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The Life of Senna: The Biography of Ayrton Senna

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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. 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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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. 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.

30 review for The Life of Senna: The Biography of Ayrton Senna

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jeane

    I remember sitting under the table watching the race being 13 years old and first thinking it was just a crash like they happen in F1. Then not understanding well what was happening and just staring, tears in my eyes. The day after I went on a school trip for a week to the Ardennes and I still see the front pages of news when stopping for a break on the motorway. I felt so quiet. This book was in a calm way really nice to read because it seems to be written in a respectfull, beautiful way, while I remember sitting under the table watching the race being 13 years old and first thinking it was just a crash like they happen in F1. Then not understanding well what was happening and just staring, tears in my eyes. The day after I went on a school trip for a week to the Ardennes and I still see the front pages of news when stopping for a break on the motorway. I felt so quiet. This book was in a calm way really nice to read because it seems to be written in a respectfull, beautiful way, while it also gives you facts about Senna as a person, driver. I don't see him as a saint who did everything right and was always right. But he was a driver and person in a completely different category in the world of F1 and till now, nobody has ever come near to who and what he was and did. Reading about what I saw that day, twenty-one years later was good, it felt good.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Douglas Morrison

    I initially read this a long time ago, I had the paperback, and it is now falling to pieces. Weirdly, after sadly having to throw it out, I was in the village (I am No. 6!) and found the hardback in excellent condition in the local charity shop! Two quid, and it was mine. Happy Dayze! This is a huge hardback, with many colour prints and exhaustive research and lists, all dedicated to the author's hero. The legend that is Senna. The thing is, Senna is my favourite driver and has been since he burst I initially read this a long time ago, I had the paperback, and it is now falling to pieces. Weirdly, after sadly having to throw it out, I was in the village (I am No. 6!) and found the hardback in excellent condition in the local charity shop! Two quid, and it was mine. Happy Dayze! This is a huge hardback, with many colour prints and exhaustive research and lists, all dedicated to the author's hero. The legend that is Senna. The thing is, Senna is my favourite driver and has been since he burst on the scene, so okay, this is a fanboy book, but it is well written, well documented and filled with every fact you could ever desire. Senna / Schumacher are the two everyone remembers and tends to idolise from F1s past, and I can understand why. Both were driven, dedicated and talented, but for me, Senna had raw talent and an icy desire to win that surpassed Schumacher's habit of resorting to ‘something violent’ as a solution over better driving. IE Senna was the better driver for me and far more charismatic. The book is a lot to read, and yet you come away feeling like you know and understand the man. Equally, the details of his death are harrowing and horrifying. Brings back the horror of that day and pays as much respect to Ratzenberger as it does to Ayrton. If you’re a fan of F1 or merely of Senna himself, this is an essential read.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Bradley

    A lot of people don't like this biography about Ayrton Senna. Either because it was very late in coming, covers little outside those already on the market (Richard Williams - Death of Senna) & takes more time getting there, is very bias toward Senna, or Tom Rubython is a creepy man with a shady journalism history full of litigation. Anyway, a lot of that escaped me because I quite enjoyed it. Okay, yes, it is ridiculously bias, almost a bible of worship to the late great Ayrton Senna, but I was A lot of people don't like this biography about Ayrton Senna. Either because it was very late in coming, covers little outside those already on the market (Richard Williams - Death of Senna) & takes more time getting there, is very bias toward Senna, or Tom Rubython is a creepy man with a shady journalism history full of litigation. Anyway, a lot of that escaped me because I quite enjoyed it. Okay, yes, it is ridiculously bias, almost a bible of worship to the late great Ayrton Senna, but I was a fan of his back in the day and it provides a lot of interesting details about his life and the correlating events that happened after. Rubython did not write all this by himself, he squashed together his and other people’s work from an old magazine he used to be an editor for… There are some almost inexcusable printing errors, the title on the contents page is ‘The Lide of Senna’ and there is a picture of Senna at Monaco in his 1993 McLaren with the caption dating it as 1983…Regardless, it is a surprisingly enjoyable book to read and as far as I know no one has sued Rubython over it yet.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Clive Maddison

