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The Life of Senna: The Biography of Ayrton Senna

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The Life of Senna: The Biography of Ayrton Senna

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    Available in PDF Format | The Life of Senna: The Biography of Ayrton Senna.pdf | English
    Tom Rubython(Author) Keith Sutton(Photographer)
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This is an illustrated account of Formula One driver Ayrton Senna's life. It examines every detail - from his early days, to his first race and on to his world championships to his pole positions and finally his death and its aftermath.

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Review Text

  • By T. Wright on 15 August 2011

    As a fan of Senna's from the early 80's, I have to say I found this book a good portrayal of his life, career and obssessively driven complex nature. I couldn't put it down as I read familiar facts/stories from new and varied sources. Mr Rubython and his team are obviously big fans of the man themselves and their enthusiasm for their subject shines through (though, by no means biased as Ayrton's flaws are also portrayed here).So, why only 4 stars if it's so good? Like other reviewers, the repetition of some facts/stories got tiresome after a while. The over-dramatisation and elaboration in certain events weren't needed - Senna's story has enough true drama in it to fill the book (and then some!) no problem. The love story with Adriane however was completely OTT in slushiness (I felt nauseated at points) and some facts were at odds with what she had written in her own book about her time with Ayrton (not sure whether this was down to Adriane or the author!). The portrayal of his family trying to split them up was not truly presented and one point I will make in his familiy's defence since I felt this portrays them as controlling and meddling - Ayrton had fallen out with Adriane for 4/6 weeks or so prior to deciding to give it another go with her in Portugal because she had a) had glamour photo's taken which offended him, & b) she had allegedly been calling her ex from his house and apartment when he was gone (some an hour or so long). He did love her but this upset him (and his family) greatly. Thus his silence from her in the run up to Imola and why he never even called her on her birthday (it's in her own book, though she omits to elaborate fully!). So, He showed his family his itemised bills to ask their opinion and that's why they grew to distrust and dislike her so - they had welcomed her into their lives and home until then. A very private family, they were embarrassed by this and thought that Ayrton deserved more (thus Leonardo asking him to think about committing to her. He wasn't being machaevellian, just trying to look out for his Brother who was at that point vulnerable and at an unhappy place in his life because of what was going on in his career. Makes their treatment of her at the funeral more transparent and understandable don't you think? Yet, there is no mention of this in the book which I think portrays his Brother Leonardo in an unfair light (almost jealously leachy when this wasn't the case. They were just very, very close). Also, consider the fact that she was in a relationship with someone else only 9 months later - this from an interview from herself - Another millionaire - patterns! Again, not mentioned.). So, overtly pushing the rosy romance element IMHO ruined it some-what. He'd fallen in love with her, but she had hurt him. It wasn't a true portrayal (kind of like 'The News of The Worlds' version of their love affair, LoL!).The emotive detailisation of his death and accident really got to me - keep the kleenex at hand (You'll need the box, not the packet and I'm not the weepy kind!). I had to reach for the malt after this part. The presentation of the possible causes/scenarios of what brought about the accident are really informative and detailed, but explicit and harrowing - but could it be put any other way? No, I don't think so (although a bit shorter might have been kinder!) as the whole weekend of Imola was harrowing and you can't change it. The explicit descriptions of his wounds could've been toned down (again, overt dramatisiation when it wasn't required), which I felt took away some of the magic which could've made this book really exceptional.So, apart from that, and a few other minor errors this is a great read, a (mostly) decent and detailed portrayal (Just skip the accident analysis if you're of a sensitive disposition is all I'll say). As a fan, I'd give this the thumbs up. Ayrton, warts and all. Focused, Charming, ruthless, warm, kind, petulant, single-minded, generous, heroic, cold yet emotional, and the consummate driver who fought (and won) against a corrupt system on his own terms to become the biggeast icon in F1 that he was and continues to be.

