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James Hunt: The Biography Paperback – March 1, 2003


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Editorial Reviews

Review

'The best biography of a racing driver I've ever read.' Classic Cars; 'Donaldson, in his thoughtful and intimate work, has delved behind the headlines and superbly fleshed out the character behind the caricatures of James Hunt.' Dally Telegraph; 'Covers James Hunt's life with skilful devotion.' Mail on Sunday; 'Donaldson has written a very fine book.' Independent

About the Author

Gerald Donaldson is one of the world's most highly regarded motor sport authors. He has written several books, among them the highly acclaimed Gilles Villeneuve: The Life of the Legendary Racing Driver. He has also recently edited The Formula 1 Anthology. Gerald is Grand Prix Editor of Formula One Magazine.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Virgin Books (March 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0753507358
  • ISBN-13: 978-0753507353
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 5.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,929,713 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 2, 2001
Format: Hardcover
As most motorsport fanatics will know Gerald Donaldson has written some of the best motor racing books ever written, and this could be his best. I expected a style similar to that in his popular Gilles Villeneuve biography, but instead found a very candid and sensitive coverage of all of James Hunt's life that by itself makes a great tribute to James. Painstakingly written and researched aswell. If you liked the Villeneuve book I would say buy this, it will make you laugh and cry.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 23, 2003
Format: Paperback
First of all, I give this book 3 stars as it was not really one of those "can't put down" books. However, it was a good and entertaining read about the life of James Hunt. When you read this kind of book, you never realize what kind of life these drivers lead away from the track. Donaldson describes James' pursuit of racing glory from local club racer, through the F3 ranks and his entry into F1 via the Hesketh squad. This book certainly shows what racing used to be like in the "good ol' days". It's a far cry from today's sanitized life styles on the current F1 circuit. I recommend this book as well as Donaldson's book on Gilles Villeneuve.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By conradb212 on November 17, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Those old enough to have followed Formula 1 racing back in the 1970s will remember James Hunt as the care-free, impossibly good-looking driver who shocked and entertained the racing establishment with the flaky, bombastic Hesketh racing team, but also as the driver who became Formula One World Champion with McLaren after an epic battle with Niki Lauda. Hunt's career was comparatively brief, and, though an athlete and workout fanatic, he died early at just 45.

After watching the movie "Rush" that mostly dealt with that epic 1976 rivalry between Hunt and Lauda, it was interesting to read Donaldson's biography the entire story of Hunt's life, from start to end. It's interesting, enjoyable reading, though there are some overlaps and holes. Donaldson fairly portrays one of the most colorful personalities Formula 1 racing has ever seen, not shying away from covering stunning excess and behavior that no one might get away with today. But that, perhaps, was all part of the charm and mystique of the man.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Professor Joseph L. McCauley on May 27, 2014
Format: Paperback
The book focuses heavily on Hunt's childhood through 1976, his main driving period. Well-written, informative, entertaining, seemingly all of Hunt's blemishes are shown. Both friendship and competition with Lauda are realistically presented, as is Hunt's childish, uncontrollable temper along with his will to drive and win. Very importantly, his fear is exhibited over and over. Some would say that Hunt was not a 'real' driver, his fear confined him to one World championship then he left racing soon afterward. I'm not sure about that judgement. Lauda was far more systematic and far less emotional, was seemingly more professional. Hunt could never avoid looking for a good time, Lauda was apparently focused on winning even off the race course. I enjoyed the book immensely but cannot identify with Hunt's style and ways and certainly won't (superficially) pass judgement. There are many different ways to race and win, and I wouldn't fault anyone for dropping out before losing life or limb.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Love2read on November 19, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Very enjoyable read. A bit of a look further into James Hunt's life and into Formula 1 racing. Was intrigued by him after seeing the movie Rush. Books tend to give you a better view of the person away from the Hollywood condensed version.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By S. Rao on February 12, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
James Hunt was a unique character in the world of Formula 1. A newbie to Formula 1 used to the likes of Alonso and Hamilton will be amazed by Hunt's shenanigans back in the 1970s.

This book is a very well written and emphatic look at a life of a self man who lived his life HIS way. It traces his impoverished beginnings and shows several glimpses of a determined man who would face adversity after adversity and triumph at the end.

You get glimpses of the demons that he was battling throughout his lie - his addictions, failed relationships, etc. It was a pity that the Hunt finally conquered them all only to die from a heart attack soon after.

Hunt is perhaps best remembered for his partying ways but he ought to be remembered for his speed. To win a championship at a time when you had drivers like Lauda, Peterson, Scheckter, etc. is no small achievement.

This is a very good biography - well worth a read if you are an F1 devotee.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Sinclair on October 22, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It would be hard to write a boring book about James Hunt's life but this gets close. Its thorough and complete but never gets under the skin of the man and left me wanting to know more about this complex character.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jeremy Critz on October 12, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
James Hunts's life was a great story. His huge personality and will drove him to win the world championship early and also helped him overcome demons later in his life. His dramatic fight with Niki Lauda for the 1976 championship will forever be remembered in F1. This book was well written and I would highly recommend it to others.
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