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Description - Life of Evel by Stuart Barker

A searching and at times harrowing re-appraisal of the life of Evel Knievel, the seventies American icon and the greatest daredevil motorcyclist that ever lived. Now fully updated in paperback with the story of the last few years of his life and his death in 2007. Stuart Barker's definitive biography captures the super-star status that Knievel held and also examines the marketing phenomenon of a man who once boasted he 'made $60 million and blew $63 million'. Born in the town of Butte, Montana in 1938, Robert Craig Knievel was an outstanding athlete, ski jumper and ice hockey player at school. His early jobs included working in the copper mines and driving a bus as well as a stint in the US Army, but he always subsidised his income through crime ('I could crack a safe with one hand tied behind my back quicker than you could eat a hamburger with two.') He used bikes to escape from the police and eventually hit upon the idea of jumping them after seeing a stunt driver jump cars at a state fair. His first jump took place over two mountain lions and a box of rattlesnakes, and he soon developed his act into the 'Evel Knievel Motorcycle Daredevils' before embarking on a solo career. Knievel suffered 37 breaks and fractures during his daredevil career. In 1967 he spent 29 days in a coma after an attempt to jump over the fountains outside Caesar's Palace casino in Las Vegas. While recovering, he decided to make his goal to jump the Grand Canyon, an attempt he was forced to abort by the US Government; and later was paid $1 million for jumping over 13 double-decker buses at Wembley Stadium. Now, a quarter of a century after he last stepped off a motorcycle, he has been reborn as the originator of Xtreme sports. This, alongside his love of gambling, women and drinking, ensure his legend will live forever. Life of Evel is the story of a truly extreme personality.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780007184590
ISBN-10: 000718459X
Format: Paperback
(197mm x 130mm x 26mm)
Pages: 336
Imprint: HarperSport
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publish Date: 4-Feb-2008
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Other Editions - Life of Evel by Stuart Barker

Book Reviews - Life of Evel by Stuart Barker

US Kirkus Review » Comprehensive, satisfying biography of the self-proclaimed "P.T. Barnum for the modern age."Robert Craig Knievel and brother Nick were raised by their paternal grandparents in depression-era Montana. A youthful ladies' man, "Bobby" carried his inherent charm into high school, where he excelled in sports rather than academics. Fiercely independent, he left school at 16 to enlist in the Army, got married and had a son, yet continued to get into petty local mischief. He doggedly pursued his love of cycling and eventually found a way to make it pay. After jumping over mountain lions, snakes and Mack trucks, Evel (a nickname of debatable origins) kicked his daredevil days into high gear with a jump over the Caesar's Palace fountains in 1967, which placed the white jump-suited stuntman into a month-long coma. His subsequent Herculean acts of daring, which frequently ended in crashes, were bolstered by his brilliant mastery of self-promotion. In 1974, after seven years of painstaking planning, the 35-year-old Knievel attempted to jump Idaho's Snake River Canyon, but crash-landed. His judgment was even more impaired when it came to money and women; he spent far more than the millions he'd earned and during his 38-year marriage had relations with more than 2,000 women (at least according to first-time author Barker's speculations). He spent six months in prison on assault charges and in 1981, pursued by the IRS for tax evasion, vanished for several years. Encouraged by '70s nostalgia, a hip replacement and a liver transplant, Knievel came out of hiding in his mid-50s long enough to enjoy the media spotlight. Rock operas, roller coasters and bendable action figures notwithstanding, his self-feted "accomplishments" were more than matched by the mess he made of his life. But Barker earnestly provides a sympathetic spin by noting that Knievel's greatest stunts occurred during a time in American history when people "badly needed a hero and an escape from the depressing events."Keen and compassionate. (Kirkus Reviews)


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Author Biography - Stuart Barker

Stuart Barker worked at Motor Cycle News, first as a news reporter then as a feature writer and road tester. After four years, he became a freelance writer and has been published in many magazines including FHM, Superbike, Two Wheels Only and Biker. He has co-written books with Niall Mackenzie and Steve Hislop and wrote a bestselling biography of the late Barry Sheene.

Books By Stuart Barker

Barry Sheene 1950-2003 by Stuart Barker
Paperback, April 2004
$22.67
Niall Mackenzie by Stuart Barker
Paperback, July 2003
$26.09