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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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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.
Top customer reviews
Alex Zanardi, who lost both legs in a horrific crash that nearly claimed his life, tells his story with humor and an eye for detail.
You do not have to be a racing fan to enjoy this book. Alex is a great raconteur who spins a tale that keeps the reader captivated page after page. He never lets you feel sorry for him after he finds out he has lost his legs; you cheer for him as he works his way back to racing.
This is a terrific "feel good" book for any reader.
Of course the main reason that I bought this book was to read about his recovery from his horrendous accident. It did not disappoint.
In addition to admiration for his bravery the reader comes away with a deep appreciation for what a great attitude can accomplish.
Steel yourself for horrendous, abysmal editing. The publisher should be flogged.
The only drawback to the book is that he digresses frequently to talk about his friends and their escapades; sometimes for too many pages. But, once he is back on track discussing his life in racing, the book gets good again. A definite read for anyone - and you don't necessarily have to like racing to enjoy his fight back to health!
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!
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.