    This book is very well written and gives a detailed and personal view of an extraordinary man. I had no problem getting through this substantial work, but I have followed formula one for many years, including the tragic weekend when Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenburger were killed. I suspect that the book would appeal more to fans of the sport, the movie / documentary is aimed more at the general public who may not actually watch the racing. The book, however, gives much more of the man rather t This book is very well written and gives a detailed and personal view of an extraordinary man. I had no problem getting through this substantial work, but I have followed formula one for many years, including the tragic weekend when Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenburger were killed. I suspect that the book would appeal more to fans of the sport, the movie / documentary is aimed more at the general public who may not actually watch the racing. The book, however, gives much more of the man rather than just the racing driver.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    Just a truly fantastic book. By the end of it, I felt I had known Senna his entire life, and for a book written by someone else, about a person who is dead, that is very very special! It took me 6 months to find something else to read after this because nothing could hold my interest after this incredible book.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Richard Melville

    A great book on one of the greats also really like the movie

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kristina Brown

    Done thoroughly and with great respect for all concerned. The tragic events of Ratzenberger's death that weekend is looked at completely seperately to afford him the dignity he deserves. The authors also carefully consider all the theories and evidence for the cause of Senna's death without claiming to have a definite answer. Senna was undoubtably one of the world's greatest motor racers but this came at a price. He was single minded about winning and believed he should win, to the point that it Done thoroughly and with great respect for all concerned. The tragic events of Ratzenberger's death that weekend is looked at completely seperately to afford him the dignity he deserves. The authors also carefully consider all the theories and evidence for the cause of Senna's death without claiming to have a definite answer. Senna was undoubtably one of the world's greatest motor racers but this came at a price. He was single minded about winning and believed he should win, to the point that it excused any and all behaviour that brought him closer to that goal. He was too aggressive a driver to be a favourite of mine but I can't deny he was most likely the greatest. He comes across as quite a volatile personality, remembering events as he wishes to remember them and using people for his own purposes. Even when he invited the "love of his life" out he hedged his bets and invited some other girls as well. For a large book this has been well laid out so it's easy to read. It's split not only into seasons but also noteworthy events such as his feud with Prost. The downside of this is that the same thing can be reported twice in successive chapters making it sound slightly repetitve, especially when they repeat quotes. The new film seems to be this book brought to the screen. Or perhaps the essence of this book since it focuses on his Formula One career only.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Scott

    Excellent book (although there's a lot of bias). So much detail about the life of a legend. One thing that sticks out is the impact of Senna's death on the racing and the sport's history. Safety grew because of his death, but we are at the point now in 2017 that safety is overreaching. This is Formula One, it is suppose to be dangerous; that's apart of the allure the sport offers. The other impact of his death is Michael Schumacher's records. He probably would not achieved all of what he's achie Excellent book (although there's a lot of bias). So much detail about the life of a legend. One thing that sticks out is the impact of Senna's death on the racing and the sport's history. Safety grew because of his death, but we are at the point now in 2017 that safety is overreaching. This is Formula One, it is suppose to be dangerous; that's apart of the allure the sport offers. The other impact of his death is Michael Schumacher's records. He probably would not achieved all of what he's achieved with Senna around.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Adam Bull

    Despite all the problems Brazilian's were suffering, this man provided them with something to celebrate. This book is the life story of this remarkable man, who meant so much to so many. He is a man the world revered and whose like will never be seen again. Despite all the problems Brazilian's were suffering, this man provided them with something to celebrate. This book is the life story of this remarkable man, who meant so much to so many. He is a man the world revered and whose like will never be seen again.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Riccardo Paterni

    Te topic if the book is fascinating and it feels like decently researched, the writing swings from repetitive to straight boorish; in any case it's a read you cannot put does if you are a motor racing passionate. Senna's unique mystique springs up thought the book: his shear focus; his analytical and often cunning thinking; his total commitment joined by a totally self centered energy while in the cockpit (and this is a great skill for drivers). It is a must read if you want to become a better r Te topic if the book is fascinating and it feels like decently researched, the writing swings from repetitive to straight boorish; in any case it's a read you cannot put does if you are a motor racing passionate. Senna's unique mystique springs up thought the book: his shear focus; his analytical and often cunning thinking; his total commitment joined by a totally self centered energy while in the cockpit (and this is a great skill for drivers). It is a must read if you want to become a better racing driver or if you truly want to understand what the really outstanding ones do...

