In September 2006, Richard Hammond 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.

"It has to be said I have reviewed and read hundreds of books on brain injury and for the most part have become a little immune to the impact of some. But every now and then a corker comes along and I write a review because I must share it with you all. This book is one of them! It is written by Richard and his wife Mindy and focuses largely on the run up to, and the aftermath of ‘the crash’. The book is clearly written by them – we all know Richard’s voice and his wicked sense of humour and when you read the book it is actually his voice speaking to you, which kind of personalises the book and draws you in.

In the section where Richard describes the crash I actually filled up with tears - there is no sensationalism, just the account of a man who believes he is about to die – it’s simplicity and its personal nature makes it extremely powerful in a way few writers successfully convey, let alone those who have struggled the path of brain injury.

The abject terror, honesty, and love shared by both Richard and Mindy in this book are quite something to behold. It is unusual for anyone to write their experiences so quickly after being affected by brain injury and it is this which adds greatly to the power of the book. Another strong point is the raw honesty of a man……much of the brain injury literature is driven by women…… There is no doubt in my mind that Richard and Mindy have added greatly to the brain injury literature and I heartily recommend this book to you. People will find this book of use at different stages in their journeys….however if your family is new to brain injury and you want confirmation that all the raw and crazy things that are happening to you right now are ‘normal’ for a brain injury journey or you simply need to know you are not alone then you may want to consider this book. If you are many years along the path then reading this book may simply validate your experiences, and act as a reminder that you are a member of a very special club and that you will never be alone.

If you are a brain injury professional then I suggest you have a moral obligation to read this book so that we can continue to raise awareness of the not so visible consequences of brain injury and I would like to ask you think about this question…..Richard (thankfully) had a good support team around him…..what of those that don’t?"

                             Review by Ava Easton, The Encephalitis Society, 2008

Available to buy from Amazon