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Back from the Brink: The Autobiography Hardcover – 5 Oct 2006


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Century; First Edition edition (5 Oct 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846050766
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846050763
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 4 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (77 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 285,386 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"As survivor's tales go, this is brutalist epic...McGrath's narrative has a stark honesty." (Sean O'Hagan The Observer Sport Monthly)

"Continuing the trend of brutal honesty which was popularised by Paul Gascoigne's autobiography, McGrath's book is difficult to read for anyone with an ounce of human kindness, especially those who marvelled at his ability from the Old Trafford terraces... Beautifully written." (Manchester Evening News)

"Laceratingly honest...remarkably unflinching" (Mail on Sunday)

"A startling, harrowing read... far removed from the churn-em-out footballing autobiographies...This is an uncompromising tale, wonderfully told, about one of our most talented and disturbed sporting heroes." (Hugh Farrelly Irish Independent)

"Heartbreaking...poingnant" (Robert Philip Daily Telegraph) --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

Book Description

The autobiography of the greatest defender of the 1980s and 90s --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Moz on 26 May 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is a story about a man wrestling with addiction while being blessed with great athleticism. Being autobiographical, Paul is more scathing about his lapses than a biographer would be, while underplaying his iconic football image. At times it's gut-wrenchingly honest as his constant submissions to the booze prevent him fully realising his athletic potential. You don't have to be a Man U fan, Villan or Republic of Ireland fan to read this. Paul's roots and upbringing alone are rivetting and scary.

Me, I'm a music fan really, and this life has parralels with Phil Lynott's tragic rise to fame and seduction by drugs. I just hope it doesn't end prematurely in the way Phil's did. A mixed race Irish man growing up in Dublin with no knowledge of his father but driven by a calling to excel. The troubled romances and the shadow of oblivion cast over even the most triumphal moments.

Paul's football carreer was dogged by dodgy knees, alcoholism and an amazing lack of self belief or confidence. A genius awarded countless accolades and many caps who feels unworthy of sharing the stage with his contemporaries. I was shocked by the extent of his problems and the lengths his friends had successfully gone to to prevent the truth being more widely publicised. I look forward to someone making this into a film.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Mr. D. Mullan on 24 Oct 2006
Format: Hardcover
Oooh Aaah Paul McGrath went the chants around Landsdowne Road, Old Trafford and Villa Park in the late '80s and early '90s when one of Ireland's truely outstanding sports personalities was at the peak of his career.

And what a brilliant career it was. Paul McGrath was a rock at the heart of United and Villa's defences and a collosus for Eire particularly in the 1990 and 1994 World Cups. And the amazing thing is that McGrath achieved all this whilst battling alcoholism and inner demons that would undoubtedly have destroyed a lesser man.

The book is a very candid account of McGrath's life, from his tough childhood in Dublin where he suffered because of his skin colour, to his rise to the summit of professional football where he often played whilst under the influence. The book gives an indication of what McGrath's mindset and mental state was like during these halcyon years, and includes some really interesting stories and insights into the some of the top personalities in English and Irish football at the time.

Legend is a word that is certainly used too lightly, but this is not the case with McGrath. He is a true legend and what's more he comes across as a very honest and likeable character. A great read.

Declan Mullan.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By BUBS. on 16 Feb 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
this is a very good autobiography to read , paul had it rough from a very early age and how he became such a brilliant football player is amazing considering his troubles and addictions . the only drawback i had with the book was you would be reading the book through pauls words then suddenly the next paragrath would be an ex manager , player or partner speaking about him , this threw me on a few occasions because it happens so frequently . but when you get used to seeing the commers that's indicating it was being said about paul then it was very enjoyable.he could have easily been britains finest ever defender without doubt if he had the right attitude .fergie got rid of him because he could not get thru to him at all while mcgrath just got drunk and ignored him ,mcgrath now realise's he was wrong and fergie was right but if anything mcgrath got better once he left utd but was constantly plagued with his demons and still to this day i suppose.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By E. Grant on 30 Nov 2006
Format: Hardcover
I was only a wee nipper in the time leading upto Italia '90, when Paul McGrath was in his heyday, but of the few footballing memories I have of that age, watching the TV and hearing 'Ohh Ahh Paul McGrath, I say Ooh Aah Paul McGrath' billowing round Landsdowne is one. No one chooses to become an alcoholic or a depressant, its something which overcomes you. Despite these huge weights on him, the man fought on to become one of the finest footballers of his generation. The book is a candid look at the life behind the face, and would move even the most stone hearted of people. The man has sat down and told his story the way he wants it told, not by some third party wanting to put a good spin on it. The man never wants pity for his actions, just a fair hearing. Its a compelling read, worth every penny.

He always has been, and always will be, a legend in my eyes.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By CheekyBanker on 12 Oct 2006
Format: Hardcover
Writen in the same vain as Tony Adams book.

How on earth he was able to stand up let alone play is utterly amazing. Then to win PFA player awards and represent your country defies all logic and reason.

This is not just a football book, but a journey through his life and his constant struggle with the demon drink and drugs.

Great great book.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By AK 1957-05 on 3 Jan 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I give four stars for the book - an amazing story, an unputdownable read, but with the faint shadow of a ghost (writer) about it.

As for McGrath himself, the reviews so far seem to say "What an amazing guy - he played while he was drunk!" Reading his story, I found myself saying "What an idiot - he played while he was drunk!"

I know what a genuinely nice guy he is - I've seen him in social situations and I know how shy and quiet he is. I also know that he is in Ireland's top three best ever players (Giles and Brady being the others, in my opinion). But I can't help thinking how much BETTER he could have been had he NOT frittered his career and his health away as he did. How many MORE caps he could have had, how much BETTER Ireland could have done, if not for the binges, the missed planes and the lost weekends.

I am fully aware that alcoholism is an illness and that Paul wasn't in full control of his faculties a lot of the time. But many people quietly fight it and beat it. Read here about how his children witnessed his degradation, about how his first wife went out of her way to help him when his second marriage foundered, read about the help and love given by Graham Taylor (who, along with Frank Stapleton, comes out of this story with his stock sky-high), then read about how Paul threw it all back in their faces with his helpless addiction. Some of it is heartbreaking - I lived in Dun Laoghaire as a child and my mother used to threaten me daily with the Bird's Nest, where Paul spent several years as a child - and most readers will understand why Paul was eventually afflicted, whilst maybe not forgiving him completely.

I recommend that when reading this, you take off your green-tinted "Ooh-Aah" spectacles.
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