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Justin Fashanu the Biography Hardcover – 2 Apr 2012


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: DB Publishing (2 April 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1780910142
  • ISBN-13: 978-1780910147
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 1.7 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 520,439 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

This book brings together Jim Read s passions for human rights, life stories and football. His previous publications have covered equal opportunities at work, the lives of people treated in the mental health system, and psychiatric drugs.He is a Leicester City fan and contributor to The Fox fanzine.

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Louisajane on 15 April 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I found this biography of Justin Fashanu so interesting that I wondered why nobody had written his life-story sooner. But I don't think anyone could have improved on way this author handles the dramatic changes of fortune in football stardom, the impact of transracial fostering and racist abuse, and the clash between homosexuality and born-again Christianity, all of which impacted on this vulnerable young man's life.

The author's love for football and his respect and empathy for his subject keep us riveted to each twist and turn of the story, as Fashanu's talent and dedication take him almost to the top, with all the fame and wealth he craved, only for a tragedy of Shakespearean drama and inevitability to unfold. One of a very few black footballers in the late 70s and early 80s, Fashanu was routinely subjected to a daily barrage of racist abuse from the terraces and on the field, that would be a hard test for anyone, let alone someone with a shaky sense of identity from a disrupted early childhood.

Read's meticulous research lets us share as much as can be known about the crises in the young man's life, and the reasons for the choices he and those around him made. He deals clearly and honestly with the difficult issues, keeping a touch of humour and lightness that enables Fashanu's engaging personality to shine through. It is a book that can be read as a fascinating life story, but also offers much to anyone concerned with racism in sport, young care-leavers or mental health.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Sid Nuncius #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on 13 April 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Football biographies are not something I normally read because so many of them are dreadful, but this is an excellent, readable and in places genuinely gripping book. It is a very well written and thoroughly researched biography of a highly complex sportsman and also paints a vivid and subtle picture of his influence on the history of race relations and of attitudes to gays and lesbians in Britain.

Fashanu's story is itself a fascinating one as a black player at a time when there were very few of them in Britain and crude racism was often unchallenged, and then as the only openly gay footballer anywhere in the world. Jim Read writes very intelligently and refuses to resort to assumption or stereotype in assessing the prejudices faced by Fashanu. He writes, for example, of the culture of banter in sport and of the difference between "...teasing intended to include and taunting intended to exclude." Insights like this give the book balance and a remarkable depth of understanding both of Fashanu himself and of other players, managers and fans. Read does not spare bigoted fans or people like Brian Clough whose homophobic bullying did Fashanu so much damage, but also reports times like when Fashanu played for Airdrie whose fans - a notoriously tough bunch - affectionately chanted "He's black, he's gay, he plays for Air-da-ray, Fashanu, Fashanu," and includes an eloquent photograph of his Airdrie team-mates embracing him after scoring. It is a real achievement to paint a complex picture so clearly.

Fashanu himself was equally complex. Evidence from a lot of people who knew him shows that he could be charming, generous of spirit and kind, but could also be a manipulative, grasping, cruel, self-serving liar.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Janet Mary Tomson on 12 May 2012
Format: Hardcover
As someone who has little interest in football or celebrity, I found myself overwhelmed by Jim Read's sensitive, insightful and impeccably researched biography of Justin Fashanu.

Justin was fostered in rural Norfolk where his racial identity made it almost impossible for him to fit in. His father left his mother. She in turn found another husband and took back one of her children - but not Justin or his brother John. How confusing it must have been to visit her new family while being excluded. Happily, his foster family gave him the security he needed.

Justin was handsome, charming and a brilliant footballer. I was amazed to find myself caught up in the passion of individual football matches, the highs and lows of chasing victory. His clashes with Brian Clough - which bordered on abuse and the fickle support of the football crowds left him forever in a minefield. Suddenly rich, he was wildly extravagant. He also had a surprising friendship with Peter Tatchell.

Thanks to his Christian beliefs, he suffered the dilemma of being true to his own sexuality in the face of Christian condemnation. In the end, it all proved too much for him.

I would urge anyone interested in the human condition to read this excellent book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By BeeS on 6 April 2012
Format: Hardcover
A gripping and rounded account of a complex life that I really enjoyed. Professionally, I was more likely to be interested in the issues around Justin's sexuality, his childhood and his connection with Norwich. But Jim Reads writing about both football and politics is both erudite and page turning.
Its all the more interesting, in the light of this present tabloid crisis, to see the power of the press then, and his own ambivalent relationship with publicity-seeking, shaping his career and life
Incidentally, the book itself is lovely.. worth spending on it to get the cover, the photos and layout,which you'll miss with the kindle version.
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