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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 1 April 2003
A thoroughly well-written account of the life and times of a man who brought pop-star fame to a sport previously seen as the domain of stoic gentlemen. The book goes into exceptional detail when looking back over James Hunt's career as a public-school eduacted loner who found himself the subject of mass adulation. The racing side of Hunt's colourful life is superbly dealt with, but I felt that some of the juicier details of the extra-curricular activities that also made Hunt such an interesting character are just alluded in a way that suggests that the author feels embarrassed, or that they could tarnish the image of the subject. To me, these extra stories would further enhance the reputation of a man who was a great racer, but above all one hell of a great lad!
This minor criticism however, should not dissuade any fan of Formula 1 from reading more about a fantastic character who lived through a time when racing was racing and drivers could be cavaliers on the track and off it.
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on 9 August 2004
Since James Hunts' sudden and untimely death in June 1993 I held certain beliefs and opinions of him, his career and his relationships.
The author of the book, Gerald Donaldson, dispelled some of these opinions through his excellent work.
James will always be a personal hero for me, it was he and the Hesketh team who attracted me to F1 (in the exiting days), his talent was not lost in the commentary box with Murray Walker - he will never be replaced.
How can a man adored by so many live for so long without true love?
When he finally found a true love in Helen Dyson, he was taken from her and us.
Thankyou Gerald Donaldson for this work - truely an excellent and evoking read.
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Gerald Donaldson having previously provided two of my favourite motor racing biographies, Fangio and Gilles Villeneuve, I eagerly anticipated his biography of James Hunt. I was not disappointed. This is a superb book and Gerald Donaldson is to be congratulated not just on the quality of his writing but also on the quality of his research. Having known James Hunt briefly, early on in his racing career, I was familiar with the details of his racing to which this book provided a valuable aide memoire. What I was less familiar with were the details of his childhood, personal life, and the years following his abandonment of his racing career. In all these areas Donaldson throws a very large light. This is a very informative biography.
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on 3 October 2005
Having also read the author's excellent biography of Gilles Villeneuve I was eager to get my hands on this book. Once again, I was not disappointed.
Donaldson attempts to explore all sides of Hunt's character through the different stages of his development, and succeeds in producing a well-written account of the legend's life. He achieves a good balance between the kind of factual reporting of the driver's career which is available elsewhere, and a probing insight into the complex nature of the man. It is the latter which will probably appeal more to most readers, and the author does a decent job of bringing together the many diverse recollections of those who were close to the subject.
If I have one criticism it is levelled at the publishers, who have left this edition littered with too many small and annoying printing errors. Don't let this put you off though: this book will appeal to anyone who enjoys a colourful story.
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on 27 June 2016
Here it is. The full biography and it seems as complete as it gets. It gives you a perfect insight of James Hunt's life. I strongly advise it for any F1 fan from the 70s and of course to any James Hunt fan.
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on 25 September 2012
I have never been a very big Grand Prix fan but as a child of the 70s, James Hunt (and of course Barry Sheene) was a playboy icon and seemed, certainly to me as a young lad, to be the epitome of glamour ,with a life full of speed, Martini cocktails, girls, danger and controversy.
So,reading the story of James Hunt after all these years was something of a revelation. There was glamour, there were girls , there were thrills and spills but also downs, and very severe downs they were too. Hunt was, as is usually the case,a far more of a complex personality than the public persona suggested and the author explores his character in a sensitive but honest and open fashion.
I found this book to be an enthralling,enlightening, exciting and fascinating read. The thrill and glamour of the races, the determination of the drivers (not just James), the intrigue between F1 racing teams (notably it seems, Ferrari), and of course the ladies, contrasts with the sadness of marriage breakdown, the on set of depression and a sense of loss and isolation but then positivity and redemption through his children.
I came away with not only a new found respect for James Hunt as a driver and as a person but also for F1 drivers in general. A book that's a must for any sports fan,or for those who still wish they could have been just (or even a little bit) like, Hunt the Shunt.
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on 3 January 2014
I used to watch James Hunt and his peers racing in the 70s. This book provides a lot of context to that time. It also starts when James is very young and so you can understand how he became what he was to some extent, though in some ways he doesn't appear to have been a product of his environment. Overall this feels like a well researched biography and I am still enjoying reading it.
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on 2 April 2014
I bought this biography after seeing the film Rush about the 1976 world championship but I wanted to know more about the character of James Hunt. This book delivers in spades and I could not put it down. I am not a grand prix fan but this book has made me an unlikely convert. It captures not only the essence of what made a great and unconventional man tick but for those of us who knew little about formula 1 racing it opens up a whole n new world. I totally respect the drivers and applaud their commitment in the face of such dangers.
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on 8 July 2014
What was this guy on! The book is extremely well written and is interesting. Every paragraph about his life off track is action packed. The Forrest Gump film had Forrest dancing with Elvis Presley, being interviewed with John Lennon, American football, Vietnam war, being shot in the buttocks, etc etc. This book goes way way beyond that.
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on 25 August 2015
It is a well written good read. I enjoyed the book immensely, and it covers in great detail Hunts racing career. I would have liked a bit more insight into the man behind the persona, and the later part of his driving career. In some was Donaldson is a little too reverent to Hunt, not challenging his accident prone driving or drink & drug problems. But the last chapter is spectacularly poignant and brilliantly written.
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