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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lavish, insightful and often very funny, 11 Sep 2004
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Peter Fenelon - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Jack Brabham Story (Hardcover)
Sir Jack Brabham is probably one of the sharpest minds to have ever got involved with something as daft as motor racing; in this splendid autobiography the normally reticent knight and co-writer Doug Nye cover the whole Brabham story, from his childhood and RAF service right up to his current life in Surfer's Paradise - but the heart of the book is the description of his racing career, from midgets in Australia to three-times World Champion and owner of one of the most successful racing car firms of the sixties. It's all here - F1, Tasman, F2, his forays into sports cars and Indy, the story of Sir Jack's years at Cooper and his first two titles, his relationship with Ron Tauranac and the rise of Brabham; his third title, his decision to retire...
A few passages remind the reader of Sir Jack's earlier volume of autobiography "When The Flag Drops", but age has mellowed the author and retirement has allowed him to be a little more direct about some issues, so it's definitely well worth a read even if you have his earlier book; similarly, a few bits clearly draw from co-author Nye's "Cooper Cars", but given that that is one of the best marque histories ever it's no hardship!
As you'd expect, this reads wonderfully, contains a lot that is new, and looks great. The illustrations are excellent, a good mix of contemporary photos, some posed photoshoots of key cars in Sir Jack's career, and shots of memorabilia. It's one of the best memoirs of the 50s/60s I've read, and deserves a place on every fan's bookshelf.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Everything you wanted to know, 21 Jan 2014
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This review is from: The Jack Brabham Story (Hardcover)
Despite the hair-raising price, I felt that I owed it to myself to get a copy of Jack's book, having seen him race on several occasions. The second-hand copy that I ordered from Amazon was not only in crisply brand-new condition but it was also signed both by Sir Jack and his rightly renowned co-author Doug Nye. Result!

Everything about the book is just right. The big-page square format allows exactly the right balance between text and pictures, with lots of smaller illustrations of fascinating incidents, all covered by the long-ish captions. The reader's eye is automatically and effortlessly carried from one page to the next, so effectively so that I found myself still reading three hours after I'd ripped the packaging apart.

Yes, it's enormously detailed, but there isn't a single superfluous word here. Nye has expertly winkled explanations from Jack about numerous incidents which were not fully (or correctly) covered in contemporary publications. If you want to know exactly how our hero managed to crash out of the lead at the last corner on the last lap of the 1970 Monaco GP, he explains all.

Most impressive of all is Jack's scrupulous honesty, which comes as a bit of a surprise from someone who could be infuriatingly secretive when it suited him. He admits that he dined out for years on the well-worn yarn that it was Ron Dennis's fault that he ran out of fuel almost within sight of winning the 1970 British GP at Brands Hatch, but here he absolves Ron of all blame (it was another mechanic who had left the engine on full rich before the start).

In several places Jack makes it clear that he didn't consider himself to be in the same class of driver as Jim Clark or Tony Brooks, which is quite an admission when you know how self-obsessed most racing drivers can be. But he DID have a talent to make good decisions well in advance, and of course he allied himself to that ultra-reliable and sometimes inspired engineer Ron Tauranac when it came to designing and building his cars. Ron gets full credit in the book.

This is the story of a fascinating era in motor racing, told in an engaging and personal style, warts and all. If you have the slightest interest in Jack Brabham, adventurer and three-times world champion, you're doing yourself no favours by avoiding his book. This is a brilliant record of a great man who survived a bloody period in the sport as much by his innate canniness as thanks to some extraordinarily good luck.
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The Jack Brabham Story
The Jack Brabham Story by Doug Nye (Hardcover - 1 Mar 2004)
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