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Tom Plum "TC" (Roswell, NM United States)

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Groovies' Greatest Grooves
Groovies' Greatest Grooves
Price: £13.33

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Groovies 101, 26 May 2010
I reach for these CDs time and time again to listen to, it is so reminiscent of music from a time right before the Doors, Sgt. Pepper's and psychedellia came on to the scene. As to which you like more, that is a matter of preference. But they accurately do catch the feel of the music cerca 1966.

Their music has always intrigued me as to it's styles and influences. As for the sources and inspiration of the 24 tracks on this album, I think you can loosely break it down into the following categories and again, this is subjective and one does not want to pigeon hold or impose limitations on the music in defining it, but just for use as a general guide, surely, others might have different insights.

I. The Flamin' Groovies own: track 1. 'Shake some action' 2. 'Teenage Head' 3. 'Slow Death,' all self penned and I find 'Shake some action' and 'Slow Death' just great songs, great slide guitar on the latter which might have a slight reference to what the Rolling Stones were doing on their albums 'Beggar's Banquet' and 'Let it bleed' but not really one of their Stonesy tunes. 'Slow death', not my favourite title for a song but has a cutting Who type of energy to it. It is no wonder, that the Groovies were able to capitalise on these songs during the Punk music era. 'Teenage Head' is one of their most popular songs and one review for it seems to infer it sounds a bit like the Rolling Stones while I've always seen it as Punk.

II. Rolling Stones types songs; I'd have to say this is the lionshare of the Flamin' Groovies catalog on this album, the songs may be a little or very obviously takeoffs on the Rolling Stones. One of the Groovies' best ever, track 7. 'First Plane Home' has a title that actually sounds much like the Kinks' 'Gotta take the first plane home' from The Kink Kontroversy, so though it sounds very Rolling Stones in part, this number really is not that far off from a Kinks song either. After all, the Rolling Stones themselves cerca 1966 released 'Mother's little helper' which sure as can be as a title is similar to what the Kinks were doing at the same time, 'Well Respected Man' and 'Dedicated Follower of Fashion.' 'First plane home' is accompanied by some exotic instruments like dulcimer or sitar as well which is reminiscent of the kinds of instruments Brian Jones played for the Rolling Stones. 5. 'Yeah my baby' seems to be Stonish too as really, even on a superficial level, the RS used the term 'baby' in a number of songs (examples, 'Out of Time', 'Have you seen your mother baby..."). Track 10. 'Don't you lie to me' though a song Chuck Berry seemed to have partially written at least and I'm not positive about its origins, is found on the 'Metamorphosis' CD performed by the Rolling Stones as well. Track 14. 'Down, Down, Down' which again, oddly as we think of the two groups as being quite different, could sound like an early Kinks/Ray Davies/Dave Davies song as well. Track 15. 'Teenage Confidential', though Jerry Lee Lewis has a song by this same name, by no means are these two the same but I will say, this Groovies song has a medley somewhat like the Rolling Stones' 'Think' from the album Aftermath. Track 22. 'Jumpin' in the night', a real get up rocker, title cut from one of their albums for the Sire label. I have always wondered if 'Jumpin' in the night' was the best catchy name they could come up with because believe me, the song itself is.

III. Beatles types songs; Okay, the Groovies on this album play 'There's a place' which may be a Lennon McCartney song from their Vee Jay records day, that is to say, Pre-Capitol and those songs like 'Love me do', 'I should of known better', etc. The other ones that are Beatle-like I'd generally narrow it down to track 6. 'Yes it's true,' track 11. 'All tore down' and track 13. 'Please please girl,' again, on a superficial basis, the Beatles had their song 'Please please me' and this sounds also a bit like 'P.S. I love you.' Track 21., 'All I wanted' is not overtly a Beatle-ish song but the guitars in the opening certainly can remind you of their song 'Run for you life.'

IV. American Music; One of the Groovies best tracks ever and their own, 'In the USA' really harkens back to Rock 'n' Roll's heyday, the 1950s, it mentions the likes of Little Richard, Chuck Berry and Jerry Lee Lewis, what makes this track number 8 fantastic is the bass line that is directly from Billy Haley and the Comet's 'Rock around the Clock', the vocals definitely call to mind Mick Jagger but this song belongs in this section nonetheless because it entails a lot of different influences and in the end, a lot of the FGs songs are a conglomeration of ideas. Track 4. is 'Tallahassee Lassie,' a rockabilly song performed originally by Freddy 'Boom Boom' Cannon and shows the Groovies don't need to just rely on their Brit Invasion influences.

