Book Review: Shunt – The Story of James Hunt by Tom Rubython
I haven’t seen the new Rush movie yet but when I do it will be interesting to compare it to Tom Rubython’s Shunt -The Story of James Hunt. A better comparison might be Tom Rubython’s other book “In the Name of Glory – 1976 The Greatest Ever Sporting Duel” which I have yet to read. […]
I haven’t seen the new Rush movie yet but when I do it will be interesting to compare it to Tom Rubython’s Shunt -The Story of James Hunt. A better comparison might be Tom Rubython’s other book “In the Name of Glory – 1976 The Greatest Ever Sporting Duel” which I have yet to read. Shunt is probably the most indepth researched biography of James Hunt. Its easily the thickest book in my collection and at 700+ pages is not the easiest to carry around or read while commuting to work.
While Christopher Hilton’s book Memories of James Hunt managed to get access to interviews and quotes with Hunt’s family and close personal circle, Tom Rubython has gathered details from those in the paddock including Max Mosley, John Watson, Stirling Moss, Jackie Stewart, Jody Scheckter, etc.
Stirling Moss and Jody Schecker open the book with the prologue and foreword. The book’s 46 chapters are then roughly organised into blocks of 3 years starting with Hunt’s death in 1993, going back to look at his childhood years in 1947-1955, schooling 1955-1964, racing minis 1965-67, Formula Ford 1968-69, Formula 3 1969-1972, F2, F1 debut 1974, First Win in 1975, the 1976 season (over 7 chapters), defending the world championship in 1977, parting with McLaren, friend Ronnie Peterson’s death, retirement and his post retirement pursuits.
In between the chapters on his racing career, Rubython tries very much to delve into Hunt’s off-track personal life with his string of women and family relations. If you’re not particularly in this stuff then parts of the book can be a distraction.
The book has a number of photos including B&W family snaps, early career racing and many famous color photos. The rear appendices also contain a very detailed compilation of his career statistics including all his race wins and poles.
Rubython acknowledges that most of the Hunt family declined to participate in the book, he relies heavily on earlier published material and interviews with other writers, ex-drivers and ex-team personnel to collect his information. There is no doubt this is a heavily researched book but in some ways its more of a compilation of biographical data. Rubython makes it clear that he didn’t personally know James Hunt and a lot of his own opinions come from. Personally, I think his book ‘The Life of Senna‘ is much better written.
Much of the book also tries to cover Hunt’s off track personal life, so for purist racing fans who are only interested in reading about Hunt the racer and don’t care for the paparazzi style personal insights, there might be a little too much extra miscellaneous content. Gerald Donaldson’s biography might be a more compact and focused read, however for readers who are looking for a very comprehensive all in one book on James Hunt from cradle to grave (literally), this one isn’t bad.
Wow Factor or Money Shot: Candid Photos images from his Hesketh Racing days.
Suitable for: Fans of James Hunt and British GP drivers