clear Folley thinks it is directly relevant to Senna's own penchant for risk. It would have been better to note the point and move on, rather than keep bringing it up every time Senna is seen to challenge Prost on the circuit. And Pironi's crash always was a feeble excuse for Prost's dire performance at Silverstone in '88, but trotted out here nonetheless.

More pro-Prost sympathies are in evidence when we hear, to take one example, that he had niggling clutch problems at the WDC decider in the wet in Suzuka in '88. A detail worth noting? Well, sure, even if it's the first I've heard of it in the intervening 22 years. But driving around minor mechanical issues was par for the course at the time and where is the mention of, say, Senna's pop-off valve malfunctioning in Mexico earlier the same year, and limiting his boost (a race which the book just blandly notes was won easily by Alain, with, quote: "a flawless drive")? If one is worth a mention, then so is the other, but the race accounts are generally bereft of such detail and it creates a false impression.

The cover was designed by an idiot: a picture of Prost & Mansell? on the front, and Derek Warrick (sic) is mis-spelled on the rear cover. There are factual gaffes: for example stating that Watson never drove an F1 car again after 1983. Actually he drove the McLaren in '85 after Lauda hurt his wrist, and made comments about how he knew his career was over when he witnessed Senna at Dingle Dell on a qualifying lap (Watson was on an in lap at the time) - an episode that might actually have served the narrative had Folley been aware of it.

It is also somewhat repetitive. How many times do I need to be told the list of greats who have won Monaco?

Early in the interview, Prost had noted that he knows he can't compete with the ghost of Senna, the legacy of a dead hero. As such, this is a book that might actually plug a legitimate market gap because I doubt that Prost's point of view, laughably self-serving though it is, has been aired as fully as the Senna plaudits have aired the legend of the brilliant Brazilian. Had the book been called "Prost's point of view: a rivalry with Senna", or some such, I would welcome it, as written. Unfortunately it is billed as a fair account, and the flipside of Prost's dilemma is that Senna is no longer around to defend himself at all. As such, and fascinating as it will always be to hear his reminiscences, it almost seems like a cheap shot from Prost to have been behind this book in such a way. The final responsibility, though, lies with the author.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disgusting, 18 April 2013
This review is from: Senna Versus Prost (Paperback)
The book does not live up to it's title: Senna vs. Prost only takes place after the half of the 400 pages. Only then the author has arrived at 1988. Everything until then describes the F1 seasons 1980 - 1987, resp. basks in British motorsport history. In school they would say "missed the point!". But it gets really bad when he misses interesting moments in the history of their rivalry, such as the temporary conciliation at the press conference after Monza 1990.

Someone could not expect a beatification of Senna here. But - in the tradition of many English Senna-Books - this is a masterpiece in Senna bashing. He really must have been a hate-figure in England. There are some exceptions, of course, for example the books of Christoper Hilton. But there are really bad things, e.g. "The death of Ayrton Senna" by Richard Williams or the mocking "The Messiah of Motor Racing" by Richard Craig.

When the author arrives at 1988, Prost was already introduced as a superior super-driver, who manages all critical situations easily, the book is also 80% Prost in a quantitative sense. Senna is presented as a spoilt brad with a rich family behind him, who blasts everyone ruthlessly off the track and who whines and cries, if thinigs not go well.

There's no objectivity in this book at all: A more or less up-to-date interview with Prost is mentioned all the time, while many of Sennas opinions, that are very well existing, were skipped or were given along the way, after Prosts version was almost introduced as a fact.

Someone is reminded to Sennas press conference after Suzuka 1988: I was treated like a criminal ... responsible for everything." The author digs out some interesting opinions: Responsible for Mansells accident in Suzuka 1991 was - Senna! And he was grinning in the cockpit after that. How could he know that and what has this to do with journalism? Senna was criticised for his voting against Warwick in 1986. So was Prost criticised for his voting against Senna in 1993? No! It was SENNA who was the bad boy again! Why? He pushed Prost out of his contract in 1994!

Well, this book is Prosts story telling time.

And of course Senna is responsible for his own death. The only opinion to this matter featured here is that of Damon Hill (not known as a Senna fan as well). Other arguments were not mentioned ("useless"). Senna was also criticised for his statement about dangers in motor racing ("Either you have to face it in a professional way or just drop it."). Sarcastically that quote is mentioned with the conclusion, that he couldn't live up to his own big words when he was faced with death (Ratzenberger) on the track.