V. Kinks like songs; As mentioned above and to reiterate, at least 2 of the Groovies' songs themselves can sound like early Kinks as well, those two being 14. 'Down, down, down' as the Kinks often had a light hearted take in the studio and were cutting up (see 'Beautiful Delilah','Cadillac' and 'Long Tall Shorty' on their first album as an example) and 7. 'First plane home' which by its very name, is similar to "Gotta catch the first plane home" by the Kinks, the main refrain line in the Groovies' song is in fact, "Got to catch the first plane home." Of course, the two songs are clearly different in rhythm and both worth listening to.

VI. Other influences, Bob Dylan, the Byrds, other British Invasion, Tremeloes, Dave Clarke 5, San Francisco's own Beau Brummels, etc; Tracks 12. I'll cry alone, 17. 'I can't hide', this song sounds British but from my limited knowledge, I can't narrow it down, seems a little Beatle-like with the guitars and vocals but not enough for that sub-category, introspective and quite good, 18. 'Absolutely Sweet Marie', a Bob Dylan song from Blonde on Blonde, the Grateful Dead have performed this one live as well on albums such as Nightfall of Diamonds: Live at Meadowlands New Jersey 16 Oct 1989 and one can take their pick as to who has the best version but the Groovies put out a Dylan-like vocal that to me bests the Dead's, track 19. 'Don't put me on', track 20., 'I saw her', sources here are not clear but I'd say they take from that times genre in general. 24. 'River deep, Mountain high', a title made famous by Ike and Tina Turner, it's okay but not quite the strongest effort the group has given.

Now, with all this said, writers like Jagger Richards, Dylan and Lennon McCartney are not the kinds one can emulate easily. I think at times, the Groovies may be weak in lyrics sometimes but these are all very good efforts, 2 or 3 tracks I might rarely listen to, so that means the rest do hold up on their own well.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 10, 2011 3:04 PM GMT


At Full Speed: Complete Sire Recordings
At Full Speed: Complete Sire Recordings

5.0 out of 5 stars Flamin' Fantastic, 26 May 2010
To me in regards to the British bands in the 1960s, the most quaint and enjoyable sounds emanated right before 1967 when everything went kind of psychedellic, when the Rolling Stones hits were songs like Lady Jane and Ruby Tuesday and the Beatles albums were ones such as Rubber Soul. Too me, the time was a lot more simpler and still, I think some of the creativity was more brilliant than what was to come.

To me, I feel like this is really what the Flamin' Groovies 'bag' was, this was their 'vibe', it was this era especially. Great song by the Groovies is "first plane home", the Kinks cerca 1966-67 recorded a song with a similar name "Gotta catch the first plane home", they aren't the same song, but obviously, the Groovies were passionate about this period of music. Even their cover, excellent by the way, of a Bob Dylan song is from this time, "Absolutely sweet Marie", but the Groovies musical interests are rather extensive and intensive still. Some of it might even be a bit like the Tremeloes, Beau Brummels (another San Francisco area band) and Brit Invasion in general to tell you the truth, they were specialised in their tastes but by no means inspired only by the top of the pops biggest bands.

'In the USA' is probably my all time favorite by this band. This is a real jaunt down memory lane but I think it is genius and truly hearkens back to the '50s though being sung at times much like an early Sir Mick. It starts out with the drive of drums and cymbals, add in a simple guitar riff to get your toes to tapping and then, pow!, in comes the bass and you know where that bass line comes from? It's gotta be from 'Rock around the Clock' by Bill Haley and the Comets, check it out. The lyrics are great and pay tribute to Chuck Berry, Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis, "hamburgers sizzle night and day, all night movies in the USA." In this vein, this collection does not have Freddy 'Boom Boom' Cannon's 'Tallahasee Lassie' which just shows this band could comfortably enough do rockabilly, but that is just one song.

