Mad Dogs and Englishmen Hardcover – 15 Oct 2009
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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)
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'See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.
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
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Product is exactly what I wanted and has proven to be as good as I wanted it to be.Published 10 months ago by Lashieloo
Virtually a potted history of Britain - most enjoyablePublished 11 months ago by Mr. D. F. Radcliffe
Ihave not read it yet so cannot comment.Sir ran is a very fine author and a remarkable man,If it carries on in the same vein and style of his previous works then i will not be... Read morePublished 19 months ago by john easton