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jack

    An insightful and broad writing of the life of the late great grand prix legend Ayrton Senna.The books gives an in-depth account of the entire life of Senna from growing up in Brazil and his first forays into motor sport in Europe to his life in the spotlight and ultimately his untimely death.Much has been written about Senna but this book stands up there with the best of them.I recommend this book.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Martyn Morgan

    I am very biased, he was probably one of the best drivers the world has ever known and this book is a very detailed history of his relatively short life. If you loved Senna then you will love the book, otherwise read it as a piece of history.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Lynda Kelly

    This is like a Senna bible and a total brick of a book !!! Mine isn't a paperback either but a hardback but with this same cover. This is like a Senna bible and a total brick of a book !!! Mine isn't a paperback either but a hardback but with this same cover.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Steve Heyman

    Good book, well researched but way too much detail on the trial after the accident.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Haroon Ahmed

    Every time i thought about F1 Reminds me of senna and the book from Monza where legend died

  16. 5 out of 5

    Bjoern Rochel

    The best of the 4 bios on Senna that I‘ve read.

  17. 4 out of 5

    John A Raju

    Halfway through the book, I had decided that this was a five star read, my first for the year. The chapter delineating his death, towards the end, was the clincher. This single heart rending chapter, which described the fatal crash, the gruesome result and the reaction of the spectators, the medical team and people close to him, brought about memories of what I felt when I read about what the partition wrought to the common populace in Freedom at Midnight, more than five years ago. I was fightin Halfway through the book, I had decided that this was a five star read, my first for the year. The chapter delineating his death, towards the end, was the clincher. This single heart rending chapter, which described the fatal crash, the gruesome result and the reaction of the spectators, the medical team and people close to him, brought about memories of what I felt when I read about what the partition wrought to the common populace in Freedom at Midnight, more than five years ago. I was fighting a lump in my throat throughout. It was one thing to know that he died on track, (I had seen the movie Senna as well), but no account I read or watched had prepared me for this avalanche of emotions. But as I mentioned I was prepared to give this a 5 star long before that, simply because of its comprehensiveness. I didn’t get bored at any point and the amount of research was truly impressive. There are 17 appendices where each of his race results, year wise performance, victories, poles, points etc. are listed. And this isn’t limited to his Formula 1 career, but also his go-karting and Formula 3 years. A very impressive piece of work, and will be loved by any Senna/Formula One fan. And any Senna fan would know that his driving wasn’t just about the stats, but also about the emotion and energy expended for himself, for his family and country, and this emotional aspect has been well captured in Rubython’s work as well. Hats off to the work and to Senna as well, one of the most loved national icons of Brazil. Obrigado Senna

  18. 4 out of 5

    Matt Peskett

    For the first three quarters of it you can get past the unbelievable bias of the author as it's a very interesting insight into F1 in the 80's and early 90's, Senna's life and how he got to the top. The last bit dealing with his death and the trial makes you feel a bit nauseous due to the authors, not even thinly disguised, hero worship and reluctance to actually question if Senna could have made a mistake at that final corner. Definitely worth a read. For the first three quarters of it you can get past the unbelievable bias of the author as it's a very interesting insight into F1 in the 80's and early 90's, Senna's life and how he got to the top. The last bit dealing with his death and the trial makes you feel a bit nauseous due to the authors, not even thinly disguised, hero worship and reluctance to actually question if Senna could have made a mistake at that final corner. Definitely worth a read.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Amanda Fletcher