It's not like the Groovies are out of step with the times to me, to me they do seem a bit like a tribute group but really, with a few years of hindsight to their credit, dare I say, they have even improved on what the Beatles, Stones and others were doing in the mid-60s, it's not for me to judge, I just know I reach for their CDs more than the original fellows. Groups that many say emulate the Rolling Stones in style are the Chesterfield Kings and even Aerosmith. Both of these bands certainly have their pluses, but, sorry guys, I'd go for the Flamin' Groovies all the same.

Truly, they may have been able to take some "style" points at times in their career and maybe as one reviewer said, the lyrics were not always as crafty as those they emulated and that would generally be hard.

'Shake some action' on this CD set is rarely recognized as the great rock tune it is. I don't think these guys got quite the exposure they deserved but the Punk Wave appears to have increased their visibility, trouble with that is that scores of other groups were also coming on the scene then. Another song of their genius is 'Slow death' not found on this collection. I must say, The Groovies' Greatest Grooves is an excellent representation of the bands best hits.

I first heard them cerca the "Jumping in the night" release. They are one of the few bands who years later, I felt compelled to get their music again.


Kinks
Kinks
Price: £4.99

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars C-a-d-i-l-l-a-c, 26 May 2010
This review is from: Kinks (Audio CD)
Often what I treasure in listening to the early British rock and roll bands are their interpretations of Rock 'n' Roll and Blues classics. This is what most of the name bands, at least Animals, Rolling Stones, Beatles and others all did. I listen to Cadillac, a rendition of a Bo Diddley song and it's got to be about as good as anything these groups did, now when one is talking about such standards as "House of the Rising Sun", that's something. Also, listening to "Cadillac", the beat with harmonica interestingly enough does not sound unlike "Not fade away" by the Rolling Stones except this Kinks cover does in fact, seem to have that guitar sounding just like Bo Diddley was reknown for and great harmonica as well. It's something that though "You really got me" is on this album, these tracks are great and probably have the Kinks doing "traditional rock and roll" more than on any of their other albums.

Otherwise, this initial album is probably twice as long with the additional tracks added in. "Long Tall Shorty", well now, what a name for a song, the Kinks were not too engrossed in being the most serious group around and that song is found on Dave Davies' greatest hits. "Beautiful Delilah" is good enough, really again with a light touch to this Chuck Berry song.

It's got all the extra tracks so you can't go wrong, but Cadillac is some great under rated gem in the Kinks catalog.


Brilliant Orange: The Neurotic Genius of Dutch Football
Brilliant Orange: The Neurotic Genius of Dutch Football
by David Winner
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'Winning is not the most important thing. The most important thing is playing a good game." - pg. 144, 13 Feb 2010
Soccer fans around the world rejoiced watching Holland's attractive 'total football' drub Italy's cynical style 3-0 in the 2008 Euro Cup, brilliantly done! But this was a game where a dive, trash talking and physically menacing the opposition's top players or elbows to the head like what was done to our USA player or Luis Enrique of Spain in the 1994 World Cup or anything else coming out of the Azzurri's bag of tricks was not going to work. The 11th Commandment per this book is 'There is no medal better than being acclaimed for your style.'- Johan Cruyff and the book illustrates that 'decency' is a tendency that runs deep in Dutch society and not only this but while most other teams are out there to win at any cost, the Dutch are often there to show 'how good they are'.

Brazil has 'jogo bonito', but highly recognized in their orange kits on the field, originators of 'total football', Netherlands is really a team that plays an exceptionally flowing beautiful game. The concept of 'total football' is in fact, part and parcel with the famed Ajax team and Johann Cruyff, covered in this book.

I don't quite agree with a minor statement the author made about the Dutch are the tallest race on earth, really?? I wonder why Lithuania is such a dominant perennial basketball world and European power but Holland is not. Netherlands (or Holland, actually a part of the larger country) plays cricket and yes, even fielded a top-notch baseball team to the baseball world cup so I doubt it would be only because they are not interested in basketball.

One other issue I believe the author isn't quite correct on, is the extent that Holland blossomed as a football power. True, they improved exponentially as one of the best teams in the world beginning in 1974 with Cruyff and in fact, shaped the football landscape. However, they really were not that bad before this and it was exciting to read about their rivalry with neighboring Belgium (and on that note, Belgium's national football team deserves a treatise, being on the periphery, they've definitely had their successes as well). Again, the successes of Ajax during the war would attest to this.

