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The Death Of Ayrton Senna by Richard Williams is one of many books that have been published about this racing legend. Unfortunately, this one, like many other books of its type, feels like nothing more than a cash in. I truly feel that Williams, while he may be a racing enthusiast, didn’t write this because he cared, but instead because he’d already been a published F1 writer, and figured he could use his name and the name of someone really big to make a little extra money. I bought this book purely because it was in Waterstones. I didn’t think, I just grabbed it. Books about Senna are thin on the ground in the North East of England, so when I see them I grab them. While I was waiting to pay I read the first chapter. It was moving, interesting, and made me think that the author really cared. I was looking forward to getting home and reading the rest. I was disappointed. The first chapter is about the funeral. It describes a country in mourning. Old and young, rich and poor, united in their grief. The scene is very vivid, and the emotions very strong. But it’s all downhill from there. The title is *The DEATH Of* yet most of the book is about his life. <rant mode>I don’t want to read about his life. I know all about that. I know he was the greatest racing driver ever. I know he wanted to help children. I know more about Senna than is contained in this book. I want to read about his *DEATH*. The cover says the book has been updated with information about the trial. Well, I want to read about the TRIAL. I want to know what was said in there. I want to know why he died, how he died. I want to know what was said in that 40 minutes / 1 hour that he spent with Frank Williams before the race. I want interviews with those Brazilian friends he had lunch with (if they’re willing) I want ANSWERS. Who was it who hid the fact that Ratzenberger died AT the c
ircuit? Why wasn’t the race cancelled? That’s what I want to read - Not some stupid journalists self indulgent rubbish about how great the guy was and how clever he is for pretending he knows how the guy thinks.</rant mode> Sorry. Can you tell I’ve got strong feelings here? The information I mention there will probably not come out until Frank Williams or Bernie, on his death bed and overcome by guilt calls a journalist and confesses. Of course, that will never happen, but I can dream. I didn’t expect such shocking, major facts from this book, but I did want more than I received - I know that there is information about Senna’s last days out there. I’ve read a breakdown of his last day or so, hour by hour, meal by meal. I’ve read a 36 page synopsis of the trial. I’ve read Sid Watkin’s thoughts. I’ve even read Adrianne (grrr) Galisteau's thoughts. I’m just a ‘normal person’. Someone who has already written about the F1 World should have access to more information than me. Why didn’t he telephone The Institute to interview Leo or Vivianne? Or did he try and they turned him down? Even his life isn’t covered in great detail here. For a book that critics say gets ‘close’ to Senna there’s nothing in here. Some stuff about his early racing career, run-downs of his great races and lots of waffle where Richard Williams tries to explain what he thinks was going on in Senna’s head when he raced, but nothing else. Nothing about how much Senninha (the cartoon character) is really like Senna was as a child. No interview with his ex-wife, no real detail about his relationship with Xuxa or with Adrianne. Where was the mention of Quinda, his dog, or the amount time he spent with his nephew? What about his hobby of flying model aircraft? To be honest, a few more quotations from him would have been nice!
That is how you understand who Senna was - not through his driving, but through what he said and did when he wasn’t driving. This book really needs to decide what it is. If it is about his death, then it should have spent more time on it. If it is about his life, it should have been three times as long. Either way, Richard Williams should have spent more time writing about Senna and less time giving his own thoughts. Williams doesn’t give the reader a chance to make their own decisions - he hands the ‘solution’ to them on a plate. Explains everything. Assumes a complete lack of understanding of Formula 1. How he can do this I don’t know. What person who does not understand or care about the sport would be reading his book? It bored me, and I’m a fan. I suppose those who came into the sport post 1994 but who don’t want to know much about Ayrton would like this book, but why not just spend 25p to pick up ‘They Died Too Young: Ayrton Senna’ from a discount book store? That is a truly good book - it doesn’t preach, just tells the bare facts. If you want to know more, then pick up a Christopher Hilton book. They’re miles better than this one. If you’re not an F1 fan then this opinion has probably bored and confused you. If you are a fan then you either sympathize and agree or think I’m crazy and going over the top. Perhaps I have, but I’ve read good Senna bios and this isn’t one of them. It’s cheaper than most of the others, but that’s because it’s short and contains nothing new. If you want information, but can’t afford to buy some of the others, search the net - you’ll get more than what’s in this, and in a more enjoyable form too. Sorry again for the rant, and in case you couldn’t figure it out from the opinion, I don’t recommend this to a friend :-P
Richard Williams leaves no stone unturned as he examines the life and the untimely death of Formula One legend Ayrton Senna.; he gets deep into the psyche of this complex Brazilian as he analyses his character and attempts to discover the reasons behind the driver's burning desire to win. It was, Williams believes, a desire which a precious few drivers have--an inherent belief within Senna that he had the divine right to victory.