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krsquared (London)

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Enemy Number One: The Secrets of the UK's Most Feared Professional Punter
Enemy Number One: The Secrets of the UK's Most Feared Professional Punter
by Patrick Veitch
Edition: Hardcover

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Didn't stay, 9 Dec 2009
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I have been fascinated by horse racing for many years and my punting has had mixed results. I know from experience that regular profits from betting are very hard to come by.
So the author is to be congratulated on becoming one of the most successful punters the UK has ever seen, with his results attributable to a combination of a sharp enquiring mind and limitless determination.
The question at stake here though is do his exploits make for a good read and again I'd say the results are mixed. The first few chapters were certainly interesting as Veitch reveals how at the local bookies he found the perfect opportunity to put his analytical teenage mind to profitable use. Having started a maths degree at Cambridge he soon concluded there was more fun, cash and satisfaction to be gained from betting (and running a highly successful tipping line) & hence his studies were left uncompleted. He then describes how he went into hiding, fearing for his life, to evade a violent gangster who had demanded `money with menaces'.
So far so good. In the second half of the book Veitch describes how he took the bookies for over ten million pounds through a series of meticulously planned coups.
However there are few anecdotes to season the tale and little from racing's inner sanctum to involve the reader. Nor is there much here to help or encourage punters looking to improve their own results. David Nevison's first book is better value and certainly a more entertaining read.


The Last Champion: The Life of Fred Perry
The Last Champion: The Life of Fred Perry
by Jon Henderson
Edition: Hardcover

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hits the sweet spot, 16 Nov 2009
Despite being a `tennis nut', prior to picking this up I didn't know much more about Perry other that he'd won three consecutive Wimbledon titles.
Jon Henderson has put together a fast moving and well researched biography which I found both absorbing and entertaining.
The account of his childhood as the son of a Co-operative Member of Parliament is particularly strong.
Perry was determined to make something of his life and having conquered the table tennis world in his teens, `lawn' tennis seemed the natural progression.
Tennis hasn't changed much in England over the past seventy years and the book reveals how Perry's natural talent coupled with his irresistible inner drive enabled him to overcome the sport's class barriers to achieve his goals. Following his third consecutive Wimbledon title in 1936, Perry turned professional and joined the US based `racket for hire' tour to achieve the wealth and worldwide fame which he undoubtedly deserved.
In summary it's an excellent read which will certainly hit the sweet-spot for any tennis fan. I would have liked more detail about his Wimbledon wins, but `nobody's perfect'!


The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World
The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World
by Niall Ferguson
Edition: Hardcover

27 of 42 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars See the show first!, 12 Jan 2009
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I think this tome could best be described as an `accompanying volume' to the recent Channel Four series of the same name.
Having enjoyed the shows I decided to tackle this work, despite only having a fairly rudimentary knowledge of the subject matter.
I'd have to say that, whilst interesting in places, I found it quite hard work at times and indigestible in certain places. I would certainly recommend the general reader to watch the TV series before getting involved.
My strongest criticism would be that this work does not present a balanced view. Maybe it would be foolish to expect one, given the author's background. But a homage to money published when the world's financial structures are teetering on the brink of something very nasty indeed seems mistimed to this reviewer.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 16, 2009 11:28 AM GMT


A Bloody Good Winner: Life as a Professional Gambler
A Bloody Good Winner: Life as a Professional Gambler
by Dave Nevison
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Classic material, 18 Dec 2008
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I have always been fascinated by gambling and horse-racing so this book was eagerly awaited.
Many punters look up to Nevison as somebody who, if not quite living the dream, has managed to fund a decent lifestyle on the strength of his betting prowess.
He makes it clear in the book that there are no shortcuts on the road to backing winners and it's refreshing to read his honest opinions.
Media coverage of racing seems to be choc-a-bloc with fence-sitters but you certainly won't find much of that in here - he's frank, opinionated and enjoyable to read.
My dad (who's in his eighties) loved it too.


The Rivals: Chris Evert vs. Martina Navratilova - Their Rivalry, Their Friendship, Their Legacy
The Rivals: Chris Evert vs. Martina Navratilova - Their Rivalry, Their Friendship, Their Legacy
by Johnette Howard
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars OH I say, 2 Dec 2008
This book is the story of the two players who dominated the ladies' game as it emerged from its humble origins to become the world's richest female sport.
The contrasts between them existed on so many levels - their origins, their style of play, their on-court demeanour, their love lives - that the rivalry could have hardly been better scripted to have grabbed the public's attention.
All this is superbly brought to life by the author's crisp prose which is chock-a-block with insider tales and quotes from those who were really there.
This is an essential volume for tennis fans with much to enjoy for the general reader too.


The Italian Job
The Italian Job
by Gianluca Vialli
Edition: Hardcover

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a refreshing change, 18 Sep 2006
This review is from: The Italian Job (Hardcover)
This is a refreshing change from the run of the mill football biographies that dominate the best selling lists.

The authors managed to secure interviews with the likes of Ferguson, Wenger & Mourinho who draw on their personal experience to provide some illuminating insights into the differences between English and Italian football. The book appeared before the 2006 World Cup and uncannily predicts the relative performances of those sides there - England, limited by their players' tactical shortcomings, once again failing to live up to the hype, whereas the Italians drew strength from their off the field problems to lift the trophy.

As anyone familiar with Marcotti's pieces in The Times would expect, the book is generally well written and accessible. Some of the statistics are weak and the graphing of player's abilities looks dubious to this reader. In addition, Vialli's unsuccessful stint at Watford is completely overlooked. It will be interesting to see if the paperback edition is expanded to cover both the World Cup and the summer's corruption scandal in Italian football.

But overall this is likely to be one of the best reads of the 2006/7 season.


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