This is a good primer on Dutch soccer, not the final word by any means but it discusses the structure of their game, rivalries and history along with trying to connect the dots to the culture and malaise of the nation itself. After this book, there are a number of other books to read on Dutch soccer for further understanding such asAjax, the Dutch, the War: Football in Europe During the Second World War, Ajax has the status of being legendary with the football it developed, total football and it's players while lacking the monetary resources the famous rich European clubs have had.

Be on the watch for this book coming out under two different covers, the orange cover and the cover with a picture of the Dutch countryside, otherwise, I don't know if the two vary.


Miracle Match [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Miracle Match [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Wes Bentley

3.0 out of 5 stars The story stands by itself, why fabricate it?, 13 Dec 2009
Rating:
As an action soccer/football movie: 5 stars
As a movie in general: 4 stars
As a historically accurate movie: 3 stars

This is quite a bit different than the book and in most ways the book is better. I had some quibbles about the storyline being faithful to the original event, then I read what a few others found faults with the motion picture fact-wise and now, I'm not sure if this movie should even be recommended. For example, the movie seems to state Sir Stanley Matthews did not play in this game because he went on holiday in Rio...yet, I believe Sir Stan's own bookThe Way it Was: My Autobiography says simply that he was not picked to play and after this debacle, yes, he got to play for England subsequently but the tourney seemed to be a bust for the 3 Lions. I mean, Sir Stan would have been about 35 years old when this game would have been played, sure, young enough to participate but we all know we would not see such a player having a 'flippant' attitude about sunning himself on the beach while his team faces the stars and stripes. It does count against a movie if its portrayal of events seems to play fast and loose with the actual facts.

This film has some of the best action scenes of any football movie made, it's neck in neck with the game sequences from ESCAPE TO VICTORY [DVD] with Stallone/Pele/Moore. The movie moves along rather smooth and harmoniously in regards to how it is written and plot development.

Still, I must say, I do believe the screenplay writer might have had a bit of a personal agenda as to his outlook of this movie, I believe the slant is a bit emphatic on the St. Louis end of the team, so on that basis, you could give it a 4 star rating. I think the book itself has the St. Louis slant too but in a fair and balanced manner. I'm not sure if historically, he's fair to the England team at that and if historically, the presentation is truly factual in other aspects as well. Players in England at that time struggled and did not make great wages yet, I think this movie portrays them as arrogant. Is the speech by Stanley Mortensen fact or fiction?? I don't believe it's in the book. In a way, you could compare it to Braveheart, good action movie but is it truly an honest account of the history in question? Maybe not.

It's definitely a Rah-Rah feel-good movie for USA fans of which I count myself but I do believe there are some glaring errors in how this story is told and that disappoints me.


Ascent: The Mountains of the Tour De France
Ascent: The Mountains of the Tour De France
by Richard Yates
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £23.39

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Au Contraire! This book rocks, let's set the record straight., 26 Oct 2009
If you like the whir of a freewheel, a burn in your lungs and legs and the smell of Alpine air, you will enjoy this book.

It'll have to take a Yank to straighten this thing out, I read the soccer magazine FourFourTwo on occasion and it seems to me a dozen books on your soccer/football come out every month from the list that magazine runs as a feature and here some elderly Englishman writes an excellent book on cycling sport's Tour De France, apparently published out of San Francisco and I think it is outstanding. Maybe ye ol' Britishers ought to stick to footy instead and not put down an outstanding book. Now I'll admit, there are some typos, I won't dock it for that, he spells "very" "veru" in one place, hey, this book is about the Tour De France, that kind of sounds French, I think I'll let it slide. Then, there is the fact, that yes, it does seem that this book published in San Francisco does use Americanized English and not that of the home country. Valid enough criticism, why not take it up with the Publishing House, Van Der Plas publications, by the way, Bob Van Der Plas, I think he's a Belgian. You ever hear of Eddie Merckx? He's a Belgian. Belgians have won more Yellow Jerseys, that is Tour De Frances than anyone else except the French themselves. You got a problem with that?? I don't. Even the American reviews are mostly general reviews of this book but at least, it's not some cockamamie analysis. Yes, Mr. Yates, you should have said "colours" instead of "colors."

