Mad, Bad & Dangerous to Know: The Autobiography

Overview

He has travelled to the most dangerous places on earth, almost died many times, raised millions of pounds for charity and been awarded a polar medal and an OBE. In his autobiography he describes how he led expeditions all over the world and became the first person to travel to both poles on land. He tells of how he discovered the lost city of Ubar in Oman and attempted to walk solo and unsupported to the North Pole - the expedition that cost him several fingers, and very nearly ...
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Overview

He has travelled to the most dangerous places on earth, almost died many times, raised millions of pounds for charity and been awarded a polar medal and an OBE. In his autobiography he describes how he led expeditions all over the world and became the first person to travel to both poles on land. He tells of how he discovered the lost city of Ubar in Oman and attempted to walk solo and unsupported to the North Pole - the expedition that cost him several fingers, and very nearly his life.

But Ranulph Fiennes' life shows no sign of slowing down. Three months after his heart attack and double bypass, he completed seven consecutive marathons in seven days on seven continents, and had to endure the death of his wife, who had been his childhood sweetheart. Recently remarried and a father for the first time, his most recent triumph was to climb the north face of the Eiger, one of the most awesome mountaineering challenges in the world.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"[Ranulph's] book is not all about hairy-chested adventure: he also tells deeply movingly of his love for his first wife, Ginny, his childhood sweetheart . . . His courage, determination, stamina—and madness—are truly awesome."  —Daily Express

"It's exhausting just reading about his exploits, so it is a perfect bedtime book. It's delightful to plump up one's duck-down pillows while vicariously enduring Fiennes's successive plunges into the deadly waters of the Arctic, and his festering crotch-rot."  —New Statesman

Kirkus Reviews

Obsessively detailed account of a life spent recklessly adventuring, by "the world's greatest living explorer" (according to Guinness).

Fiennes (Race to the Pole: Tragedy, Heroism, and Scott's Antarctic Quest, 2004, etc.), an older cousin of actors Ralph and Joseph, would seem like a British archetype of eccentric bluster were his feats of endurance not so remarkable. Although he has written about them in specific narratives, this book presents a panoramic view of his life. Conceived during World War II on his father's last leave prior to being killed, it was perhaps inevitable that the youthful baronet would yearn for heroism. As an adolescent at the prestigious Eton school, he earned the titular epithet via numerous pranks involving explosives and wall climbing. Hungry for military adventure, he joined the SAS (akin to Special Forces); realizing his reckless streak would keep him from advancing, he then volunteered for combat in Oman, helping the Sultan suppress a Marxist rebellion. Although tempted by the life of a mercenary soldier, Fiennes was deeply in love with a young woman named Ginny; he married her to keep from losing her, then embarked on a seemingly endless string of risky endeavors while disingenuously mourning time spent away from home. Beginning with a 1970 expedition to survey a remote Norwegian glacier, he pursued numerous sponsored journeys to the far ends of the earth. ("Spend no money on mounting an expedition" is his business motto.) He devoted most of the '70s to an ambitious plan to circumnavigate the globe via the two poles, with no less a sponsor than Prince Charles. This led to more ambitious punishments, like a plan "to reach the North Pole with nooutside support and no air contact." Even after losing fingers to frostbite, Fiennes kept going, ultimately attacking both Everest and Eiger, as well as returning to the Arctic. The narrative becomes a blur of technique, landscape and the baffling dangers faced by Fiennes and his long-suffering wife and associates.

Verbose, engrossing tale of old-school hazard-embracing manhood.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780340951699
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton, Ltd.
  • Publication date: 8/1/2008
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 409,484
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.70 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Ranulph Fiennes is an elite soldier, an athlete, a mountaineer, and a renowned explorer.

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Table of Contents


At First     1
Young Love and the SAS     9
Fighting for the Arabs     28
The Fastest River     38
Ginny's Idea     61
The Bottom of the World     73
Full Circle     95
Hammer and Sickle     132
The Frankincense Trail     146
The Longest Track     153
How Not to Get Old?     177
Solo South     189
Sorry Straits     204
Falling Through     217
Amputations     232
Heart Attack     247
Ginny     269
Almost     282
Vertigo     316
Murder Wall     334
Appendices     359
Picture acknowledgments     386
Index     387
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