Before you pick up this book, I urge you think about 2 things
1. It's a biography
Comments like "This is not much more than a turgid regurgitation of match results and clippings from local newspapers." are idiotic. What Wilson is doing here is establishing a context for the reader: he's going back and finding the articles and showing them to you so you can come to your own conclusions and see what the contemporary view of Clough really was. It's not a dumbed down summary where the author decides: "this is what he said, this is what it meant, this is what everyone thought, this is what is true." You have to credit Wilson with being brave enough not to churn out the overly simplified garbage that is becoming all too prevalent these days, where everything has to be boiled down to a few simple sentences. You can tell this is the man behind the consistently amazing The Blizzard because both works emphasise the same thing: depth over scannability, the subject over the author and subtlety over soundbites.
2. There has never been a Clough biography before.
You're probably looking at this with indignation and outrage but it's true: no other book has acuurately profiled the life of Brian Clough. His footballing achievements sure, his life less so. It's always tricky to interpret any man's work- be it poetry, programming or football management- by his history, but it's intriguing to see the possible links between Clough's life and his achievements, something only possible through this book. Everything written about Clough so far has splashed in interpretations based of these events but they rarely give you both the insight Wilson does and the events themselves so you can make up your own mind.
This book pairs beautifully with the more intimate Provided You Don't Kiss Me: 20 Years with Brian Clough
to provide an indepth and enchanting life of a man who was forever tormented by the days to come and the days he lived only in his imagination.
"A triumph" Jonathan, and I expect that to appear as a quote on the cover of the paperback!