Some would say, hey, this is like the many books out there, what we in America might call Coffee Table books, you know, a big square or rectangular picture book, no, no it isn't. He covers a lot of detail. All of the major mountains are covered in the book in box features with details such as their grade and their elevation, a diagram, excellent stuff. Then, the book talks about details of the Tour De France and I'm sorry to anyone who says, what he tells us is run of the mill, Yates the Author, obviously hunted down NEWSPAPER CLIPPINGS & OTHER ACCOUNTS, in Francais to give us the truth about this stuff. Apparently, he went to live there.

I doubt, if any other book in the English language talks in details about how the "mountains" went and became a part of the Tour and not certainly with the detail Yates tells us. So, mountains were added but back in 1910+/- and in places like the Pyrenees, they were not easily navigable, NOT navigable in the winter and sometimes, barely by summertime, by Tour Time. We learn how the Tour's inventor and architect Henri Desgrange or one of his surrogates in this case, inspected one mountain to ride during the Tour by leaving his driver who in the winter could not drive any further in the snow and indeed hiked up the mountain and down to the village on the other side, arriving there at 3 o'clock in the morning and search parties were sent out to find him. I don't think I've seen this in other books. By the way, the region's authorities warned against making the mountain a part of the Tour since the status of the road by summer was unpredictable. Desgranges sent his agent to size up the situation and against the position of the region's authorities, the mountain became a part of the Tour successfully. The fact, that early tour stages might be 250 miles long per day in the Tours heyday might be touched on in other Tour books but again, I sure haven't seen that point expounded on. How about that some of the Tours in the 1930s saw all riders using the same build of bike as each other? Lots of intriguing information is here.

And so, Yates cuts off the Tour in 1980 as being the end of the golden age of the Tour?? 1980, Dutchman Joop Zoetemelk won on a steel is real Raleigh?? Doesn't seem like a bad cutoff and within 10-15 years, EPO and Aluminum became the rage of the Tour. Sounds like a fair benchmark to call it the ending of the golden period of the Tour De France. I see a book by a Mr. Owen Mulholland calling Cycling's Golden Age from 1946-1967, so you decide.

Speaking of coffee table books, I think that is an issue that confuses readers on this book. It is a bit oversized, but not like your standard "history of the Tour" books, it's probably close to size per the cover of a children's story book like say a Doctor Seuss book, a bit bigger and has 160 pages of an informative narrative on big pages, that might come out to quite a bit on paperback sized pages, so it is still a comfortably long read. Once you get into it, it is hard to put down. Those big books are ones you look through, look at the pictures, this isn't like that. It's excellent telling us of the many greats, I might be remiss in failing to name all but let's say Eddie Merckx, you find out new things about him and the likes of Thys, Michel, Bottechia, Bartali, colourful figures are discussed in full and their personalities as well as how theirs and other races and stages figured in outcomes. Yates' descriptions of the stages themselves, the heroism and at times, treachery (similar to some of the reviews and ratings here btw) while he can not go through every stage out of a race that is over a hundred years old, would certainly do Phil Ligget proud. The author obviously loves the subject and is your proverbial walking encyclopedia on it.

Read this if you love cycling or else, stick to reading your bios on Beckham, Gerrard and other sporting heroes.


The Way it Was: My Autobiography
The Way it Was: My Autobiography
by Stanley Matthews
Edition: Audio Cassette

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fine detailed account of yesteryear by a major sports figure, 3 Mar 2009
Stanley Matthews memoir is filled with meticulous details of a bygone era. I'm under the impression that Matthews in British sport must hold a place similar to the way we see such figures as Lou Gehrig or Stan Musial and the like. The breadth of detail is in fact a bit cumbersome, I really think the book should be read alongside Matthews' contemporary Tom Finney's My Autobiography which has a nice easygoing flow to it and is highly readable compared to this one. Still, it easily merits a top rating. The print in this book seems to even be smaller but historically it is an excellent account.

