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Behind the Shades: The Autobiography Paperback – 6 May 2008

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Books (6 May 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416511024
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416511021
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 670,209 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'A cracking book, an innings of heedless strokes that fly to all parts of the field. Battle is declared from the outset, with the media and the England and Wales Cricket Board cast as foul contagions. "I know that I may have come dour, inscrutable, miserable" he says, "but these were more often than not characteristics brought on by the people I was dealing with."... Fletcher -- astute, myopic, generous and vain -- is on full display. Here is brilliant technical analysis and wretched diplomacy, stubborn loyalty and a vacuum of courage over the decision to prefer Flintoff to Strauss as captain' Will Cohu, Sports Books of the Year Daily Telegraph 24/11 'If you buy just one book this Christmas, make it one from our list of the best reads of the year...SPORT - Behind the Shades by Duncan Fletcher. A quiet, diplomatic, wary and sensitive man, Duncan Fletcher's years as England cricket coach might lead you to expect a dull autobiography, but this is anything but. Quite simply, it is the sports book of the year - hard-hitting, fearless, and revelatory... A must-read' Daily Mail 30/11 'The recently deposed cricket coach Duncan Fletcher, also found its way into the headlines for its reflections on Flintoff's captaincy... Fletcher, though he has scores to settle, has much to say that's illuminating about modern cricket' Independent Christmas Books Special 30/11 'Fletcher was famously reticent during his highly successful role as England cricket coach from 1999 until this year, one reason why he had little rapport with the media. Now he has abandoned all such restraint, producing one of the most forthright cricket books of recent years... But Fletcher's book is about so much more than headline-grabbing controversy. He is also brilliant at analysing the techniques and temperaments of the England players under his charge, such as the anxiety of the highly strung Mark Ramprakash before going in to bat in a Test' Sunday Telegraph, Christmas Books Sport 2/12 'Read Behind The Shades as an example of how it is character, rather than lack of knowledge, that so often defeats us' Sport Read of the Year, David Hopps, Guardian 6/12 'Also recommended' Sport Read of the Year, Paul Weaver, Guardian 6/12 Sport Read of the Year, Mike Selvey, Guardian 6/12 'For such a reticent man finally to go into print, England cricket fans will be pleased to know that the result was worth waiting for' Scottish Daily Express 20/12 'His autobiography was worth the wait. This is a top-to-bottom run-down of his life in cricket, with nothing and no one spared' Wisden Cricketer, July issue

About the Author

Duncan Fletcher was England coach from 1999 to 2007. He guided the side to a hig point of second in the world rankings, as well as masterminding the 2005 Ashes victory. He lives in South Africa.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By R. Gardham on 17 Sept. 2008
Format: Paperback
OK, first I should admit that I am a big fan of Duncan Fletcher the coach. He took English cricket from its lowest low and brought success unseen since the days of Trueman and Statham. I also admired Fletcher the man. He stood up to the Aussies and the media and wasn't afraid to make himself unpopular as long as he had the support of his team.

However, when the book was serialised in the English press, it seemed that Fletcher was, through this autobiography, acting in a way that was out of character from the man that had been running the English cricket team so skillfully. Players that had sweated blood for him - Hoggard, for example - seemed to be receiving untold criticism. Fletcher was always big on loyalty, but here he seemed to be being disloyal.

Despite this, I figured it must be worth a read, and on the whole, it is. Fletcher's analysing of the game, the way he looks for bite in his players (hence the preference of Jones to Read) and the way he can see how players use angles and the 'low crouch' (which helped him spot the otherwise-ignored potential of Vaughan, Trescothick and Strauss) are great to read if you're a cricket fan, but probably dull if you're not. On the whole, the book is for the cricket purist; if you want a cricket autobiography that entertains beyond the world of cricket then seek out the more feted books of Simon Hughes, Nasser Hussain and Mike Brearley.

The book isn't as full of vitriol as the media clippings suggest. With the curious exception of Matthew Hoggard, Fletcher is loyal to those that had been loyal to him. The book does its fair share of score settling. Geoffrey Boycott, Henry Blofeld, Ian Botham and a handful of others get it with both barrels.
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Format: Paperback
This is an excellent autobiographical work by the best English coach since, well, since England started having coaches.

It's mostly (2/3, say) about his work for the England team; but there's plenty of notes on his upbringing in Rhodesia / Zimbabwe, his playing days and coaching jobs before England. His ghostwriter has ensured it reads well, but the author's personal style and dry wit comes through clearly enough.

Unlike many cricket biography's I've read, at the end I wanted more, and would be really interested to meet the author. Highly recommended.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By G. L. Haggett VINE VOICE on 5 Jan. 2008
Format: Paperback
A few of the newspaper reviews of this book suggested it was little more than a self-pitying whinge.

It turned out, however, to be an interesting take on the inside track of modern international sport and those who run and play it.

Since Duncan Fletcher was the coach of the first England team to win the Ashes for the best part of 20 years and was still the coach when the team rather meekly surrendered them a couple of years later, the book necessarily spends a lot of time discussing those two series. He does, however, map the changes in the game during his lifetime, to interesting and insightful effect.

While Fletcher does, as one might expect of a coach, go into some detail about technical aspects of the game (when and how certain shots should be played and certain deliveries should be bowled), I suspect the most interesting parts of the book for most readers will be those where he shines a light on some of the game's heroes, sung and unsung, both on and off the field. His opinions can be strident and he clearly has something of an axe to grind with some aspects of the administration of cricket and with certain individuals; however, the measured, even restrained, tone adopted makes for an interesting and thought-provoking read.
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By malcolm collins on 11 May 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I read the book but never really found it fascinating
A typical book written by a South African, the people from that country have huge self belief.
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