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The Life of Senna: The Biography of Ayrton Senna Hardcover – 1 May 2004

3.6 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 640 pages
  • Publisher: BusinessF1 Books (May 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0954685709
  • ISBN-13: 978-0954685706
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 15.2 x 5.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 729,187 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
As a fan of Senna's from the early 80's, I have to say I found this book a good portrayal of his life, career and obssessively driven complex nature. I couldn't put it down as I read familiar facts/stories from new and varied sources. Mr Rubython and his team are obviously big fans of the man themselves and their enthusiasm for their subject shines through (though, by no means biased as Ayrton's flaws are also portrayed here).

So, why only 4 stars if it's so good? Like other reviewers, the repetition of some facts/stories got tiresome after a while. The over-dramatisation and elaboration in certain events weren't needed - Senna's story has enough true drama in it to fill the book (and then some!) no problem. The love story with Adriane however was completely OTT in slushiness (I felt nauseated at points) and some facts were at odds with what she had written in her own book about her time with Ayrton (not sure whether this was down to Adriane or the author!). The portrayal of his family trying to split them up was not truly presented and one point I will make in his familiy's defence since I felt this portrays them as controlling and meddling - Ayrton had fallen out with Adriane for 4/6 weeks or so prior to deciding to give it another go with her in Portugal because she had a) had glamour photo's taken which offended him, & b) she had allegedly been calling her ex from his house and apartment when he was gone (some an hour or so long). He did love her but this upset him (and his family) greatly. Thus his silence from her in the run up to Imola and why he never even called her on her birthday (it's in her own book, though she omits to elaborate fully!).
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Format: Hardcover
Books on Aryton Senna have become something of a cottage industry, since his sad demise - all the more reason for them to do justice to someone, of whom Frank Williams said was "first and foremost an amazing human being and secondly, a great racing driver." So it's no mean task and this is quite an enjoyable read in places, but does not quite get there.
Firstly, there is little in the book that we did not already know about Senna and seems to collate a huge number of quotes already in the public domain from other books and press articles. Also, as other reviewers have commented, it is very repetitive and contradictory, with the same quotes surfacing on more than one occasion, which undermines enjoyment of the reading. To say the least, it seems as though the book has had little or no pre-publication proof reading.
Evidence of this is also to be found in the number of basic errors, which for a writer of Rubython's repute, must be embarrassing - for example, unless I was following a different formula, there were no Wiliams-Hondas in 1991 and Senna did not win at Monaco in 1983....a good eight months before he actually raced an F1 car, let alone started winning with one.
Secondly, for me at least, the most damning part of this book was the dismissive and contemptous attitude towards Alain Prost (in which the writer seems to dislike Prost more than Senna did). In this regard, I beleive the writer has completely missed the point. Firstly, no one would seriously beleive that Prost in terms of sheer skill (if not outright speed) was anything other than well-matched to Senna? One of the reasons they fell out was because they threatened each other's supremacy. To suggest that Senna's biggest rival was Nigel Mansell is ridiculous.
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Format: Hardcover
The dust jacket blurb says "It is a story that has never been fully or properly told, and it is a story that needed to be told." Unfortunately, it still needs to be properly told. While not totally without interest, Rubython's book is deeply flawed thanks to very poor (or perhaps no) editing. Rubython has a clunky writing style and awkward sentences abound. Stories are told repeatedly as if he has forgotton what he's already written. The book also contains some factual errors that should have been caught before publication. More subjectively, the anti-Prost bias seems very evident and the book suffers for it. It's easy to get the impression that Prost was no match for Senna and that's obviously not true.
On the positive side, some of the stories are interesting if not particularly new and the human side of Senna comes through. There are some nice Keith Sutton photos though, again, probably nothing that we haven't seen before. I'm left with the impression that the author tried hard but wasn't quite up to the task, was hurried, and was let down by his publisher.
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Format: Hardcover
On the whole this is a rather good book, but far from great. As said before it is full of factural errors, and is very repetative as i tend to read one chapter a night and i often found myself checking whether or not i was reading the same one as the night before. I also dissliked the anti-Prost coments which made out that he was no match for Senna and was in fact little more than a Schumacher. So in summary if you want a load of raw data, oftern right about the life and death of Senna summed up into 650 pages then this is the one for you; but not for the person who knows their stuff allready and liked Prost.
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