Matthews accounts are of the utmost intimate matters, as an example: playing a friendly against Nazi Germany in May, 1938 before a crowd of over 100,000 people in Berlin. The English players actually gave a Nazi salute before the game and there is a famous photograph of this. In this book, you will find out what was going on behind the scenes.

You will find out in those early days of International soccer fixtures, friendlies were regarded as just as important as the World Cup or Olympic games, whereas some tournaments were boycotted back then or not even attended at all with the ominous signs of war growing in Europe and around the world.

The summer of 1939 saw a similar incident, as the English team went into Milan to play the Italian team, the streets were filled with thousands of well-wishers. In the hotel lobby was a Maltese fans expressing their support for the 3 Lions buoyed it seems by a feeling of vulnerability to the Axis powers, Germany and Italy. In this famous game at the San Siro stadium, just like in the 1934 World Cup where referees were suspended for aiding Italy in its wins, this game again, saw farcical refereeing by a German to aid the host team. In reference, the movie Victory with Pele, Caine and Stallone is not really far from the truth in the manner it was directed. The game ended 2-2. 1948 and 1949 again, reflected the true matters at hand, with England winning at home over Italy 2-0 and then in Italy 4-0. Of course, don't tell anyone, Ireland won over England in England 2-0 less than a year before the USA's momentous victory at Belo Horizonte.

Matthews playing in the service during World War II, Matthews receiving a bit more than a pick me up from a doctor during his career and in fact, even Matthews playing until he was seventy years old and yes, retiring due to injury are all covered in this book along with apparently Matthews being a bit of a health nut way back in the day, maintaining a healthy diet and not drinking. One will also read of other major sports figures of the day and of course, of Matthews professional career mainly with Stoke City and Blackpool

The editorial reviews above reads: "'A gracefully crafted autobiography filled with entertaining anecdotes reflecting an age when the game was uncorrupted by greed and hooliganism' -- Birmingham Post

Okay, basically right but it was not uncorrupted as before a players' union was set up in England, the owners were the benefactors of much of the revenue. Likewise, I don't know about hooliganism, but this book does contain an extraordinary memoir of the Burnden (fire) stadium tragedy which demonstrates that events like Hillborough was not the first time events like this had marred the sports scene though it seems to largely be the last time an event of that magnitude happened.


Chariots of Fire
Chariots of Fire
by William John Weatherby
Edition: Paperback

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fills in some spots but basically, just like the movie, 8 Feb 2009
This review is from: Chariots of Fire (Paperback)
A book based on "a" screen play by Colin Welland, so this book really is more or less the movie written into words with one or two interludes from the movie expanded on such as the romance between Harold Abrahams one of the main characters and Sybil who he meets. Additionally, the point with Eric Liddel being faithful to keep the Lord's day holy even at the cost of not running on Sunday at the Paris 1924 Olympics is gone into a bit more detail and becomes a bit more poignant. Likewise, the fact that Liddel actually ran a world record time in the 400 meter might be missed in the movie but is made clear in the book, he did the 400 in 47 3/5 seconds in 1924. Rather impressive and then, after the Olympics ended eventually returned to his missionary work in China. There might be parts of the original movie screen play too, that did not make it to the movie screen. Early in the movie, we see some handicapped British military veterans now, helping out at the train depot moving luggage and hailing cabs. These kinds from World War I are indeed real heroes and I'm not sure about that part of the book where these vets sound a bit embittered from the war but they are covered well in the movie.

For a faithful version of the movie in book form, brief to read at 176 pages, this is definitely worth reading. The movie is pure inspiration, one of the best ever made and this book captures some of that.

There is one glaring error in the book from the movie and indeed, reality itself, it does seem Harold Abrahams, Olympic hero was the son of Lithuanian Jewish immigrants. This is confirmed with little research. The book has it that he is the son of German Jewish immigrants to England. Additionally, any inconsistencies with the true story of these Olympians may be checked with a worthwhile article at wikipedia.

Flanagan's Run (Coronet Books) is a book written by an advisor of the movie Chariots of Fire, Tom Mcnab, on another run around that same era that would be of interest to fans of the movie/book with similar plots and themes.


