“Bernie Ecclestone: King of Sport” is a revised and updated version of Terry Lovell’s biography of the man who has single-handedly shaped Formula 1 over the past three decades and more.
Scarcely a week passes without us discussing Ecclestone’ latest move, whether it’s the dropping of a well-loved track from the F1 calendar, a new commercial deal or a controversial proposal to revise the championship scoring system.
Plenty has happened in the five years since the original version of this book “Bernie’s Game” was published. So what does “King of Sport” add – and is it worth rushing out to buy?
The text has grown from 17 chapters to 20 – but not all of the new sections contain new material. Interestingly, one paragraph on the Karel van Miert/Max Mosley affair has vanished, and some new material has been added here.
There’s some reference to Mosley’s sadomasochism scandal and Ecclestone’s handling of it, but the majority of the new information concerns Ecclestone’s investment in Queens’ Park Rangers Football Club. That presumably justifies the revised title and the picture of someone kicking a ball on the cover, which will surely help sales.
But little of the developments that have taken place in F1 over the last five years receive much attention. And Lovell must be cursing the timing of two recent news stories concerning Ecclestone that emerged shortly after the publication of this book: the new information about his infamous ?é?ú1m donation to the Labour party in Britain in 1997, and his divorce from wife Slavica.
The original passages are very thoroughly researched – the subject matter does make them difficult reading at times, but to an extent that is unavoidable with a book like this.
But I can’t justify spending ?é?ú18 on this hardback when you can pick up “Bernie’s Game” in paperback for a fraction of the price, and only miss a couple of paragraphs about QPR, much of which is scene-setting that hardly involves Ecclestone.
Also, an introduction drawing attention to the changes and explaining them would have been nice. Without it, the re-packaging of an earlier book with a revised cover that might be more appealing to football fans does look rather cynical.
So in conclusion: buy the cheaper one. That’s what Bernie would do.
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