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Manchester United: The Biography: The complete story of the world's greatest football club Paperback – 4 Sep 2008


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Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Sphere; Export ed edition (4 Sept. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847441122
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847441126
  • Product Dimensions: 22.6 x 14.5 x 3.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,788,079 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

A rich and thoroughly enjoyable tapestry (Sunday Business Post)

All encompassing yet readable (Irish Times)

**** (London Metro)

A must read for anyone who takes football seriously (RTE Guide)

Book Description

The story of the biggest football club in the world.

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Tom Williams on 10 Dec. 2008
Format: Hardcover
Manchester United: The Biography is a finely written book, but not without its flaws. Principal among these is its bias. White may be a journalist, but he is also a die-hard United fan, and he writes like one. While this brings a certain authenticity to the work, it also renders it nigh-on unreadable for anyone who isn't of a United persuasion. I'm a United fan myself, but even I found myself cringing at some of White's assertions. There is a particularly distasteful passage in which White compares the 1958 Munich air disaster to the tragedies at Hillsborough, Heysel and Valley Parade and concludes that Munich had "a much more intense symbolism". United are praised for recovering more quickly from the disaster than Italian side Torino did when their team was wiped out in a similar accident in 1949, but the whole business of comparing tragedies leaves a sour taste and would probably better have been avoided.

In White's defence, though, he's not afraid to criticise, and key figures such as Roy Keane, Bryan Robson, Cristiano Ronaldo, former chairman Martin Edwards and even Alex Ferguson himself are all castigated for their perceived failings.

There are also, as Pat Stenson notes, multiple factual errors. That they appear in the book is probably a testament to White's confidence in his own memory of the events he witnessed first-hand, but even a cursory glance at YouTube will reveal that Brian Kidd was not wearing a "blazer" when he leapt on the pitch to celebrate the crucial 2-1 win over Sheffield Wednesday in 1992-1993, while a cursory glance at Wikipedia will tell you that Jaap Stam was indeed bought from PSV Eindhoven rather than Ajax.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Nick Brett TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 25 Nov. 2009
Format: Hardcover
This is a well paced an interesting history of Manchester United. The author is a fan, but tries very hard to remain objective throughout this as he takes us from United's origins as the "Heathens" through to the Champions League win over Chelsea in Moscow. The evolving history of the club and Old Trafford is told with many interesting anecdotes and good insight into all the characters involved. As a fan myself I have read quite a few books, but none have covered the history as well as this one. I particularily enjoyed the early years and White's chapter on "The flowers of Manchester" was both moving and poignant.
There are some very minor errors (as other reviewers have pointed out) but they do not detract from a book that should be of interest to both fans and people interested in English football. What the author does so well is spend the right amount of time on things, he doesn't regurgitate George Best's history, or go through pages of statistics, he hits the important notes and fleshes them out with perfect pace.

I picked this up thinking I would dip into it over a couple of weeks, but ended up finishing it in two days. Recommended.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Pat Stenson on 15 Sept. 2008
Format: Paperback
This is another excellent book about United by Jim White. Far from the usual dull collection of facts and figures, this is an incisive, insightful journey through the history of Manchester United. From the early days of Newton Heath, through the barren inter-war years, the magical Busby Babes to the trophy-laden Ferguson years, White gives a superb illustration of the character of United and the characters that made the club what it is today. He superbly illustrates the backdrop of a changing industrial city with passion and humour, perfectly placing the reader in the realities of the day.

The only criticism I would have is that there are numerous glaring factual errors - for example, the words 'Football Club' were removed from the badge in 1998, not the initials 'F.C'; Gordon McQueen did not equalise in the 1979 Cup Final, rather Sammy McIlroy after McQueen had pulled one back (despite what Lou Macari bizarrely states!); Bryan Robson did not score 'the winner' in the 1994 FA Cup Semi-final, but the third goal in a 4-1 victory; and Jaap Stam was signed from PSV, not Ajax.
These are small details, however. On the whole this is a hugely entertaining read. Highly recommended.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By MJM Tuyl on 4 Sept. 2008
Format: Hardcover
This is an excellent book. I just finished translating it for the Dutch market. Being Dutch, I wasn't that familiar with a lot of things going on in English football. You get to know a lot about the whole history of United. Jim White obviously had the opportunity to talk with a lot of insiders and had access to all the information he needed. He writes with a lot of love about the club, clearly his favourite, but is critical where necessary. Furthermore, he has funny anecdotes and writes with the typically dry English humour. Of course, Matt Busby and Alex Ferguson are the two most important names in United history. Special attention has been paid to players like George Best and Eric Cantona. Sometimes, legendary goals (like the one Giggs scored against Arsenal) are described into detail (and can be found back on YouTube!). Being more of an Arsenal fan myself (well, actually, Ajax), you can't help but getting sympathy for Manchester United by reading this book. I'm sure the Dutch version will be a success as well!
Mark Tuijl
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