I approached this book with a great deal of enthusiasm. Hunt passed away just as I was beginning to follow Formula 1 in earnest, so while his voice was familiar to me, his life-story (in detail) was not. I can't honesty say whether or not Rubython's effort represents the be-all and end-all of Hunt biographies, but it's certainly a dense and lengthy text that takes us all the way from his birth, his F1 ascendency, and to his eventual death in 1993.
The length of the book is a little deceptive. Rubython has done his research, but occasionally indulges himself to a degree that bores the reader, as evidenced by his description of Suzy Miller's post-James relationship with Richard Burton. It was time and effort that could of been better spent elsewhere, particularly as it was quite clear that the relationship had little bearing on James after the initial separation. What also struck me with this particular book is that Rubython doesn't appear to have had much access to the people who were closest to James. The quotes attributed to his family and closest friends are often quotes that appear to have been simply dragged from other biographies, press-clippings or documentaries. How about breaking some new ground? Walker, Ecclestone, Fittipaldi, Lauda, Scheckter...I would've loved to have heard more from these men who were so prevalent in his life. But my biggest criticism I save for Rubython's sometimes disrespectful assumptions. How is he to know who James did and did not truly love? I found his occasional leaps of logic where James emotions were concerned a bit hard to swallow.
All in all, this is a pretty dry telling of Jame's quite obviously rich life. James was quite clearly a guy that could inspire great admiration one moment and contempt the next. The book frankly bored me at times when it shouldn't have. He was a man of real contrasts, but more effort by the author to understand and explore his psyche would've been appreciated.
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