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Summary

Alfred Wainwright's unique hand-drawn and hand-written Pictorial Guides to the Lakeland Fells have been an inspiration to walkers for over 40 years. Yet despite many bestselling books and three television series, Wainwright remained an intensely private person.

With full access to Alfred Wainwright's private letters and unpublished material, Hunter Davies reveals a man more passionate, witty and generous than readers of his guides have come to expect. This biography throws a surprising light on a man who has been an enigmatic and misunderstood person.

©1995 Hunter Davies (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about Wainwright: The Biography

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Fascinating individual...

What did you like most about Wainwright: The Biography?

I love the way that Hunter Davies writes...I'm a big fan of his so I'm biased, BUT the book is so diverse from start to finish. From a humble start in Blackburn, to the dizzy heights of Borough Treasurer, a marriage where he was not very nice to his first wife Ruth and I felt very sorry for her and the way that he treated her, to the love of his life...this has it all.

I first read it about 10 years ago and I wrote to Hunter Davies to say how much I enjoyed it. He sent me back a lovely postcard of his house in Loweswater saying that I now had my very own postcard for the Lakes...what a charming man!

What did you like best about this story?

I guess the main thing was just how dedicated he was in his writings (13 years in the making for his Guides to the Lake District) plus the relationship with Betty his second wife and how late it was in life that he found her...and love...gives us all hope!

What does Stephen Thorne bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

He brings the book to life and does a very good job of impersonating Wainwright, excellent stuff.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No, not really as it is too much to take in and it was great to revisit various chapters...

Any additional comments?

If you are a Wainwright fan this is a must, but if you are not it's still a great read and tells a real life fascinating story of an existence that is both sad and also a story of a man in love not with just the Lakes and beyond, but his second wife Betty. Hunter Davies also brings his very own stamp to it, with humour, charm and style... loved it from start to finish...

2 people found this helpful

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  • Di
  • 29-04-18

A Must!

For anyone with an interest in walking in Lakeland. A.W’s guides are a must. We’ve had the guides since the 1970’s and have thought we knew lots about the author, how wrong. I have really enjoyed listening to this book and have learnt that there was so much more to the reclusive character. Lots of laughs along the way. Excellent.

1 person found this helpful

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Revealing biography about a grumpy guy

This is a story of a very single-minded man who became famous for his books on the Lake District. His behaviour was a paradox and that of a very driven individual. He left school early and trained to be an accountant in Blackburn. He married young and had a son. Very soon he regretted being married to that woman and moved to Keswick to be in charge of the finances leaving wife and son behind. Eventually he met someone else and the story of their courtship make fascinating listening. His penchant for walking over hill and dale led to him writing guidebooks for walkers in the Lake District from which he gained a great deal of money. A large portion of this was given to the formation of an animal rescue centre in the Lake District. Paradoxically when Wainwright died he left nothing to his son only to his beloved second wife and the animal rescue centre. Another paradox: why was such a fluent and prolific writer relatively poor in one-to-one conversations? He was a more than competent artist. After years of refusing to be interviewed, why did he agree to a number of appearances on TV to talk about walking. A strange but highly competent individual with a soft spot for certain women throughout his life.

The narrator nicely adjusts his voice when Wainwright is quoted verbatim and well maintains the momentum of the story and makes the story flow along.

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The story behind the man ...

I thoroughly enjoyed this reading of the man who gave us the charted, pictorial guidebooks to the all of the 214 Lakeland fells. It is quite extraordinary that it was ever written in the first place: of a man who was so private in his everyday life. Beautifully read and an interesting insight into Alfred Wainwright himself.

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A W

Well written and read. A thoroughly interesting account of Mr Wainwright’s life. Recommended listening to all.

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Great Book..!

Really enjoyed this book, it gave me an insight into Alfred Wainwright and Hunter Davies done a great job.

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Great overview of everything Wainwright

After recently climbing my first Wainwrights and subsequently buying the pictorial guides, this seemed like a good place to start to learn more about him. A fascinating and thorough biography that left me teary eyed towards the end.

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  • R. Rogers
  • 24-03-15

Revered as a passionate fell walker BUT

a pathetic excuse for a human being. Why do we lionize men like Wainwright?
The author shows us the humour, the egoism, the love of walking as well as the appalling treatment of women and his only son.