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Review: Biographies
Almost the only kind of book I enjoy reading is an autobiography

I have reviewed those I have read to tell you whether a book is fantastic, and really taught me something or made me think (Bob Geldof), whether it is good but for fans of the subject only (Niki Lauda), or whether it is poorly written and I couldn't finish it (Victoria Beckham).

There is also a link to buy each of the books at Amazon.

Quick links to the subjects:
Victoria Beckham
Richard Branson
Jeff and Tim Buckley
Carl Fogarty
Bob Geldof
Michael Hutchence
Ulrika Jonsson
Reg Kray
Niki Lauda
Frank Skinner
Lady Diana Spencer
Murray Walker
Alf Weaver

SubjectTitleBiog/Auto RatingBuy it!
Victoria BeckhamLearning To FlyAuto, 2002 Buy it!
Don't bother. I bought this when I had time to kill and needed an easy read. No disrespect to the subject, but it's dire. What happened to the ghost writer? Surely he could have salvaged something? Save your money.
Richard BransonLosing My VirginityAuto, 2002 Buy it!
There's far more to Branson's life than the Virgin empire, and here we learn how he made a pioneering magazine as a student, and nearly died while ballooning. The book is thick and imposing but it's not a difficult read, and quite rewarding. A must for would-be enterprenures, or for a different perspective.
Jeff and Tim BuckleyDream BrotherBiog, 2001 Buy it!
Both Jeff and Tim met death at a shockingly early age (which also meant that they barely knew each other, although the resemblences are strong) and this book weaves chapters of one life between the other. It's a difficult read and took me a couple of attempts before I was hooked, but it's rewarding and did something a book rarely achieves - motivated me to find out more once I'd completed it. As a result not only am I a long-term fan of Jeff, but a convert to Tim's work too. Persevere with it.
Carl FogartyFoggyAuto, 2001 Buy it!
Lewd and rude, with no stone unturned. This is a story of Foggy's conquests - sexual, fights, and a few paragraphs about bike racing too. He comes across as a cruel and arrogant man, and is not worth reading unless you're a fellow wide boy.
Bob GeldofIs That It?Auto, 1986 Buy it!
An incredible book leading up to the final moments of Live Aid. Bob's fascinating upbringing, through to forming a band and then being moved to act against famine in Ethiopia. It's a brutal, honest read, easy to get into and compelling to complete. My favourite book. Everyone can take something from this.
Michael HutchenceJust A ManBiog, 2000 Buy it!
When Hutch died, his ashes were split three ways so everyone in his unreconciled family could have a piece. This knowledge sets the tone for the bias experienced in the book. Written by Hutch's mother and sister, this is an unforgiving view on his family life and final days. For fans it does offer extra information on Hutch's life, but it's hard to fight through the bitterness of the authors.
Ulrika JonssonHonestAuto, 2002 Buy it!
This book was a gift, and Ulrika is not one of my favourite people. Don't be put off - it is an excellent read. It quickly reaches the contraversial rape description, and takes you through Ulrika's life - from her agony at leaving her dad behind when she came to England as a child through a series of affairs to her heartbreak at hearing her daughter would have medical problems. If you've ever wondered what kind of woman has affair after affair, this book will answer your question!
Reg KrayA Way Of LifeAuto, 2001 Buy it!
An interesting view on life, telling of prison days. That he has written at all is impressive when you see his spelling in the appendices! Easy to read, this book adds detail to my own perception of the Krays' nature - and makes their lifestyle, while never acceptable, more understandable.
Niki LaudaTo Hell And BackAuto, 1986 Buy it!
Niki dives straight into the action, and it's easy to read. He offers insight (for example, that he could see the state of his opponents' tyres) and gives his frank opinions on people like Nelson Piquet, Ron Dennis and Enzo Ferrari. Assumes that you know the F1 regulars. A must for fans.
Frank SkinnerFrank SkinnerAuto, 2002 Buy it!
This book is hilarious. It had both myself and my partner laughing out loud. Whatever you think of Frank Skinner, this book will take you with it and change those opinions. The writing style is straightforward and easy to get along with (down to "skip this if you don't like football"). It's fascinating how he decided to get into stand-up and kept plugging away at it, but most of all it's very, very funny. Even if you think you hate Skinner, you'll love this book.
Lady Diana SpencerDiana, Her True StoryBiog, 1992 Buy it!
I'm not a royalist, but read this because of the hype and controversy surrounding her affairs and the way she was treated by the royal family. This is a sympathetic book, which examines her life in detail with, it was revealed, her full cooperation. Not a lot to learn and take away from this book in terms of lessons for life, but an interesting read.
Murray WalkerUnless I'm Very Much MistakenAuto, 2002 Buy it!
Although Murray's history is interesting, this is written in an awkward, slow style. For those after Formula 1 information, this only occupies chapters 10 and 11 (of 16) and doesn't offer any insight. Miss this unless you really love the man.
Alf WeaverThe First Rock'n'Roll BodyguardAuto, 2001 Buy it!
A lighthearted but entertaining read about Alf's time as a bodyguard - without intending to namedrop, this book is full of famous people and their quirks, from Frank Sinatra to Kylie. Good fun and easy going.

This page last updated: 19 July 2004



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