Triumph: The Untold Story of Jesse Owens and Hitler's Olympics
Triumph: The Untold Story of Jesse Owens and Hitler's Olympics
by Jeremy Schaap
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.50

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eulace Peacock, 25 Jan 2009
This book is about Jesse Owens indeed but I find as an extremely fascinating detail about this book is that their was one, Eulace Peacock, part-Cherokee who was the one man who seemed to be able to equal Jesse Owens in the USA in trying out for the Olympics and in collegiate track and field events and Peacock missed out on the Olympics due to a torn hamstring, how strange fate can be, that these two men were so close to each other's ability, if not for that torn hamstring, we could be talking about Eulace Peacock along with Jesse Owens in regards to the 1936 Olympics, as it is, Peacock is more of a footnote in US Track and Field history although he actually defeated Jesse Owens in 7 out of 10 100 yard dashes between the two.

Otherwise, one character in the book briefly mentioned is a Dr. Wilhelm Gustloff. Not mentioned in the book, is that a Ship was named after him and that ship sunk in 1945 to be the largest Maritime disaster ever recorded, it may have been a hospital ship in fact. Of course, Gustloff was associated with the Nazi party.

All of this might go to say, this book is more than about Jesse Owens and the 1936 Olympics, Luz Long being another part of the whole story, a German Long jumper who in fact, was Owens competitor but selflessly aided Owens with advice that may have helped Owens to another gold medal. Long seems to be a true hero who became a fatality during World War II.

Yes, I've read the other reviews and perhaps Schaap has interjected some personal views but I'd still grade this the full five stars for telling us this vibrant story. The build up is fascinating and concise in telling of some of Owens' early life and the build up of the Olympics. Too, I'm happy that Schaap relates to us information about the Olympic Committee, Avery Brundage and the AAU. Clearly, we frown upon people saying Olympics should be boycotted from time to time such as to our efforts in China or the 1980 games. But Schaap and other authors point out information that I believe shows that some of our American Olympic officials may not be fair as well. One example was the treatment of Jim Thorpe and there are many others throughout the years. Schaap gives press accounts from back then and then, to the year 2008: I will read Epoch Times on the internet in covering the Beijing Olympics and I see parallels though in this case, attending the Olympics seems to have been the best thing to do. As for the 1936 question, maybe we should have passed on those Olympics that the Nazis hosted; but from the book, it seems the German public were truly enamored with Owens, the world's greatest athlete.

Lastly, the book does build up to the Olympics, maybe it is like the first 2/3rds of the book is the build up and then once in Berlin, the book seems to go at a very fast pace, understandably but it does cover Jesse Owens and what a sprinter, I appreciate him even more after this book as opposed to the modern sprinters we might have seen in Beijing or Athens or Sydney in recent years. On the back of the book is the quote: "You think you know about Jesse Owens, you think you know the whole story about the '36 Olympics. Think again"- Mike Lupica. To this, I only thought, I wouldn't claim to know about those '36 Olympics barely an iota. All we hear about it seems is how Jesse won those gold medals back then. This book informs us about that event extremely well.

Just to add slightly to this review, Great Britain is in fact mentioned in the book a few times as the winter games are briefly covered where Team GB won the ice hockey competition though not specifically mentioned and also there reception in Berlin at the opening games ceremony when all of the teams march. In fact, I believe Jesse found himself short of a pair of kangaroo leather running shoes in Germany and so they first opted to try to get some purchased and sent over from Great Britain, so this book should be of interest to readers over there as well.


Winning at All Costs: A Scandalous History of Italian Soccer
Winning at All Costs: A Scandalous History of Italian Soccer
by John Foot
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.23

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mussolini's World Cup, Dive for this and a dive for that.., 23 Jan 2009
If this book did come out with a new title sensationalising it's text as being a "scandalous history"; that might be the only quibble I have with the book. It is really an all-around history as far as I can see. Maybe 20 percent is that "scandalous" part and that would entail the match fixing scandals and some other items that have occurred but I read it for all it's other information. Fascinating chapters of history, fascinating profiles. So, in the book, you have profiles of players, profiles of teams, world cup appearances, foreigners in their league, yes, Gazza is in there along with Klinsmann and a number of others, the origins of the game there, it has just about everything except maybe statistic tables but it does have a glossary of "calcio" terms. Though I've read through it, I've found it convenient to just open up randomly as well.


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