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Giving A Little Back: My Autobiography [Hardcover]

Barney Curley , Nick Townsend
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

21 Sep 1998

The last great untold story in British horseracing. Barney Curley – punters’ hero, jockeys’ friend, bookmakers’ nightmare and the Jockey Club’s bete noire. For years this Irish phenomenon has refused all media offers. Now he is ready to tell the full story of his colourful life.

Curley is the bane of the racing establishment, never afraid to confront authority, even at the risk of jeopardising his own career, for the good of the small punter.

In his autobiography, he recalls all the famous adventures that have made him part of horseracing folklore: the celebrated ‘Yellow Sam’ sting of 1975; how he was jailed for running an illegal lottery but released on donating £10,000 to charity; his campaign against the Big Three high street bookmakers; his disqualification from racing; and how he lost £250,000 on one race in an unforgettable day in 1982.

But there is also the human side to his story. Beyond the racing world he talks openly about how he watched his father go broke through gambling, and, in a moving account, recalls the tragedy of the death of his son, Charlie, in 1996. He intends the book to be much more than just an account of a career in horse racing.

Barney Curley is an intensely private man and much of his life is shrouded in mystery. But he has decided that the time is right to discuss his life in this colourful and compelling autobiography.



Product details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Willow (21 Sep 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0002188279
  • ISBN-13: 978-0002188272
  • Product Dimensions: 23.8 x 15.2 x 3.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 123,373 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'A gem of a book from one of the turf's most fearless punters.' The Racing Post --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

The last great untold story in British horse racing. Barney Curley – punters’ hero, jockeys’ friend, bookies’ nightmare and the Jockey Club’s 'bête noire'. For years this intensely private Irishman has refused all media offers. Now he is ready to tell the compelling story of his colourful life.

Curley recalls all the famous adventures that have made him part of horse-racing folklore: the celebrated ‘Yellow Sam’ sting of 1975; how he was jailed for running an illegal lottery but released on donating £10,000 to charity; his campaign against the Big Three high street bookmakers; his disqualification from racing; and how he lost £250,000 on one race in an unforgettable day in 1982.

Beyond the racing world he talks openly about how he watched his father go broke through gambling, and recalls the tragedy of the death of his son, Charlie, in 1996. Curley’s book is much more than just an account of a career in horse racing.


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Customer Reviews

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4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More Sinned Against Than Sinning? 20 Nov 2002
Format:Paperback
I am probably typical of most of the people who would be intrigued to know more about the man behind the name. I consider myself to be on the fringes of racing. I like a bet every now and then but have no access to genuine "inside information." I am not gullible enough to believe that everything is as it seems on the surface but, equally, I'm not totally convinced by the squeals of the conspiracy theorists every time a favourite gets beat.
Before reading this book my impressions of Mr Curley were that of a dour Irishman, with few friends, continually plotting to con money from the bookies.
After reading the book I'm not sure my opinion has changed that much. It was a great read. He's had a very colourful life, is basically a "good" person, and he knows the value and worth of a hard day's graft.
His big dilemna is dealing with the word HONESTY. He despises the lack of it in others, but will not admit (outwardly at least) to ever deviating from it himself. He tells of his coups with a certain smugness, the result of hours of careful planning and manipulation to hide the facts from his targets (the bookies). In Mr Curley's world, the hiding of facts, or the deliberate manipulation of a situation to lead the "victim" to draw an incorrect interpretation is not dishonest. It is merely applying his natural guile and cunning to best advantage. He doesn't actually lie!
He too does not admit the contradictions his way of life automatically provokes. Sometimes things fit all too conveniently in black and white slots. He is proud of being championed as "Punters Friend". Yet, the bookies need to exist and, in whatever guise, they will continue to do so. They will continue to manipulate odds to pay out (for example) 1,000 in winnings for every 1,200 they take in bets.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is an autobiography in which the writer holds 'little back' when telling his stories. Honest and well written the reader will gain an insight into a man who is a self made millionaire funded solely from gambling. From his early days, when strangely enough, he actually wanted to join the monastery, you get the impression that little has been altered from the truth. We learn how he actually almost died in his early twenties and how he first became successful managing showbands around Ireland to how he set out on a crusade to strip the bookmakers of thousands of pounds down the years from his masterplans, orchestrated with military precision!

A very good read which will appeal to those who want to learn a bit more about one of sports lessor lights, but a legendary character to those that know him.

Excellent.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Barney Curley is one of racings most colourful charecters, this book talks about his life, from his chilhood growing up in gambling enviroment to becoming a owner and trainer. Barney talks frankly about some of his schemes (some of which are not strickly above board) and his great freindship with Frankie Dettori, he also talks about the tragic death of his own son. Even if you have no interest in racing you will love this book. I read it in 3 days and couldnt put it down.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read 12 Aug 1999
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
The book contains plenty of stories of what makes Barney Curley such a legend. It traces his path through life without going into unnecessary detail. The only one criticism I have of the book is the way it rants on about certain subjects. These occassions are few and far between and as such they do not slow the pace of the book down too much.
I would concider this essential reading for any race-goer, punter, bookie, ..anyone who has the remorist interest in racing.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant book with lots of interesting topics. 13 Feb 2001
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
A book that is great. It tells you the highs and lows of Barney Curleys life as well as the interesting thoughts he has. Every story in the book is interesting and well worth a read.
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