Top critical review
on 9 February 2015
The name Bear Grylls has become synonymous with outrageous and dangerous stunts presented on TV - eating worms, jumping out of aeroplanes etc. However his autobiography says very little about his survival exploits or extreme behaviour, and `Mud, Sweat and Tears' is largely limited to his childhood, his training for service with the SAS, his ascent of Mount Everest as youngest Briton to do so, and his marriage on return. Even his role as Chief Scout hardly gets a mention, and it is clear Bear Grylls is saving his derring-do on TV shows for a sequel.
Bear Grylls adopts a simple style of writing with very short chapters that make it easy reading, but there is much repetition. Unlike some of his earlier books 'Mud, Sweat and Tears' is often too frivolous to be inspirational. Bear Grylls has undoubtedly led a fantastic life and he seeks to use this to assist others, making references to his faith and including numerous homilies - but his book is not self-help.
`Mud, Sweat and Tears' gives comprehensive cover to the author's family and education, then his gap year after Eton which includes visiting the Himalaya, his SAS selection and a parachuting accident that broke his back, his rehabilitation and renewal of a childhood dream to climb Mount Everest. Success on the mountain was the start of his commercial adventuring for TV shows and motivational speaking, and though the book contains photographs of various events so much of his life is missing. It is not a cliché to describe Bear Grylls as a legend in his own lifetime - a lifetime that has nearly ended on numerous occasions. Bear Grylls has been there, done that, and got the tee-shirt - but this autobiography is only part of the story.