    Overall a good read although occasionally a little repetitive. This book mainly chronnicles the life of Senna during his racing years, skimming over his childhood. It's biggest flaw is probably the very long chapter dedicated to the trial which followed his untimely death in 1994, although I suppose you can easily skip it if you'd rather not hear the technicalities. Overall a good read although occasionally a little repetitive. This book mainly chronnicles the life of Senna during his racing years, skimming over his childhood. It's biggest flaw is probably the very long chapter dedicated to the trial which followed his untimely death in 1994, although I suppose you can easily skip it if you'd rather not hear the technicalities.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Imar

    A thorough account of Senna's life and career, but poorly written; the book mostly enumerates factual statistics without much reflection, and suffers from a lack of final editing that would have given it a more coherent reading experience (especially the journalistic quality of sections on his love life are embarrassing). A thorough account of Senna's life and career, but poorly written; the book mostly enumerates factual statistics without much reflection, and suffers from a lack of final editing that would have given it a more coherent reading experience (especially the journalistic quality of sections on his love life are embarrassing).

  21. 5 out of 5

    Paul

    The most complete biography of Ayrton Senna. Definitely a must read for all his fans and everyone passionate about Formula 1 and motorsport!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Shubham

    One of the best driver formula one history has ever seen.

  23. 5 out of 5

    maxime

    Was hoping this would be the most comprehensive biography on Ayrton Senna, and thus the only biography of him I’d need, but unfortunately that’s not the case. My main problem with this book is the sloppy editing. The chapters didn’t flow into each other very well, and a lot of quotes were repeated, making it quite mundane to read (not to mention the frequent spelling errors). The part about Ayrton’s girlfriends was quite frankly embarrassing to read and the chapter on the trial after his death w Was hoping this would be the most comprehensive biography on Ayrton Senna, and thus the only biography of him I’d need, but unfortunately that’s not the case. My main problem with this book is the sloppy editing. The chapters didn’t flow into each other very well, and a lot of quotes were repeated, making it quite mundane to read (not to mention the frequent spelling errors). The part about Ayrton’s girlfriends was quite frankly embarrassing to read and the chapter on the trial after his death was way too long and elaborate. On top of that, the author was clearly biased in its writing, and I was hoping this biography would be written from a more objective point of view. What I did like were the photos by Keith Sutton that were included, which provided an image to the stories that were told. This was especially useful for a younger person like me who wasn’t alive when Ayrton was racing. All in all, this book could’ve easily been reduced to around 400 pages instead of 600, making it a much easier read. I don’t understand why a rough draft like this has been republished several times after its release in 2004 and not been changed enough to produce a better quality. Wouldn’t recommend it.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Meredith

    4.5 stars…Here are some thought rambles about this: This took me a bit to get through as it’s very heavy content. Senna lived an incredible life, and I understand why people view him as one of the greatest drivers in the sport. He almost seems magical but that’s his pure talent. Reading how he squeezed as much as he could out of a car even though it had no business ever performing that well speaks to his abilities. I liked how involved and close he was with the engineers…I wonder if all drivers 4.5 stars…Here are some thought rambles about this: This took me a bit to get through as it’s very heavy content. Senna lived an incredible life, and I understand why people view him as one of the greatest drivers in the sport. He almost seems magical but that’s his pure talent. Reading how he squeezed as much as he could out of a car even though it had no business ever performing that well speaks to his abilities. I liked how involved and close he was with the engineers…I wonder if all drivers are like that? I wish I could have seen him race live. His legacy that was carried on by his sister through his foundation is amazing. There are some great quotes throughout this for sure. He was definitely an intense, focused person. The pressure he experienced near the end of his life sounds unmanageable. The trial surrounding his death was exhausting to read about and it sounds like it was even more exhausting to experience. There were some typos throughout the book but nothing too terrible - mostly just sections repeated in slightly different ways. Could have used a stronger editing hand. All the photos included make this a 5…while the writing makes this a 4.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Matt Chambers

