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Behind The White Ball: My Autobiography [Paperback]

Jimmy White , Rosemary Kingsland
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
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Book Description

7 Oct 1999
After Hurricane Higgins crashed out of snooker's top league, Jimmmy White has been the `People's Champion' even though he never quite made the top World spot, pipped at the post in 1995 by Stephen Hendry, after missing one single black. Aged 16, White was the youngest player to win the English Amateur Championship. At 18, he won the World Amateur title. By 1984, he's a professional success, married but not at all settled. He's the kind of man who goes out for a packet of cigarettes and comes home two weeks later. Gambling, women, marathon binges with showbiz friends like Ron Wood of the Rolling Stones, have threatened the stability of his marriage. But somehow White has survived, to tell in candid detail, a most unusual, often outrageous story of a very sporting life.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Arrow; New Ed edition (7 Oct 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099271842
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099271840
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 65,727 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon Review

Jimmy White has been beaten six times in the final of the snooker world championship and on at least two of those occasions it was easier for him to have won than lost. But at the death White always managed to pull defeat from the jaws of victory. It is now likely he will be remembered only as the people's champion but he isn't complaining. White has made a fortune and then lost a good chunk of it, mostly through gambling. He's been in trouble with the law, had his share of tabloid exposes and pushed his marriage to the edge of collapse. But if one thing comes out of this sparky autobiography it is that White is a chancer and he will always keep going.

Behind the White Ball starts with an illiterate teenager getting both a street education and an income hustling in a south London snooker hall and ends with an older, a bit wiser, and literate man still making a living from his cue. But in between there is all the mayhem you could ask for; escaping irate locals after taking the money off the customers in a Liverpool snooker hall; fetching up a bit too often for his wife's peace of mind at Ronnie Wood's place--"although when I hang out with The Stones I end up making the tea"--and, bizarrely, attending Chelsea matches with Peter Cook. Whirlwind stuff indeed. --Nick Wroe --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"Mercurial, enigmatic, exciting" (Alex Higgins)

"He may play a spellbinding game, full of invention and dash. He may even be the "best snooker player in the world" - but he is loved because he is naughty . . . and therein lies his abiding appeal" (Sue Mott Sunday Telegraph)

"Jimmy's harum-scarum attitude to life has never altered, even though he is now a household name. One of the loveliest things about him is his naturalness. Stardom has come and touched him and left him exactly the way he was" (Sunday Mirror)

"Jimmy's the ultimate player's player. He thrills the public . . . but the players get even more enjoyment out of watching him because he strikes the ball so well" (Daily Express)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brutally Honest 12 April 2001
It is somewhat amusing that when the history of the green baize is written, the greatest snooker tornament of them all will most most certainly be remembered for the man who never won it ... the peoples champion ... Jimmy White. In the final chapter of this book White delivers a surprisingly philosophical verdict on why he has never captured the World Snooker Crown having particpated in 6 finals at the Legendary Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, and bad luck has nothing to do with it. The book is filled with dozens of colourful characters straight out of a Guy Richie movie and Jimmys adventures with Alex Higgins, Tony Meo, Steve Davis, and lesser known Dodgy Bob and best friend Pee-Wee make for hillarious reading. What is refreshing about this book is that White is not out to win any new fans, indeed with his depiction of his and wife Maureen's terrible, sometimes violent arguments, and his squandering of literally thousands of pounds of their money, Jimmy takes us to the edge, dissolving a lot of the fun loving lovable rogue type persona that made him such an household name. Brutally Honest. Yet these type of characters seemingly always hold a place in our hearts no matter what they do. This is a good biography surprisingly void of snooker.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fitting tale of a legend 28 Nov 2006
By leJerk
As I write this, I have been a follower of snooker for the past fifteen years. The reason for this is quite simply I fell in awe of Jimmy White's game and his unfaillingly humble attitude. So I obviously looked forward to reading his story. And I was not disappointed, this is a brilliant account of Jimmy's raucous life. There are some lovely anecdotes about his drunken exploits, there are also some rather sinister tales that take place in dodgy snooker halls.

As noted by other reviewers, Jimmy doesn't fill the book with snooker stories this book's tales focus more on Jimmy's behaviour away from the baize. We are told of Jimmy's truanting as a child as well as misadventures such as two week "escapes" to Ireland. However Jimmy, at times, does not paint a good picture of himself. At times his treatment of his wife Maureen seems irresponsible to say the least, although as his life progressed this behaviour did abate a little.

