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On the Edge: My Story


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On the Edge: My Story by Richard Hammond
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"Not quite "warts & all", but a fascinating read."
4 stars"

Richard Hammond will be familiar to many as one of three presenters for the popular English TV series Top Gear, in which off-beat stunts and challenges involving vehicles of all kinds (including combined harvesters!) are conducted amid much hilarity and fun. One of these challenges which went horribly wrong, is the main focus of this book.

In a move which seems more risky than usual, Richard Hammond decides to drive a rocket powered dragster (capable of speeds in excess of 300mph) at an airfield, to see how fast he can go. Having read this book, I'm amazed this stunt was permitted – it's scary to read how difficult to drive these cars are.

“On The Edge: My Story” details the build-up to him taking the controls of the dragster, minute by minute descriptions about the successful runs, the catastrophic crash itself which left him in a coma with a dangerously swelling brain, and his recovery and eventual return to the Top Gear series. It's sobering stuff, but interesting.

The introductory chapters give a bit of an autobiography establishing Hammond's early fixation with speed and vehicles, and the journey towards his dream job (being a presenter for Top Gear). Some of the later chapters are written by his wife Mindy, and I get the impression Hammond held back a fair bit regarding his post crash experiences, but I still found this a fascinating and at times moving read. A good one!

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.


Richard Hammond is one of our most in-demand and best-loved television presenters. In September 2006, he suffered a serious brain injury following a high-speed car crash. ON THE EDGE is his compelling account of life before and after the accident and an honest description of his recovery, full of drama and incident. An adrenalin junkie long before his association with Top Gear, Richard tells the story of his life, from the small boy showing off with ridiculous stunts on his bicycle to the adolescent with a near-obsessive attraction to speed and the smell of petrol. After a series of jobs in local radio, he graduated to television and eventually to Top Gear. His insights into the personalities, the camaraderie and the stunts for which Top Gear has become famous, make compulsive reading. It was whilst filming for Top Gear that Richard was involved in a high speed crash, driving a jet-powered dragster. His wife Mindy tells the story of the anxious hours and days of watching and waiting until he finally emerged from his coma. In an extraordinarily powerful piece of writing, she and Richard then piece together the stages of his recovery as his shattered mind slowly reformed.The final chapter recounts his return home and his triumphant reappearance in front of the cameras.

Author Biography

Richard Hammond is internationally famous for co-presenting Top Gear; he also presented Brainiac: Science Abuse, Should I Worry About...? and Time Commanders, and he was a team captain on the BBC2 quiz show, Petrolheads. He writes a weekly column in the Daily Mirror.
Release date NZ
May 29th, 2008
Country of Publication
United Kingdom
Weidenfeld & Nicolson
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