Conclusion: Utter crap!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Golden Era of F1, 7 Jan 2011
This review is from: Senna Versus Prost (Paperback)
This book is an absolutely classic insight into the rivalry that existed between Alain Prost and Aryton Senna. Two completely different styles but both magnificent drivers. This book is a read page turner for F1 fans as I realised, when i finished the book in 5 days.The 80's was truly a great decade for Formula 1 despite the fatal crashes.Well done Foley...A Fantastic Read...
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7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Biased Against Senna, 27 Aug 2011
By 
T. Wright "2Wright" (Scotland, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Senna Versus Prost (Paperback)
Don't read this expecting some balanced account of the most famous motorsport feud of all time. I was sadly disappointed with this piece which makes Ayrton Senna the villain of the piece when this story goes far, far deeper with roots in Montreal 1986 when Prost pushed Senna off the track for 2nd place & managed (through great car control and tenacity) to achieve 5th (and yes, you read that right - Prost did this, not Senna!). What is also never deeply acknowledged is the fact that Prost did not get on with ANY of him team-mates and ended up leaving each team in acrimony (including being cermoniously sacked by Ferrari before the end of a season) blaming team-mates, team personnel and other incidents for every failing (which were often his own). His politiking and manipulative character traits were never fully explored either.

Prost's incessant whingeing over the years was bad enough in real-time, without having it all in one place. I put this one down quite alot since it started to gnaw at my will to continue (or should that be persevere?). Also annoying was the psychophantic and grovelling tones of the authors words, obviously well impressed to have been granted an interview with the F1 legend.

As a Senna fan, I expected more from this book in terms of an honest, balanced and in-depth study of both of these complex characters and what drove them. Instead, all there seemed to be within these pages were disrespect and demonisation of my own hero. Prost, the white hero. Senna, the wayward bad-boy. It was so much more than this with strong complex personalities, faults and blazing ambition on both sides. They were two sides of the same coin (and I believe neither would have achieved what they did without the other) and should be acknowledged as such. This book does both of these great men a dis-service by it's bias. Ayrton Senna was also a great man and it's to the authors detriment that he cannot convey this.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Very Good Book, 17 April 2012
This review is from: Senna Versus Prost (Paperback)
Senna versus Prost by Malcolm Folley is a very good book about the intense rivalry between the Brazillian and the Frenchman. It is a well-written and informative book although the author does have a tendency to go off at tangents and it could perhaps be argued that he could have been more sparing in his use of quotations from interviews. While it is certainly true that Prost does seem to come out of this work better than Senna it is not a hatchet job on the career of the great Brazillian. All in all, a very good book about the bitter feud between the two greatest Formula One drivers of their generation.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting insight in the complicated world of Prost and Senna!, 21 Jun 2011
This review is from: Senna Versus Prost (Hardcover)
For a non-F1 fan, and after seeing the Senna documentary, this is a brilliant place to start. There is so much controversy surrounding the death of Senna, and this book gives a great insight into working with him from Prost, and also from his peers and collegues during his racing period.

I must admit I would normally watch paint dry than watch an F1 but this topic of the relationships that Senna has with those around him, and the motivation for becoming the best racing driver, has really opened up a different view on the subject.

Again, from a non-F1 fan, this is a really interesting book, and I think that the author has tried set the stage and be impartial as possible yet still trying to incorporate the views of the people he interviewd. It delves inside the history or F1 and looks at its politics, and the relationship between the drivers.

Overall, I found this a really interesting read, I skim read some of the middle chapters concerned with particular races and stats, but generally a very enthralling book - I would recommend!
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read, 23 Mar 2012
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Having followed F1 seriously from around 1980 until about 1998, I already consider myself pretty knowledgeable when it comes to Senna and Prost. I was initially cynical as to whether this book would actually be any good but I was pleasantly surprised and thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

I read some of the reviews on here suggesting the book is biased towards Prost but I can tell you that is simply not true. The only people who would feel that are the die hard 'he could do no wrong' Senna fans. If you are able to take an objective, rational view and you know a lot about Formula 1 from this era, then you will understand how different these two men were and realise this is a fair account.

There are many interesting interviews with Grand Prix drivers from the era and of course, the Alain Prost interview offers many interesting insights and bits and pieces of information or anecdotes you may not have heard before.

Senna's career has been taken to bits and analysed so many times, you cannot expect to read something completely fresh but this is an extremely interesting and well written account of one of motor racing's greatest ever rivalries.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome tale of two great drivers..., 1 July 2009
By 
Kaz (Leamington Spa, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Senna Versus Prost (Hardcover)
This books charts the start, duration and untimely demise of one of the most famous (or should that be infamous) rivalrys in F1. In some respects, yes, it is just a re-telling of both drivers' careers, but it does allow the reader a small insight into the emotions that Alain Prost experienced whilst paired with Senna. Despite this, it was a riviting read, and a book I can cheerfully recommend.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great!, 11 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Senna Versus Prost (Paperback)
This was a Christmas present to my son and he couldn't be more pleased with it. A great motor racing fan!
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Senna Versus Prost
Senna Versus Prost by Malcolm Folley (Hardcover - 7 May 2009)
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