So, all things considered, this is a very enjoyable read and a must for Jimmy White's legions of fans. And I would also recommend this even to non-snooker fans. Excellent!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Restless Soul 14 Feb 2006
Having had a modest interest in the career ups and downs of the truly exceptional talent that is/was Jimmy White, I had been really looking forward to reading this book. So when I spotted it in the local library I felt compelled to read it. And having done so, I can't help feeling disappointed, not so much with the book but with White himself.
White always gave the impression of being a maverick and his very candid and open account of his life does nothing to counteract this. With stories about going AWOL from school, to hustling money on the underground circuit and no-end of shenanigans with friends and other snooker stars - notably Alex Higgins, White has certainly led a full life. And perhaps this is the issue, for I felt that the cheeky Cockney took the partying a step too far.
Some of his recollections are doubtless amusing, but to continually read that he has gone on alcohol-fuelled benders for days and weeks at a time leaving his long-suffering partner home alone with the kids, strikes me as nothing short of irresponsible. A handful of times you could forgive, but this seems to have been a constant theme throughout his life and his selfishness can surely not have benefitted his young kids.
I can confidently still say that I admire him tremendously for his ability on a snooker table, but unfortunately I can not say the same of him as a father or as a person.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
This book is so unlike any other sporting biography. Just reading the book sends you on a roller coaster of a ride from Zan's snooker club, Tooting to the Crucible, Sheffield. Along the way there's plenty to shock, from gambling to wife beating, it's all there - the stories behind the headlines. There's plenty of laughs to. You simply cannot miss the story of Lazarus O'Higgins when he flew through the windscreen of Jimmy's car as it crashed into a wall!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic and Emotional! 14 Jun 2000
By A Customer
Hello, One year ago , in January 1999 , I spent a year in England and discovered snooker. One day I went to a library called Waterstone's and found a book called "Behind the White Ball" written by a certain Jimmy White who became one of my ten favourite players. So when I began to read his book , I was so impressed by his fantastic and emotional own autobiography that I couldn't stop reading it. He had the courage to write his own life from his childhood spent in snooker halls to his unfortunate world championship finals but also to tell his life problems and his good and bad adventure with his friends using his own word.You may not believe me but some extract made me cry so it was sad and emotional. So Congratulations Jimmy ! (My dream is to see you World Champion for the first time.Finally keep playing an absolutely fantastic snooker. Love , Laurence.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent! A Damn Good Read! 3 Jun 2000
By A Customer
From start to finish this book is hilarious. A good insight into Jimmy's life with stories you won't believe. Don't miss his 'drink-driving' escapade and his brush with the law. Don't read this book if all you want to know about is potting balls this autobiography will take you much further as his life isn't just about snooker. By the end of the book you'll feel like this talented snooker player is one of your best friends. Highly recommended. Hope there's a sequel.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very good book
Published 1 day ago by emma
5.0 out of 5 stars brill
brilliant quality
Published 6 days ago by sarah morris
5.0 out of 5 stars What a read...
gutted when I finished this book didn't want it to end. it's easy to tell why Jimmy is loved by all. Read more
Published 15 days ago by Ry P
5.0 out of 5 stars great read
bought this for my dad as a present , he loved it, couldn't find it in shops , found it on here straight away
Published 5 months ago by jacqueline
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable!
Pretty good read, I never knew Jimmy White was such a rebel so it was interesting to read about some of his exploits....and the snooker of course.
Published 5 months ago by A. Baynham
3.0 out of 5 stars 2nd hand book
i was happy to purchase a 2nd hand book and this was very good condition however i was not impressed to see 70p pencilled inside the cover. Read more
Published 6 months ago by grannyjane
3.0 out of 5 stars Burst my bubble about Jimmy
Incorrect references, ie Thin Lizzy's album name,,,,,,should be 'Jailbreak', not 'Breakout' as written.
Generally badly written with poor diction and spelling
Published 6 months ago by mick payne
5.0 out of 5 stars Good read
I agree with the other reviews: this is a really good read and full of stories about White's colourful life away from the snooker table. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Cool Readz
2.0 out of 5 stars not good if you want snooker related stories
Very disappointed in this because i was expecting a snooker players autobiography to be about.........snooker believe it or not! Read more
Published on 3 Mar 2012 by graemeham
4.0 out of 5 stars a god read
a brutally honest account of the highs and lows of the life of one of the greats of snooker, from his young days hustling with tony meo he tells in detail of the fortunes he has... Read more
Published on 14 April 2011 by henderson
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