Shunt: The Story of James Hunt, by Tom Rubython
Hardcover, © 2010 The Myrtle Press, ISBN 9780956565600
With his bumper biography of Ayrton Senna to his credit, journalist Tom Rubython’s latest offering is an in-depth and up-close account at 1976 World Champion, James Hunt.
The first thing you will notice about this book is that’s it’s huge. At over 750 pages, this isn’t just a biography of a single man, but a look at the entire 1970s era of Formula 1, where drivers smoked, drank, partied hard and enjoyed extramarital affairs. This is both an historical narrative and a thrill ride.
Hunt was both a man and a myth, who achieved international recognition inasmuch for his on-track exploits as what he did away from the circuit. Hunt was well-known for his dalliances with many beautiful women, and Rubython makes no attempt to shy away from the issue.
Equally, he gives a great account of Hunt’s early years – it often being a weak part of many driver biographies over the years – recounting his childhood and his first tentative steps into motorsport in a Mini.
It wouldn’t be a proper Hunt biography without a proper investigation of the key players of his day, and Rubython provides outstanding accounts of Hunt’s main rivals, particularly Niki Lauda and Ronnie Peterson.
And the team which launched Hunt’s F1 career, the one and only Hesketh operation, is also given this treatment. A playboy racer driving for a playboy team, the two fit like a glove, and they were crucial to forging the public persona that so many fans identified with Hunt.
As an historical account of Hunt’s life, this is truly superb. It’s not written with the same degree of sentimentality as Gerald Donaldson’s earlier biography of the racer-turned-commentator, but the level of detail is truly something else.
For a serious Formula 1 fan, or even for someone who wants to learn more about a bygone era of motor racing that is now sadly a distant memory, this is a must-read.
Using our unique ‘Chequered Flags’ rating system, we award Shunt: The Story of James Hunt…
OUT OF A POSSIBLE FIVE.
Shunt: The Story of James Hunt is available at specialist bookstores. Our review copy was supplied to us by Renniks Publications.
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