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Mad Dogs and Englishmen Hardcover – 15 Oct 2009

4.4 out of 5 stars 46 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton; First edition (15 Oct. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340925027
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340925027
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 23.6 x 3.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 403,273 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

A whirlwind romp through the annals of time, peopled with the good, the bad and downright mad among the Fiennes clan. (Sunday Telegraph)

'If you ever struggle to drag yourself out of bed on a winter's morning, pick up a copy of Ranulph Fiennes' autobiography. It's an inspiration.' (Mail on Sunday on Mad Bad and Dangerous to Know)

'Rip-roaringly readable' (Guardian on Mad Bad)

'Even readers with a broadly low tolerance for macho heroism will find themselves gripped . . . compelling' (Time Out on Mad Bad)

'This is the memoir of a supreme sportsman, an uber-earthling who could show the Martians a thing or two about what the best of us can achieve' (Financial Times Magazine)

'"Ran' epitomises British phlegm, and he puts all other glory-seekers to shame. His dry wit, self deprecation and steely determination never to feel a scrap of self-pity are in the very best tradition of British travel writing. Long may he continue tomake us glad that we are not him, while we stand in awe.' (Country Life)

'Rip-roaringly readable' (Guardian)

'Even readers with a broadly low tolerance for macho heroism will find themselves gripped . . . compelling' (Time Out)

'It's exhausting just reading about his exploits, so it is a perfect bedtime book. It's delightful to plump up one's duck-down pillows while vicariously enduring Fiennes's successive plunges into the deadly waters of the Artcic, and his festering crotch-rot.' (Helena Drysdale, New Statesman Books of the Year)

'It is lively and vivid, and often exciting as we anticipate each plunge into deadly Arctic waters. There are some wonderful throwaway lines . . . So, not an alien species after all but - as they say - a national treasure.' (Spectator)

Book Description

Sir Ranulph Fiennes takes a journey around his eccentric family tree, and reveals how he came to be described by the Guinness Book of Records as 'the world's greatest living explorer'

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By Parm TOP 500 REVIEWER on 16 Jun. 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
To be honest i had no idea what to expect when i downloaded this title, I really don't normally touch this sort of book, But i Like Fiennes, i have read his fiction novels so i know he can write, and the man himself is an enigma.

So why read this? Well a book that shows a view of a single family history going back to the Norman invasion, and how that family intertwines with the history of this great nation and played at times a pivotal role in its evolution, it was too much to pass up. I'm sure there is an element of 6 degree of separation going on at times given the incestuous nature of the aristo's in times of yore, but even that does not account for just how many great people or important events were touched by this family, or how interesting it all is seeing it tied together.

It could put you off doing your own family history, or it could kindle a need to know who you are where you came from, what role did your family have? I very much doubt many will have this outcome, but even the odd shining star is fun and even without, its amazing finding out.

I recommend this to any reader, Ranulph has a very humorous wit that pervades the book and is not averse to poking fun at himself or his family or the royalty of Great Britain, i really enjoyed this read, something very different from what i normally read.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I consider him a fine author, his subject matter is never dull, whether we're talking SAS jaunts, secret societies, desert explorations or fitness manuals, you really get the impression that he's done his research and often has firsthand experience. So. The Family is old, has its roots in the Dark Ages when Britain was a different beast altogether, its people always close to the heart of the nation as it grew, and the whole thing is a lovely if somewhat fast ride through British history; it's hard to keep up! In fact, I don't know how he managed to keep his cool while writing it -there's almost too much here, but he handles the characters, and historical framework, with his customary aplomb and dry sense of humour.
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Format: Hardcover
A big challenge to wrap up one thousand years of family history with the history of England whilst producing something readable and entertaining for the lay reader. The result is too dry and lacking in personal anecdote to be a success. Often the relevance of the Fiennes family is little more than a footnote.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A cracking read! Fiennes makes genealogy an interesting subject - but who wouldn't be interested if you had such a weird pack of relatives and a bloodline like his? However, I was surprised to discover that this eBook lacks the family tree diagrams that were my overriding reason for buying it all, and so I ended up also having to buy the book proper just to get the diagrams. While I can accept the fact that the book's photos are not reproduced in the eBook version, had I known it would also lack the printed diagrams, I would have saved my money and bought the softback version alone.
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Format: Hardcover
Being a family tree obsessive (I have traced mine back to 1500s) this book is a brilliant read. I would highly recommend it to history lovers as well.
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Format: Hardcover
This was without doubt the best book I have ever read gripping, exciting, full of facinating facts. What a family.
You can pick the book up, and put it down at anytime without losing the thread of things. Sorry Iv come to the end of it.

I can not recommend this enough.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I looked at some of the previous reviews and agree with them all to some extent. It was difficult to get started, but I took the trouble to look at the family tree before I began reading, so knew what I was in for.

It's a valid point that there is an awful lot jammed into this book, but I don't agree that it was dry. Try reading A J P Taylor's The Hapsburg Monarchy and see the difference - like a diet of dry toast. I think Fiennes took a lot of trouble to research the background of each era.

In very succint language he draws pictures of his ancestors and their place in European history. A very detailed weaving together of family and the building of Britain in an honest, plain-speaking assessment of the players involved. He pulls no punches, e g talking about British domination of the colonies: "In those days German tourists did not put their towels on British sunbeds." This is typical of his plain-speaking style.

The fighting spirit of this complex family structure has obviously not been diluted, evidenced by Eustave's madcap antics in the Boer War and the tender, but proud telling of the part his father played in the 2nd World War and his mention of Churchill's part in bringing about an end to it. Having just read "Churchill" by Roy Jenkins, the two tie in as to his inspiring, though also often egocentric leadership in the great tradition of English history.

A great read, which I shall come back to, no doubt, in order to fix some of the multitude of facts better in my mind.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If i'm still going as strong as this man when i'm his age i'll be a happy chap, infact if i'm even still alive at his age i'll be a happy man !
Good item and quick delivery, ordered for someones birthday present.

He is on another adventure on one of the poles right now I believe, someone should tell him to try my treacherous daily commute back here in Blighty, almost as difficult I should imagine
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