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The Man in the White Suit Paperback – 28 Apr 2011

4.1 out of 5 stars 123 customer reviews

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Frequently bought together

  • The Man in the White Suit
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  • How To Drive: The Ultimate Guide, from the Man Who Was the Stig
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  • Ben Collins: Stunt Driver [DVD]
Total price: £29.20
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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; Reprint edition (28 April 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 000733169X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007331697
  • Product Dimensions: 19.3 x 12.7 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (123 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 262,527 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

"An interesting look into the life of a man that landed in an amazing job on "TopGear" UK, and a telling look at the life of "TG" behind the scenes." --"The Protagonist" blog

"Car culture's Deep Throat has come forward." --"New York Times" blog

From the Publisher

The Stig is the mysterious star attraction of BBC2's cult TV show Top Gear. Fervent media frenzy constantly surrounds the identity of the tame racing driver. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Before I bought this, I didn't fully understand what lay behind many of the comments of other reviewers about needing to be a real 'racing fanatic' to fully enjoy it. Now I do.

As one of the army of Top Gear fans (and also a closet admirer of Jeremy Clarkson's written work), I've read a couple of the books about the series and Richard Porter's 'And On That Bombshell' is quite good, although still a bit reserved. Reviewers said that The Man In The White Suit was better. Well, in my humble opinion, it's neither better nor worse, it's just tame in a different way. The book follows the life, quite loosely, of Ben Collins, through his racing career to date, an attempt at a military career (I remain unconvinced on this) and his weird life as The Stig. Oddly, I found the detailed story of his army recruitment training the most interesting although, of course, his tales of the stars that he met in 'a reasonably priced car' are also entertaining.

I struggled to form an opinion of the real nature of Ben Collins, switching from thinking him a narcissistic egomaniac to a thoughtful yet driven (no pun intended) man, and back again, The problem is that, although the odd self-deprecating remark or anecdote is thrown in, they aren't convincing and all of them seem carefully intended to fabricate an image of humility. At no point does Ben Collins consider himself to be anything less than an action 'He Man' and hero. With very few exceptions, whenever Mr Collins doesn't win a race or appears to fail in his aims in any way, there is always an extenuating reason that means that it isn't his fault.

I'm lead to believe that every word here was written by Ben Collins and not by a ghost writer.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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Format: Paperback
Having no interest in cars whatsoever (especially since I have no license!), I was rather surprised when a car/bike fanatic friend of mine recommended this book to me. I was vaguely aware of The Stig, having seen one or two episodes before, but didn't really care about all the unpleasantness surrounding the BBC and Ben Collin's autobiography. Honestly, I don't see why the BBC wanted to prevent this from being published, there's nothing unpleasant within it that could have damaged Top Gear's reputation.

I have to admire Ben Collins. He wrote this whole book himself without the use of a ghost writer, and while I did spot a typo or two (Eurpope, and it should be 'while' instead of 'whilst'), the writing was rather slick and smooth and pleasant to read. Yes, seeing as Collins is a racing driver, there is a lot of talk about cars and driving, but it's not too technical and even I found it simple to read. I daresay aspiring racing drivers could actually pick or a few handy methods from Collins writing. Collins also highlighted how difficult the racing world can be - difficult to break into, difficult to stay within and very easy to forgotten. I can wholly understand his frustration at certain opportunities falling through due to lack of sponsorship or other letdowns.

In addition, I found his army training to be a big eye opener. As someone who runs 10 miles four days a week, just reading what he had to go through made my legs feel weak and my stomach to cramp - there's no way I'd be able to survive that, and from what I read in the book, Collins just about managed it.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
At first I was apprehensive whether this Kindle version would have the photo's that are found in the hardback book, but fortunately they are there, and as I have Kindle for iPad they are in colour!
Onto the book, at first I was given the impression that Mr Collins had quite a high opinion of himself, taking great pleasure in saying that he was quicker round the Top Gear track than the old Stig. Maybe his alter ego had gone to his head! But as you read further into the book you start to wonder if the bravado is all tongue in cheek, particularly when he recounts a story of teaching a blind driver to drive the Top Gear track and beat some of the able bodied celebs. The emotion he portayed over his joy for the guys achievement speaks volumes. Also when he talks of his family you again get a glimpse into the softer side of a not so tame racing driver.
The other interesting aspect of this autobiography are the not so well known parts of Ben Collins life, such as his time in the army and stunt driving on the odd film. Also interesting is hearing about various Top Gear episodes from behind the scenes and how Ben was having to be more and more careful as speculation of Stigs identity increased. Towards the end of the book he speaks of his struggles over wishing to be a bona fide racing driver and yet having to hide behind this persona, he even likens it to how a superheroes alter ego must feel!
Its this secrecy that ultimately leads to him taking off the suit, plus the ever increasing speculation since he was named in a report on Hammonds jet car accident. And while the book finishes at the last Top Gear series he had done, there was no mention of Rubens Barrichello beating his laptime. I wonder why!
Overall a good read, particularly if you are a fan of Top Gear or motor racing in general, as long as you dont mind the author re-using phrases throughout the book, particularly one about lactic acid in muscles! And the odd swear word here and there.
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