  • By WMG on 23 August 2004

    Books on Aryton Senna have become something of a cottage industry, since his sad demise - all the more reason for them to do justice to someone, of whom Frank Williams said was "first and foremost an amazing human being and secondly, a great racing driver." So it's no mean task and this is quite an enjoyable read in places, but does not quite get there.Firstly, there is little in the book that we did not already know about Senna and seems to collate a huge number of quotes already in the public domain from other books and press articles. Also, as other reviewers have commented, it is very repetitive and contradictory, with the same quotes surfacing on more than one occasion, which undermines enjoyment of the reading. To say the least, it seems as though the book has had little or no pre-publication proof reading.Evidence of this is also to be found in the number of basic errors, which for a writer of Rubython's repute, must be embarrassing - for example, unless I was following a different formula, there were no Wiliams-Hondas in 1991 and Senna did not win at Monaco in 1983....a good eight months before he actually raced an F1 car, let alone started winning with one.Secondly, for me at least, the most damning part of this book was the dismissive and contemptous attitude towards Alain Prost (in which the writer seems to dislike Prost more than Senna did). In this regard, I beleive the writer has completely missed the point. Firstly, no one would seriously beleive that Prost in terms of sheer skill (if not outright speed) was anything other than well-matched to Senna? One of the reasons they fell out was because they threatened each other's supremacy. To suggest that Senna's biggest rival was Nigel Mansell is ridiculous. By attempting to be-little Prost, the writer actually detracts from Senna - one of the things that made Senna so great was that he overcame the genius of Prost with sheer speed and will to win and raised the bar to an impossibly high level. Jo Ramirez's old quote even surfaced in the book when he said 'they only ever worried about each other,' meaning that the others never came close...but that's yet another contradiction.One other aspect of the book, on which readers can only draw their own conclusions, was the candid and hellishly graphic description of the medical details of Senna's accident. I personally found it a little upsetting and others more sensitive than I, will be shocked. I wondered if we really needed all that detail, afterall, Sid Watkins, a key player in the unfolding horror, specifically said in his book, that he would not be going there. I had heard that Senna's family strongly objected to the book; if that's true, it's not difficult to see why.Putting this to one side, it was not a bad holiday read on the whole, but I am ultimately disppointed, as it promised far more than it actually delivered. The only time we will get the definitive book on Senna is if someone such as Nigel Roebuck could download the collective memories of Ron Dennis, Alain Prost, Frank Williams, Jo Ramirez and Gerhard Berger. Now that would really be something.

  • By Mark G. Scheuern on 11 September 2004

    The dust jacket blurb says "It is a story that has never been fully or properly told, and it is a story that needed to be told." Unfortunately, it still needs to be properly told. While not totally without interest, Rubython's book is deeply flawed thanks to very poor (or perhaps no) editing. Rubython has a clunky writing style and awkward sentences abound. Stories are told repeatedly as if he has forgotton what he's already written. The book also contains some factual errors that should have been caught before publication. More subjectively, the anti-Prost bias seems very evident and the book suffers for it. It's easy to get the impression that Prost was no match for Senna and that's obviously not true.On the positive side, some of the stories are interesting if not particularly new and the human side of Senna comes through. There are some nice Keith Sutton photos though, again, probably nothing that we haven't seen before. I'm left with the impression that the author tried hard but wasn't quite up to the task, was hurried, and was let down by his publisher.

  • By MR M J COOPER on 16 July 2004

    Released 10 year's after Senna's death, this huge biography is certainly well researched. It covers many aspects of Senna's life before, inside and outside Formula 1. As such, it is fascinating. If however you've read a few other Senna biographies, you won't find much new. Indeed the Life Of Senna feels like the ultimate distillation of everything previously written about the driver. The book would benefited from more rigorous editing. There is a great deal of repetition and duplication between chapters. If removed the book's occasional meandering nature would have been replaced with a feeling of pace - something more befitting of the book's subject. That said, I've enjoyed it greatly and would recommend The Life Of Senna to any fan.

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