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on 24 June 2004
Ah Jeremy Clarkson, both hated and loved up and down the country, and proabably abroad too! one thing you have to admire about Jeremy is his brutal honesty and lack of fear about saying whay he thinks, coupled to his amazing ability to create metaphors that would make Frasier Crane weep you have one very funny book!
but dont think this book is mostly about cars, its about all facets of life, from living in london, moving to the countryside and why kids are just so uncontrolable, i doubt you could read it without finding one thing to disagree with, but you will probably find a lot to agree with as well!
A damn fine entertaining read thats not to heavy on content but very big on laughs and style!
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on 8 October 2003
Jeremy Clarkson... everyone has an opinion about him. He is to tact what creosote is to interior design, heck, he may even be proud of such a comparison. However, he's driven more cars than most of us and once you get past his striving for controversy his writing is pretty damn good in my view.
Born To Be Riled contains the articles Clarkson has written for The Sunday Times and Top Gear magazine, writing about new cars and topical issues of the time. No-one escapes, especially Americans and inhabitants of Norfolk! Needless to say the central theme is cars and whilst some of them are genuine reviews there's a fair view of what I would call observational humour, spotting the different type of drivers and car owners.
I found this to be an entertaining read, although not something I'd necessarily read in a continous setting; each article is only a couple of pages long so you can easily read a few, not read the book for a few weeks and pick up where you left off without any problem at all. I'm a big fan of Clarkson so as expected found each article amusing and entertaining.
If you regularly read Top Gear and the Sunday Times then you really won't gain anything from reading this book, unless you're such a fan you want to read it all over again.
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VINE VOICEon 20 February 2007
I must say i was a bit surprised that after buying this book and taking it home that I discovered that most of it was written in the 90's. The book is made up of a large number of short Clarkson views on anything and everything, mainly to do with cars, but not always. So he talks about new car realease, but unfortunately they are now old.

The saving grace for the book is that Clarkson does have a way of writting that makes you either mad (particularly if you live in Norfolk, Birmingham and many other places), laugh, or in agreement with his views on political views, old people, the law etc.

Its a good read, shame it relates to topics and issues that all happened pre 1999.
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on 22 November 2004
Clarkson invites us to see the world from through his eyes, having read the book i can confirm that driving is the main talking point as you would expect, however Clarkson shares his comical views and opinions on almost everything you can think of, and often you can find yourself agreeing with him.
Buy it!
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on 1 June 2004
EDIT: Please look at the update below for some further thoughts. I've changed my rating accordingly.

===Original review as written follows===
Clarkson has always been a controversial character. He aims to deliberately offend while most other motor journalists dare not even breathe a swear word at a car they hate, for fear of being excluded from the next launch party. However, in his crusade to annoy, anger and aggravate, he brings a lot of honesty and a single-minded obsession that many so-called car reviewers lack. I consider him to be the "Simon Cowell" (albeit no where near as funny) of the motoring world...basically, if he says a car is crap, he is probably right. Sometimes his views are so sharp and spot on it hurts, other times they make you cringe and the rest of the time they are downright confusing. Either way, this book is a must read...as long as you are not the CEO of a car manufacturer or a resident of Norfolk...;-)
If this world had any justice, the Politically Correct brigade would be banned and this book would be a best seller...
===End original review===

EDIT 24/01/2016: In light of recent comments Mr. Clarkson has made, I feel I need to update my review. At the time was book was a good read to my younger self. It still is an interesting look into the mind of, frankly, a relic from a by-gone era that still persists for possibly complex societal and psychological reasons beyond my understanding. However people have to be aware that Clarkson, by his very nature, is an offensive person and seeks a lot of publicity. However society has moved on in many respects. By all means, buy the book and have a good laugh but keep in mind the kind of person he is.
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on 7 March 2007
You would be forgiven for buying this book and thinking you were getting something new - in fairness, it does say in the small print on the back that the book is a collection of "classic" Clarkson, and that it was first published in 1999, but even that (should you spot it) doesn't give any indication of just how old and irrelevant the contents are.

The book is simply a compilation of newspaper articles from the 90s, many from the very eary 90s, so most are at least 10-15 years old. The problem is that newpaper columns tend by their nature to be fairly topical, and so throughout the book it is genuinely hard to understand what the topical references relate to.

In my view, this is just lazy and cynical publishing - Clarkson has already been paid handsomely to write these articles as a columnist in the first place, so to simply collate it all together and pretend it is something new is greedy and misleading.

Its not that Clarkson isn't funny, he is in places as always, but you just can't help feeling cheated for paying good money for this recycled rubbish.

This book would be OK if you want a trip down memory lane from the last decade, but avoid if you are expecting something more contemporary.
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on 15 July 2002
For anyone who enjoys Jeremy Clarkson's brand of acerbic wit and sardonic humour, this book is a must-have. I laughed out loud, even at the car reviews (and I am not a car lover.) Highly recommended.
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on 19 April 2007
If like me you read Clarkson to be amused by his ranting then you won't be disappointed. Sadly as articles are often put in contex of current issues the book hasn't aged well. Often articles are irrelivent and his remarks on the cars often dated due to the release of new novels.

For a first Clarkson book I would recomend one of the newer ones, but for seasoned Clarkson fans the book will make you laugh and all to often nod along with Clarksons rants.
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on 22 May 2016
I normally like clarksons stuff but he really chanced he's arm witn this tripe. Normally he has bags of humour and interesting subjects to talk about but not in this. Do yourself a favour and burn your money instead because at least your time wont be wasted reading it
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on 1 January 2008
I bought this for my husband for Christmas and, despite him liking Clarkson, this book is an irritation because its once-topical content is completely out of date. When contemplating buying it I checked the publication date to make sure it was recent - so it would feel current, and so it was less likely he'd already read it. The date of publication was listed as Jan 2007 - seemed pretty safe. I assumed the hardback would have been about a year earlier. It's currently number 26 in the Amazon 'Humour' chart, but when I bought it in mid December I think it was higher in the chart, again giving the impression of something current. I only read the most recent Amazon reviews, which were written in 2007 - if I'd read ALL the reviews and checked the dates they were written I would have seen that some of them were written several years ago, but usually you're looking for people's impressions and not proof of the book's age!
When my husband received the book and started to read it he was a little peeved to discover that the book refers to lots of events which took place during the 90s, such as discussing car launches for cars which aren't even made any more, having been discontinued and replaced! He checked the inside front cover and found that the book was FIRST published in 1999, but seems to have been compiled from newspaper articles which went back much further than that, to the early 90s.
To reprint it now in paperback as if it's a new book is cynical, greedy, misleading and wrong. People will obviously buy it thinking the material is new or at least reasonably in date! No doubt it's been bought widely by people who like Clarkson and people buying Xmas presents for people who like Clarkson, thinking they know what they're getting. Soooo.... lots of disappointed and irritated buyers, and more cash to line Clarkson's pockets and those of his publishers. I'll think twice before buying another book by him.
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