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Alex Zanardi: My Sweetest Victory: A Memoir of Racing Success, Adversity, and Courage Paperback – October 25, 2004


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 420 pages
  • Publisher: Bentley Publishers; First Edition edition (October 25, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0837612497
  • ISBN-13: 978-0837612492
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 5.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #539,347 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Alessandro "Alex" Zanardi was born in Bologna, Italy in 1966. He began racing karts in 1980 and made his Formula 1 debut eleven years later with Team Jordan. In 1996 he joined Ganassi Racing to compete in the CART Series and moved to the United States. He won consecutive CART championships in 1997 and 1998 before returning to Formula 1 in 1999 with Team Williams. In 2001 he rejoined the CART series with Mo Nunn Racing. On September 15, 2001 he lost his legs in a dramatic crash during a race at the Eurospeedway in Lausitz, Germany. In May, 2003, after 19 months of rehabilitation, Zanardi began his comeback by piloting a modified Champ car around the Eurospeedway to complete the "unfinished" laps of the tragic 2001 race. At Monza, Italy in October, 2003 he returned to competition in the European Touring Car Championship series, driving a specially modified BWM touring car. In 2004 he raced the full season of the ETCC for Team BMW Italy-Spain. He has also resumed two! of his favorite pastimes, swimming and skiing. Zanardi lives in Monaco with his wife Daniela and four year-old son, Niccolò. In response to the outpouring of support from the racing community and his fans since his crash, Zanardi has founded the Alex Zanardi Foundation to raise money for children's charities worldwide.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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See all 13 customer reviews
The way that Zanardi deals with his adversity is humbling and inspirational.
Gerry
His story-telling is rich with details and he completely charms you with a combination of bravado and self-effacing humor.
Lyra B
If you are an auto sport fan, or simply a Zanardi fan, you will enjoy this book.
Michael LaDeau

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Jim B. on November 24, 2004
Format: Paperback
As a long time racing enthusiast, the pay off for me was watching the nuts and bolts of someone building a career. The fact is that Zanardi worked incredibly hard, and with huge focus to become a successful driver... and it worked! He is one of the most successful open-wheel racers in U.S. history. Then the crash and the whole battle of over coming incredible odds starts again -- bare bones.

I agree with the reviewer who says that Zanardi is definitely the center of his story, but it's a memoir. If it were fiction, I don't know how I'd feel, but it isn't. Alex does not promote himself as a saint or anything but a regular guy. He definitely didn't set out to become the poster-child for recovery; but he has tacked the challenges in his life with (a Mediterranean?) intensity.

Zanardi's childlike enthusiasm are core to his success and survival: He is very emotional guy. Most of the time, I find his tone and emotional honesty positive. Sometimes, the voice gets a little whiney, or just too emotional for me. But I was hooked, the basic story is incredible and inspiring. And it's the real deal. God help me if I have to deal with these challenges. I hope I'm half as graceful and positive.

Overall, I can only give Zanardi, and his book, my best rating.

For what it's worth, the book has more color photos than I can remember seeing in a relatively cheap book. It's got an interesting, if cheerleading, foreword by Mario Andretti, and a more or less complete career chronology at the back, with maps. My best $12 read in a long time.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Gabriele Pedone on October 5, 2004
Format: Paperback
Being Italian I had the opportunity to read the original book. I began reading at night time, and it was a big mistake because I could not put it down. The book is really cool it has funny parts and you really laugh. But the book makes you emotional when Alex talks in details about the horrific racing accident. My mother, who does not like racing, liked the book a lot and found it very inspirational. I think it's a story that crosses the motorsport community. If I could paraphrase Lance Armstrong I would say "It's not about the car". I just bought the US edition because I'm eager to read Mario Andretti's foreword and the exclusive new chapter that was not in the Italian edition. My suggestion is buy it, it's worth it!

Ciao

Gabriele
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Lyra B on December 1, 2004
Format: Paperback
This book taught me the power of approaching life with a positive attitude. Throughout Zanardi's life and career he keeps coming up against people who tell him, "that can't be done." Then Zanardi brings to the situation his unique passion, curiosity, and optimism -- and proves the doubters wrong. And nowhere is this approach to life more evident than in the way Zanardi deals with his rehabilitation after losing both legs in a racing accident. He refuses to accept the limitations that people want to impose on him as a double-amputee. Instead he gets curious, focuses on solutions instead of problems, and ends up walking, swimming, skiing, and racing competitively again.

The book is written as if Zanardi were sitting down to a long dinner with you and telling you the story of his life. His story-telling is rich with details and he completely charms you with a combination of bravado and self-effacing humor. It was very interesting to learn what it takes to rise up through the world of open-wheel racing. Any young person who wants to race professionally could learn a lot about how it's done from this book (and how difficult a career choice racing is).

And he tells with the same level of detail the devistating story of his accident, the slow recovery from the edge of death, and his challenging adjustment to life with no legs. His curiousity and determination during his rehabilitation are infectious. There's no room for pity in Alex's story. Instead he has you laughing as he speculates about what height he'd like to be with his new prosthetic legs!

In his Author's Note at the back of the book, Zanardi claims he wanted to share his story in case it could give hope to any other people who have had to face difficult challenges in their lives. I'd have to say by that standard, this book is a great success!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Paul on November 22, 2004
Format: Paperback
It's great to finally hear Alex tell the inspirational story of his racing career, as well as the terrible accident in Germany. Reading the book is like hearing Alex tell his story in his own voice. The pictures are terrific too, like browsing through the Zanardi family photo albums.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By S. Kolinjavadi on September 15, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Alex Zanardi was a truly inspirational competitor on the track and one of the best characters off it. His fightback against crushing odds and his chase to have his life back at normal are inspirational and uplifting. For those who marvelled at his CART days and wondered about the disappoint at his F1 with Williams, there is some explanation here. There is no doubt that he is an exceptional driver and even more so an exceptional human being. He is now racing in the world touring car championship for BMW.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Michael LaDeau on January 19, 2005
Format: Paperback
Although this book has moments when the narrative loses its rhythm, it is still organized and it is meaningful. Moments when the narration deviates off course can be managed by imagining Mr. Zanardi sitting with you at a Cafe, telling you all his memorable moments and anecdotes. He always has a great regard for his fans, so I can imagine this meeting easily. His narrative deviates like most casual speakers when he chooses to tell some extra information about the current subject, perhaps jumping to another time in his life. Still, the book reads well. The book is an English translation, and the translation is a good one.

In my opinion, Alex Zanardi lifts a huge burden from his fans. Please read this book to see how. His enthusiasm towards his American fans is obvious.

Alex Zanardi, as well as his best friends (like J.V. and T.K.), provides such a model for us in sportsmanship and acceptance of our human nature. This book shows how the best find each other, and support each other. Does Mr. Zanardi ever give up being this role model? Read to find out. Does Alex take his share of responsibility when his career is not going so well? I have a better idea about this now. Does he take or share the credit when things go well? Any fan who has watched him knows how gracious he is.

My review is about how I appreciate what Alex Zanardi has done and how he tells us about it. If you are an auto sport fan, or simply a Zanardi fan, you will enjoy this book. I imagine that anyone having to experience rehabilitation will find a true companion in this book. I can also imagine someone enjoying this book just for Alex Zanardi's sense of humor and how he manages it in this highly competitive endeavor of life. It is a fun read and very much appreciated.
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