Sorry, but What Is the Point of Clarkson? Huge Self-Belief Jeremy Clarkson

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Byline: NICK LEZARD

The World According to Clarkson, Volume 3: For Crying Out Loud! by Jeremy Clarkson (Penguin, ?20) As You Do by Richard Hammond (Weidenfeld, ?18.99)

I WONDER if it's deliberate, the two Top Gear presenters' books coming out at the same time. Are they having some kind of race? Anyway, in the spirit of the show which made them famous, let's compare each of their books to motor vehicles.

I must say, first, that I wasn't looking forward to reading either. I have nothing against Richard Hammond but a flick through the pages suggested this was a thin, show-offy travel book. And as for Clarkson ... what mystifies is his popularity.

But there is a world of difference.

Hammond may be doing some macho things riding in a dog sled to the North Pole, driving an Opel Kadett across Africa but his prose reveals him as a thoughtful, decent, generous-hearted man. He is capable of humility and his jokes are funny.

So As You Do is an unpretentious, well-built vehicle with pleasantly surprising extras and more speed and manoeuvrability than you would have thought. …