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on March 31, 2003
I read 15-20 motor racing related books per year, and this one has to be right at the top of the list in entertainment value & a general lesson in life. When I purchased it, I had little knowledge of who the author was; I knew from following Formula One that he had flirted with a drive in that category, and I knew he had some sucess in sports car racing, but I knew nothing else about his career or life.
Mr. McCarthy has a truely unique style of writing that lets the reader re-live all of the ups & downs with him. He writes very freely, just as if he were talking to you; much like the style of Niki Lauda in his autobiography. Parts are as funny as anything I have read in this genre, & parts make you wonder why he keeps going back to bang his head against the wall, literally.
Through the entire book, & it sounds like his entire life, he never looses his sense of humour, or sight of his goal. This guy has perseverance!
I was totally entralled from cover to cover, but I do admit I was surprised that he didn't go into a little more detail concerning his races. I then realized that I could go to one of the many racing annuals & read race detail, but he was giving me a behind-the-scenes look at the sport, not usually available.
This is a great book, & I highly recommend it to anyone who either aspires to a goal, or has driven a car, or wants to drive a car...or has seen a car...
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on September 7, 2003
Being an F1 fanatic, I had just finished the great book by Murray Walker. Looking for another �good� book about F1, I found this gem on Amazon. Mad Dog is among other things, a fighter and you have to give him credit; getting into the worlds most expensive sport with no cash is quite a feat.
The book is very well written in a Conversational style that makes you feel like one of the �rat pack�. Like F1, it�s paced at the speed of taking Eau Rouge flat out. After reading this story, you certainly wish you were one of the blokes lined up to give him money. He has a charm and whit that is infectious and translates well in print. I strongly recommend this book. Not to learn about F1, but to learn about Perry. To learn something of risk, gambles and the will to succeed at all costs. The parallel stories of his mates; Hill, Blundell and Herbert are equally entertaining. The overall story of his father, who was foreshadowing Perry�s own career choices and paths, is a welcome angle to this book as well. In short, this book was a total surprise and treat for anyone that just likes good stories of life and struggles in the motor racing world.
To Perry, I say good luck to you sir. You have had a difficult road to travel but what memories it has provided for you, and now me.
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on November 8, 2002
Many people are familiar with the stars of racong. In Formula One today, it's Michael Schumacher. Ten years ago, it was Ayrton Senna. This story is about the people on the other end of the grid.
Perry McCarthy knew very little about racing until a friend took him to a racetrack. Perry immediately became hooked and started on a quest to be World Champion.
You won't believe the hard luck that he has along the way. He does make it to the pinnacle of motor sports, Formula One, in a roundabout sort of way.
There was a baseball book called "Good Enough To Dream" that was written about minor-league players. This is a book about someone that is even closer than that, a fraction of an inch away from realizing everything that he ever wanted.
You might think that someone in that position would be bitter, but McCarthy displays a sense of humor that will keep you turning the pages! And along the way, you meet up with the like of Damon Hill, Johnny Herbert, and other familiar names.
A nice addition to your Formula One library.
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on June 6, 2011
I enjoyed this book for the insight into what it takes/took for McCarthy to try to break into F1. In fact the trials he went through to just be racing driver were amazing, he continually got knocked down yet picked himself up and pushed on. That was admirable, and I found it amazing his family/wife stuck with him. That part of this book was fun and interesting. But I found the writing boring and definitely not as humorous as other reviewers, there are some humorous moments at the beginning but I kept looking for all the "funny" that other reviewers talk about...and just couldnt find it.

I adopted McCarthy's ethic and pushed on, but I could have just as easily put it down and forgot all about it. Instantly forgettable is not a quality I like in a book. As for the author himself, what some interpret as tenaciousness I found to be more like entitlement. Maybe its a cultural difference but I found myself not really liking McCarthy the more I read. I dont find him to be a very good story teller or writer, but maybe he just needed a little editing help. I bought this because of all the positive reviews, but I disagree. As an insight into the politics and dog eat dog of the racing world its pretty good, but as a well written book and a good read...not so much. There is a difference. Steve Matchett's books are far more interesting and well written then this.
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on September 30, 2015
Great read! If you are an aspiring driver, or even just an automotive race enthusiast, you would be doing yourself a disservice by not reading this book. This will give you an insight into just how racing works, with humour and candor. Maybe in the end, this will either fuel the fire to find a way to race or for you to delve deeper into just how the financials work in automobile racing.
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on April 26, 2016
I read this in two days, so funny, well written and well organizaed this book is.

I bought it out of sheer curiosity. Bear in mind the following: McCarthy's history is not different from hundred of others: good results in the minor Formulas, good press, then finding doors closing and closing, until retirement (or a resurrection in other kind of car racing).

The difference here is the humour, his persistence, the amazing amount of bad timing and unlucky mechanical failures, until finally arriving in Formula One in the worst team possible (Andrea Moda) where the boss simply HATED him, to the point of entering two cars just for the sake of following the rules. The boos hated McCarthy because he could not sign another driver (Enrico Bertaggia) who had US$ 1,000,000 in sponsorship, because the team already had changed their line-up of drivers the maximum number of times. So he was stuck with McCarthy.

McCarthy writes without resentment or vengeance. The history moves forward at warp speed (he is a big fan of Star Trek), near complete bankrupt, until finally the sun is shining with the fruits of recognition of being The Original Stig in the British mega TV hit "TOP GEAR".

The book is not essential in any collection of motor racing books, even being a best seller. But it is indeed good.
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on March 13, 2013
Honestly, I was hoping to find out more about the Stig and the Top Gear show, so if you are feeling the same way you would not have to bother getting this book. This book is more about what it takes to become an F1 driver and the relationships established on the way there.
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on January 2, 2013
I follow formula 1 very keenly and am quite updated about the latest websites as well as relevant books. I ordered this one because of the praises that this book had received on amazon but have to say that I am thoroughly disappointed after reading it. Yes, it is funny at times and in the overall scheme of things in life this may have relevance to persistence or perseverance but I found it hard to finish because it was not getting anywhere. There wasn't any achievement which is the hallmark of formula 1 as a game. The author blathers about his stupidities which I believe has been found to be amusing by many.
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on July 2, 2013
Alot has been written about the sharp end of the grid. few have written about the tailenders. This was a great view of the struggles of a man just trying to reach his dreams. He suffers through with a smile and a laugh.
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on March 26, 2009
Perry McCarthy tells you how unbelievably hard it was - with immense humor, irony and determination about how he successfully fought his way to a Formula 1 drive. But in some respects, that is only half the story as the other half is about sheer willpower and passion for doing what you believe in, regardless of the level of difficulty or the level of cost!! A great book that reads at a fast pace as you try to keep up, lap after lap, team after team, page after page.
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