    The definitive guide to the career and life of Aryton Senna For anyone wanted to read more about this great man then this is the essential guidebook. His career is covered in great detail throughout. Of particular benefit is the interviews with contemporaries and team bosses which really add to the story. One of the big positives of the book is the insight it gives into Senna as a man and the positive things he did for Brazil and the founding of the Ashton Senna Foundation by his sister after his The definitive guide to the career and life of Aryton Senna For anyone wanted to read more about this great man then this is the essential guidebook. His career is covered in great detail throughout. Of particular benefit is the interviews with contemporaries and team bosses which really add to the story. One of the big positives of the book is the insight it gives into Senna as a man and the positive things he did for Brazil and the founding of the Ashton Senna Foundation by his sister after his death. It was particularly interesting to read in detail about his persona relationships, especially his final relationship and the feud it caused with his family. Also, reading about the trial after his death was very good. This book feels very comprehensive and well researched and will provide new and enlightening information for any Senna fan. An essential addition to any motorsport library.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Ibrar Malik

    Useful research for my upcoming book www.1994f1.com Rubython's book is good (although there's a lot of bias) with detail about the life of a legend. One thing that sticks out is the impact of Senna's death on the racing and the sport's history. Safety grew because of his death, but we are at the point now in 2018 that safety is overreaching. This is Formula One, it is suppose to be dangerous; that's apart of the allure the sport offers. The other impact of his death is the suspicion directed tow Useful research for my upcoming book www.1994f1.com Rubython's book is good (although there's a lot of bias) with detail about the life of a legend. One thing that sticks out is the impact of Senna's death on the racing and the sport's history. Safety grew because of his death, but we are at the point now in 2018 that safety is overreaching. This is Formula One, it is suppose to be dangerous; that's apart of the allure the sport offers. The other impact of his death is the suspicion directed towards Schumacher and Benetton in 1994 because Senna was convinced they were cheating. My upcoming book investigates this.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ivan Nešković

    The book is extensive, well written and gives and in-depth look to Senna's life. I can't say that I'm a fan of F1, nor that I was a fan of Senna, since I was 3 years old when he died. I read this book because I wanted to learn more about him and F1, and with that in mind, the book served its purpous. Had I been a fan of F1, this book might have been a 5-star read. This way I felt certain parts were too long. However, I think this is a good book about Senna's life, his image and life philosophy. The book is extensive, well written and gives and in-depth look to Senna's life. I can't say that I'm a fan of F1, nor that I was a fan of Senna, since I was 3 years old when he died. I read this book because I wanted to learn more about him and F1, and with that in mind, the book served its purpous. Had I been a fan of F1, this book might have been a 5-star read. This way I felt certain parts were too long. However, I think this is a good book about Senna's life, his image and life philosophy. I would recommend it even to those who aren't big F1 fans.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Lauren Furey

    After seeing the docu-film Senna, I really wanted to know more about Ayrton's life. So, discovering a book called 'The Life of Senna' seemed like a great place to start. Sadly, the focus of the book is 95% Senna's Formula One career, and it skims over details of his upbringing, family, charitable work. I didn't feel there was anything to gain from the book having already seen the film, which is a shame as this is a HEFTY book. It's also riddled with typos. After seeing the docu-film Senna, I really wanted to know more about Ayrton's life. So, discovering a book called 'The Life of Senna' seemed like a great place to start. Sadly, the focus of the book is 95% Senna's Formula One career, and it skims over details of his upbringing, family, charitable work. I didn't feel there was anything to gain from the book having already seen the film, which is a shame as this is a HEFTY book. It's also riddled with typos.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Andy Young

    The is by far the definite account of that tragic weekend at Imola in 1994, when the motorsport world was changed forever after the deaths of Roland Ratzenberger and Ayrton Senna. Although this book focuses primarily on the life of Senna, it also sheds light on Ratzenberger’s incredibly short career and how those events impacted the motorsport world.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Dana

    My son read this aloud to me. It was an interesting story about a Formula One driver, but it was poorly edited. It often read like a series of articles put together into one book. Countless times, Senna's girlfriend Adrienne was referred to as his "new girlfriend." That was tiresome. The trial section was very disconnected from the story of Senna's life as well. Just okay. My son read this aloud to me. It was an interesting story about a Formula One driver, but it was poorly edited. It often read like a series of articles put together into one book. Countless times, Senna's girlfriend Adrienne was referred to as his "new girlfriend." That was tiresome. The trial section was very disconnected from the story of Senna's life as well. Just okay.

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