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Cantona: The Rebel Who Would Be King Paperback – Unabridged, 19 Feb 2010


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Product details

Size Name: One Size Only
  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Pan; Unabridged edition (19 Feb 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330511858
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330511858
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 3 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 12,330 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

PHILIPPE AUCLAIR has been a correspondent with France Football for over a decade, and is a prolific freelance journalist on both sides of the Channel. He is also Radio Monte Carlo's main match commentator, and a bestselling author in his native France. He lives in London.

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Size Name: One Size Only

Review

'Few are as well placed as Philippe Auclair to write a biography as exhaustive and exhilarating... Auclair's analysis of the world game is painstaking, perceptive and poetically conceived.. Give this book an index and it would be the all-time no.7 of football biography.'
--Time Out

'It is an impressive work marked by love and fascination... An exquisite, detailed, and elegant biography of one of the most fascinating figures in modern football' --Idrottsforum.org

About the Author

Philippe Auclair has been a correspondent with France Football for over a decade, and is a prolific freelance journalist on both sides of the Channel. He is also Radio Monte Carlo's main match commentator, and a bestselling author in his native France. He lives in London.

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jim VINE VOICE on 3 Feb 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Phillipe Auclair is a widely respected French football writer and author, and long term resident of London. In combining an outsider's perspective of the Premier League with an insider's view of its French stars he is one of the most interesting voices on contemporary football. In many ways he is the natural person to write a biography of Eric Cantona.

By and large he does a good job in this lengthy and exhaustive work, but "Cantona: The Rebel Who Would Be King" - like its subject - is far from perfect.

For a start its tone is rather uneven, and while parts are elegantly written other sections can be plodding and prone to Auclair's digressions. He is also fixated with the factual errors in Cantona's English autobiography, but really he should look closer to home before criticising other authors.

For example Cantona was not the first foreign player to win the English league and FA Cup double, that was Jan Molby - and for Manchester United Cantona shared the feat with Andrei Kanchelskis, which merits no mention. Mickael Madar's stay in England was not as inauspicious as Auclair makes out: indeed he practically saved Everton from relegation in 1997/98. He also seems to get the year of the Hillsborough disaster wrong.

He uses the example of record numbers of Daily Telegraph readers removing Cantona from their fantasy football teams after the kung fu kick on Matthew Simmons as an example of fans adopting "the moral high ground" ("a comfortable place to be," he sneers), but weren't they just protecting themselves from his inevitable ban?

Although the author is a long-time resident in England, his contacts seem to be mostly French. This is fine up to a point, but the blow-by-blow account of Cantona's career in Ligue 1 becomes boring very quickly.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By D. Pajaczkowski on 3 Sep 2009
Format: Hardcover
A meticulously researched and elegantly written homage to one of the legends of the modern game. Mr Auclair never attempts to conceal his bias but the unflinching accuracy of his narrative of Cantona's career is compelling and, in the end, persuasive. As a football journalist Auclair is obviously an "insider" but he eschews gossip and rumour, choosing instead to search for the deeper philosophical, cultural, and economic connections between the man and the game.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Lewis Huxley on 22 Nov 2009
Format: Hardcover
First of all I would like to say that this is a fantastic book on the subject of one of the most fascinating characters certainly in football, if not in all sports. Auclair has managed to write a comprehensive account of Cantona's life right up until he retired from football in 1997 and there is even references from sources written beyond this date to make it easily the best book on the market on this particular subject.

However there are two major concerns from myself. The first is as a result of the author's constant nitpicking of Eric's ghost-written autobiography from 1994, 'Cantona: My Story', which he regularly puts down for its lack of content and factual inaccuracies. With regards to the former, Auclair's book certainly puts it to shame, however the latter gave me the impetus to begin nitpicking with this particular book and found dozens of mistakes based on dates, scorelines, names and even many spelling errors- Manchester United physio Rob Swire being referred to as Robert Swaires stands out.

The second of my concerns is due to the content of his time in England in which Auclair unnecessarily refers to almost every single game that Cantona played in and divulges his contribution to each of them. Though this is informative it is hardly insightful into the greater workings of Cantona. He brings attention to this in the final chapter so it is obviously something that is shared by the author but surely some editing could have negated any reason to share this with the reader at all?

As I say this is the best book on Eric Cantona and I enjoyed reading it but it is still not a masterpiece in the world of sports biographies.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. Fiona Hope on 2 Sep 2009
Format: Hardcover
This is an astonishing work that not only raises the bar for all sports biographies, it sets a new benchmark for biographies in general. Impeccably sourced and laden with personal insight I came away with a much better understanding of the genius that is Eric. This is an absolute must for all sports fans especially for those who have admired Eric for so long as he is finally revealed in all his three-dimensional and flawed but human glory.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By S. J. Hall on 15 Feb 2010
Format: Hardcover
This is the best bio I've read in years. It explains the man behind the star. I feel I know more about The King than just his great performances and goals. If there was a facility to give a bonus star, I would. Just a small point, my copy has 469 pages, so maybe I have a bonus 200+ pages! Cantona and Goerge best; the two best players the game has ever had. This book; the best bio.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By C. Davies on 5 Nov 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a must-read. The research and attention to detail has set a standard for all future books of this type. To be able to write this well if English in your first language would be an achievement. Philippe deserve an award for his magnificent book about one of the most fascinating footballers of the modern era. Buy it for yourself for Christmas just in case no oen else does. - Christopher, Bronmley
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