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The Man in the White Suit Paperback – 28 Apr 2011
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"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.See all Product description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Most people will be attracted to this book to find out more about Ben Collins' secret life as Top Gear's Stig, and there's plenty of behind-the-scenes info about the show, stunts... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Sport Nut
One of the dullest books I have read, if you weren't sure how amazing Ben Collins is he will inform you regularly through the book. One of very few books I couldn't finish. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Drillerkiller