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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars He's earned respect, never demanded it.
Viewing Grand Prix motor racing through the wonderfully perceptive eyes of Professor Watkins means that anyone interested in the sport should read this excellent account. Obviously respected, often revered by those with whom he works, he gives vivid and sometimes moving recollections spanning the many years of his involvement. Humour and pathos make regular appearances;...
Published on 7 Sep 2001 by Thomas Marshall

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars enjoyed
I only gave it 3 stars because its a little dated. Its interesting to hear the recent history of the sport and its progress with safety and would recommend. If you want a brilliant sport biography, read Agassi, (the tennis player).
Published 2 months ago by david ingman


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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars He's earned respect, never demanded it., 7 Sep 2001
By 
Thomas Marshall (Lichfield, Staffs United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
Viewing Grand Prix motor racing through the wonderfully perceptive eyes of Professor Watkins means that anyone interested in the sport should read this excellent account. Obviously respected, often revered by those with whom he works, he gives vivid and sometimes moving recollections spanning the many years of his involvement. Humour and pathos make regular appearances; his dry wit, an essential tool of his trade perhaps, serves to punctuate what is essentially a serious book. His incisive précis of drivers from the last three decades makes for compulsive reading, the character analyses are intriguing and revealing. Undoubtedly a pivotal character in the world of Formula One, the professor has been instrumental in saving many lives. However, he's also witnessed intimately the consequences of appalling accidents in which lives were lost. He is perhaps uniquely qualified to commentate on the sport, his dedication and professionalism making him a hero in this modern amphitheatre which now embraces the globe. Superbly readable. Once is not enough.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must for any F1 fan, 2 Jan 2014
By 
Jersey Customer (Jersey, Channel Islands) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Life At The Limit: Triumph and Tragedy in Formula One (Kindle Edition)
My family are steeped in motor racing - my parents were both amateur rally drivers back in 'the day' (i.e. the 60s - lots of silverware in the attic!) and I virtually grew up at Silverstone at club meetings over Bank Holiday weekends (we only lived an hour away when I was growing up) and my first visit, apparently, was when I was two weeks old! We are all keen drivers, learning as children thrashing cars round fields on private land, and even now in my 40s I drive for relaxation or just for fun (although since moving to Jersey 23 years ago my opportunities to go very far are limited!). I grew up hearing my father eulogise Jim Clark - in an age, in the early 70s, when many people's first though to do with British F1 drivers were either Stirling Moss (who my father never rated) or Jackie Stewart (definitely rated!) this 'Jim Clark' seemed to lead to a lot of blank faces among my friends! I first got into F1 seriously in 1980 when I was 12/13, and my favourite driver (I cut out all the pictures from 'Motoring News' and stuck them on my bedroom wall!) was Keke Rosberg. Oh, how old do I feel watching Nico now!!

But, to put a serious angle on it, the early days, up to the mid-70s especially, were dangerous times for F1. Anyone whose seen the awful footage of Tom Pryce's death, or Roger Williamson's, won't need convincing of that. But F1 was un-regulated in terms of safety and anyone who spoke out or tried to change things (step forward again, Sir Jackie) was branded a coward by many other drivers, team owners and circuit managers (and the latter of course, would have to spend money to implement any safety changes). The death of Ronnie Peterson was the 'last straw' for many who were trying to bring some sort of common sense and order to the safety in a sport that was known for crashes and deaths - and that's really where 'Prof' started his career as the medical eyes and ears of the sport, a role he continued until his retirement.

The book is not - I must emphasise - a glorified account of death, blood and gore. Anyone buying/reading the book hoping for sensational behind-the-scenes details of a gruesome nature will be disappointed. Yes, there are graphic accounts in places, but they are rooted in the Prof's medical note-taking and he approaches his story-telling without glamourising the events he describes. In addition, his story only really starts in the late 70s, so any references to the 'famous' incidents (or should that be infamous incidents?) such as Lauda's or Cevert's are very much in hindsight.

If you have any kind of interest in F1 this is a book you should read - the Prof was highly respected right up to his death, and rightly so, by everyone involved in the sport.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another world Champion, 27 Sep 2001
If you like your F1 and have a favourite driver then you'll probably be able to carry on supporting the driver for longer because of the work of this man. Not only has he been able to make F1 safer but he can write too. An interesting story well recounted. I can recommend it wholeheartedly.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for any motorsport fan, 1 May 2000
By 
John Peter O'connor - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
Professor Watkins is the official doctor for the Formula One Grand Prix circus as it travels the world. He has had this role since the late seventies and his involvement in motorsport medicine goes back even longer. Without the fame accruing from this, he would still be recognised as an eminent neurosurgeon. Fans, drivers and officials alike recognise his role.
In this book, he tells the story of his involvement in Formula One racing. He covers the years from 1978 to 1994 with a few notes about the following year. The book treads a path between autobiography and history or documentary.
My first comment about this book is that it is well written and a really enjoyable read. Of course, the author covers the many accidents which he has attended in his work. Beyond that, he writes about the personalities involved and also the process by which the current high standards of medical care have been introduced into the sport.
In that latter area, one character stands out. It is clear that without the force of Bernie Ecclestone behind them, many of the improvements to medical care would not have taken place. The two men each understand their own and the others job and they do not get in each others way and trust each other immensly.
Reading parts such as the description of the death of Gilles Villeneuve brought a tear to my eye. Other parts, such as the tale of Gerhard Berger testing the indestructability of Ayrton Senna's new carbon fibre briefcase had me laughing out loud.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars very ejoyable , another angle of F1, 23 Aug 2001
By 
In this book you can review almost all incidents from 1978 up to 1997 getting the medical point of view from Prof. Sid Watkins. Specialls details about Senna and Villeneuve good reading
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for petrol heads, 7 April 2014
By 
Ms. K. M. Borg (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Life At The Limit: Triumph and Tragedy in Formula One (Kindle Edition)
I loved this book, it had me hooked and I couldn't put it down. Obviously those reading it have to be tuned into the Formula 1 scene otherwise it means nothing, but it really was excellent.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life At The Limit, 16 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Life At The Limit: Triumph and Tragedy in Formula One (Kindle Edition)
A very enjoyable read with lots of background stories about the drivers and circuits. I started following F1 in 1971 and remember many of the drivers and details described. The style of writing is both factual and engaging and is very easy to follow.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read, 14 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Life At The Limit: Triumph and Tragedy in Formula One (Kindle Edition)
Enjoyed the book and to read the Profs views on his time in F1 and some of the personalities. He did seem to hold back on some of this views about drivers, but I guess when your life is based on confidentiality that goes with the territory. Having said that an interesting and enjoyable read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A look behind the scenes, 7 Nov 2013
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This review is from: Life At The Limit: Triumph and Tragedy in Formula One (Kindle Edition)
A good insight into how the safety of F1 drivers was not a priority until the likes of Sid Watkins took an interest. You'll only get something out of this book if you're a fan of F1 and probably a long standing fan too. Well written and a good present for that awkward to buy for uncle.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great inside view on Formula one, 6 Aug 2013
By 
Kim (Essex, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Life At The Limit: Triumph and Tragedy in Formula One (Kindle Edition)
I found the structure of the book a little disjointed, but leaving that aside I found the Professors anecdotes and medical insights thoroughly absorbing. So much so I brought the follow on book "Beyond the Limit" which is a similar format but focussed more on later seasons and characters.
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