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Mad, Bad & Dangerous to Know: The Autobiography Paperback – August 1, 2008


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Mad, Bad & Dangerous to Know: The Autobiography + Fit for Life: Reach Your Personal Best - And Stay There + Beyond the Limits: The Lessons Learned from a Lifetime's Adventures
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton (August 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340951699
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340951699
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 5.1 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #541,440 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"[Ranulph's] book is not all about hairy-chested adventure: he also tells deeply movingly of his love for his first wife, Ginny, his childhood sweetheart . . . His courage, determination, stamina—and madness—are truly awesome."  —Daily Express

"It's exhausting just reading about his exploits, so it is a perfect bedtime book. It's delightful to plump up one's duck-down pillows while vicariously enduring Fiennes's successive plunges into the deadly waters of the Arctic, and his festering crotch-rot."  —New Statesman

About the Author

Ranulph Fiennes is an elite soldier, an athlete, a mountaineer, and a renowned explorer.

Customer Reviews

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The book was so informative and well written.
francoise robertson
All in all this is an interesting and inspirational book and if you enjoy adventure/survival books then this is well worth reading.
Spider Monkey
The book and the man seem to be bigger than life.
Danny E. Geroy

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Bo Østergaard Jepsen on March 21, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Awesome is a sadly overused word these days, but I genuinely think it is the most fitting word to describe the man that is Ranulph Fiennes.

The life of Sir Ranulph Fiennes is the stuff of legends. Special Forces, mercenary, author, in consideration for the part of James Bond after Connery, arctic explorer, in fact "Worlds greatest living explorer" as judged by Guiness Book of World Records, ran 7 marathons in seven continents in seven days only half a year after bypass surgery. Not many people can, even with a bit of poetic liberty in their description, match the resume of Sir Fiennes.

In this gripping, well written, fantastic book, Sir Fiennes describes some 40 years of adventures and expeditions, including a stint in the service of the sultan of Oman, blowing up 20th century fox property, circumnavigation around the globe along the Greenwich meridian, amputating four fingers on his left hand in his garden shed, each and every single one of these stories in itself worthy of a book on its own.

There are many, many autobiografies on the market today. Most of them are from celebrities with less than extraordinary lives offering a bit of entertainment, but here we have a genuine, awe-inspiring, effulgent adventurer who has done it all telling his story. We learn of the physical stamina and the strength of will it takes to be an arctic explorer, of the sacrifices and bounties connected with that particular endeavor, and of the wonderful and dangerous place our earth can be.

In spite of his amazing track record, he is modest and down to earth. He doesn't claim to be the 'toughest man alive', but tells his story in a casual, humouristic, and self-deprecating manner.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Ned Middleton TOP 500 REVIEWER on June 23, 2009
Format: Paperback
Sir Ranulph Twisleton-Wykhan-Fiennes was once described by his prospective father-in-law as "Mad, Bad & Dangerous to Know." He is also described by the Guinness Book of Records as "the world's greatest living explorer" and this is the major part of the story of his life. I say `part' because, since this book was published in 2008, Ran Fiennes (as he is known) finally conquered Everest - at the age of 65!, in early 2009.

Throughout the book there is one single overriding quality which stands out above all others; For all the accolades poured upon this man, few bother to mention the fact that he is an engaging writer with the gift of capturing the reader's attention. Whether he is white-water rafting or walking to the South Pole, he has the knack of including his readers as part of the team and takes them along for the ride. This is why this book is so hard to put down.

It is an honest account of the life of someone unable to sit still. From his earliest recollections and formative years we move on to his service as an officer with 22 SAS and being required to leave after some exuberant exploits with explosives (and a betrayal by the press!) from where he later re-emerges as a Trooper (private soldier) in one the SAS reserve squadrons. An illuminating account of his active service in Oman is followed by an even more exciting narrative in which, his team travelled along some of the most dangerous and uncharted rivers in the world from the Yukon to the USA as a celebration of British Columbia's centenary. He was also considered by Cubby Broccoli for the part of James Bond!

The next 16 chapters are filled with expeditions and explorations too numerous to mention here.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Spider Monkey on July 24, 2010
Format: Paperback
Ranulph Fiennes has lead a most extraordinary and inspirational life and `Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know' is the autobiography that recounts it for us. He has participated in numerous endurance events and has achieved many world first explorations and to read of his tenacity and determination is at times awe inspiring. From his early days in the SAS, boating the Yukon, the worlds first global circumnavigation via the poles, a desert archaeology expedition, an Antarctic crossing, running 7 marathons in 7 days across 7 continents, his attempt at climbing Everest and finally his Eiger climb, this book offers up adventure and explorers spirit on every page. This is written in a clear and engaging style, although I did find it lacking in real emotion at times. It is a rich, description of his various exploits, but you never truly know how he feels about them. There are two sections of photos, but these aren't on the glossy paper typically used for these sections in books and they are in black and white. Never the less, they illustrate the various expeditions and events from his life well. All in all this is an interesting and inspirational book and if you enjoy adventure/survival books then this is well worth reading. Other polar books worth reading if this has piqued your interest are `Mawsons Will' (which is one of the best Polar books I have ever read) and the account of James Cracknell and Ben Fogles Antarctic race.

Feel free to check out my blog which can be found on my profile page.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Ilya Grigorik on June 20, 2009
Format: Paperback
Somehow I thought that the explorer stories such as the ones Ranulph Fiennes dedicated his life to are nothing but a thing of the past - it's all been done, right? Nothing further from the truth. A gripping autobiography about an amazing life story: SAS, mercenary in the middle east, world explorer, and an amazing speaker and author.

Ranulph offers a view into his childhood and education (a roller coaster, to say the least), his early years in the army, and his graduation for what most of us know him, his arctic expeditions! The book offers plenty of fascinating expedition stories and encounters with the extreme temperatures and situations - his determination makes you appreciate what we're all capable of if we put our minds to it.

As only aside, I strongly recommend you pick up the Audio CD presentation by Ranulph: "An Evening With Ranulph Fiennes". The content overlaps with the book, but offers a much more graphical perspective that will make you both laugh and cry in pain!
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