A comprehensive review of Villeneuve's life,
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This review is from: Gilles Villeneuve: The Life of the Legendary Racing Driver: The Life of a Legend (Paperback)
Gilles Villeneuve has been my hero for many years prior to purchasing this book, so in some respects, I may be biased about the content.
I'm sure most people who buy this book are aware of Villeneuve's legacy and legend, and others are divided as to whether he was truly a magnificant driver, or a careless daredevil with no regard. He was probably both, but that doesn't detract from the fact he was incredibly talented, and while he may have made bad choices at times, had he not died in Zolder he would have almost certainly won a World Championship.
Gilles comes from an era, like with most things, sports stars participated for the love of their chosen discipline, rather than what we see today (although I dispute that fame/money didn't change them). Gilles was more than this however, he more or less breathed motorsport of all genres, alongside with anything remotely "dangerous".
The author of this book makes no attempt to disguise the fact he was a friend of Gilles and Joann, and neither should he. He had an in-depth view of this fantastic enigma - somebody who was utterly dedicated to his profession, and didn't follow the traps of the other drivers, who enjoyed champagne lunches and unpronounceable dishes in the worlds finest eateries. Gilles was quite happy with a coke and a steak, cooked by his loyal wife Joann. He was also fiercely protective of his children, Jacques and Melanie, who meant the world to him.
However, Donaldson is aware of Villeneuve's weak spots. He brings into accounts of other drivers who were less than impressed by the pocket dynamo, as well as the problems within the family unit. It would have been easy to gloss over these, as they were not really pertinent to the "driving" aspect of his life, but then it wouldn't be wholly accurate. There of course is more praise than there is criticism, which is probably a result of Villeneuve's untimely death - after all he can't comment or defend his actions.
Overall, I feel this is a very good read for fans of Gilles, as well as people who want to extend their knowledge about him, or F1 of the late 70's/early 80's - a sport completely different to the one we have now.