.... it was worth my hard-earned cash. To most fans of motor sport, Murray is a legend, and this book simply confirms his place as one of the top nice-guys of all time! I can understand a previous reviewer's comments that a professional writer could have improved the book in some ways, but I'm not sure I agree. To me, that is part of the appeal of Murray, what you're reading is his thoughts, direct from brain to paper. I found Murray's story of his (very full) life hugely interesting - He clearly has no complaints and does not mind saying so - A lucky man indeed. He covers various areas of his life in great detail - the only area that I did not really enjoy was the sections on his old days commentating on motor-cycling events. I admit that is purely because I am not a fan of that area, so the names and occasions (of which he cites many) mean nothing to me. If you are into two-wheels, you will enjoy it as much as I enjoyed his stories of his years in four-wheeled racing. Overall, a sincere story of an extremely interesting career (which is nowhere near over yet). I have to say if you are a fan of motorsport, or of Murray himself, then this is a must-buy, in my view. For non-motorsport fans though, be warned that whilst his own life stories (outside of sports) are excellent, there is a lot of depth about his life in the sport, so this may not be your cup of tea.
With just a passing interest in F1, I bought this book mainly because I have an interest in broadcasting and I thought that Murray Walker had been in broadcasting for so long he would have pleanty of insights. What I didn't realise that he only became a full time broadcaster after he had retired from his 'first career' of advertising. This didn't hinder me as he has been doing commentaries for many years (50+). How he managed to fit in all this media work AND a full time job I will never know !! This book is easy reading. You can tell that it hasn't been ghost written and I think it is all the better for it. Murray says what he feels and over the pages you feel as if you really get to know him. The only critism of it is that you get the feeling he doesn't want to hurt anyones feelings. Is he really that nice ? He probably is but he only has harsh words to say about two people. And to say 'Harsh' is an overstatement !! He merely says he didn't like the way they thought or conducted their private lives. Overall, I would reccommend this book for a quick, light read. It should suit both F1 fans and non-fans as for the first half of the book, F1 is barely mentioned but concentrates on his advertising work and part time commentating (Mainly motorcycles).
I've always been a fan of Murray's commentary, the enthusiasm and obvious passion in his voice, coupled with those humourous slip-ups, often made dull races seem thrilling (we sure could ahve used him in 2002!). I actually have this book signed, having gone to one of his signings, and he seemed like the pleasant, likable man he is widely regarded as. There is much that people don't know about Murray. The son of motorbike legend Graham Walker (bikes were very much his first love, he claims to have been annoyed when he went to the bike Grand Prix, and someone said "what are you doing here? You're a car man"), his real name is actually Graeme Muuray Walker. He worked in advertising for a full career, having fought in the Second World War (yet has never been biased against anyone, not even Michael Schumacher, a rare and impressive trait in his age-group) and until 1982 his broadcasting career was merely a hobby. Contrary to popular opinion,however, he did not coin the 'A Mars a day helps you work, rest and play' slogan. His life and times have taken in a large amount of motorsport. He first found fame commentating on the gravel-based motocross and rallycross action, and he remenisces at length about those, with great anecdotes, especially the classic 'What Am I Saying?' blooper and the time he went to entirely the wrong town to commentate on an event. He has also taken in events in the Far East, and I pity him for some of the names he had to pronounce in those. As for F1, his 23 years of regular commentary included many great moments, and he shares his opinions as to what Senna, Schuamcher, Prost, Mansell, Hunt etc were like on and off the track. His dislike of James Hunt, which stemmed from James' racing days and lasted until his lifestyle changes (which were too late to save him from a premature death), seems justified on the evidence given here- I guess they were too different. He is reverent about recent colleague Martin Brundle tho, who is almost like the son he never had. However, the number of errors is hard to accept. He refers to Jackie Stewart and Jack Brabham as the only race-winning drivers to win races as team owner- what about Bruce McLaren? At another point, in 1950 he was asked to commentate on a weight-lifting event and recalls asking his wife Elizabeth for help, yet elsewhere he claims to have met her when he was 33- that would be 1956. He seems confused about the technical rules of the Touring Car action he covered as well. But I'll let him off, as overall this is a fabulous archive of a great man's life and times.
Murray Walker has led a fascinating life and I was hoping that his autobiography would cover more of it; as it is after a fairly conventional and chronological first third of the book about his early life, Army service, motorcycling exploits and career in advertising he starts to talk about his broadcasting career and his life in and around motor racing - but the approach tends to become rather thematic rather than chronological and at times the reader does find himself flicking around to work out whether we've just jumped back or forward in time - a bit like some of Murray's more excitable commentaries! I was hoping Murray would perhaps be a bit more candid in his memoirs; reading carefully between the lines you can see where he's less than generous with praise for some people, some circuits, but the tone is resolutely upbeat for most of the book. There are some very moving passages; his wartime encounter with his father, the description of the effect James Hunt's death had on him, and how Murray had to keep going through Senna's fatal accident - all of these bring home just how human he is. The insights into broadcasting - how F1 gets from the circuits to the TV screen - are probably the best parts of the book after the non-racing material. Given how precarious and ramshackle some of the arrangements were no wonder his commentaries were often on the wild side! It's all written with Murray's inevitable charm, enthusiasm and good humour - plenty of it, there are laughs throughout - and perhaps that's why I can't give it five stars; despite the piles of anecdotes, the little insights behind the scenes, I was hoping that one of F1's elder statesmen might share some more of what he's seen... Ultimately Murray Walker is a great enthusiast and this is an enthusiast's book. It's never less than readable, and the style is just as recognisable and friendly as the voice that made hundreds of Sunday afternoons special. I think almost all of his fans will find something to enjoy here.