Customer Reviews


10 Reviews
5 star:
 (7)
4 star:
 (1)
3 star:
 (1)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:
 (1)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Now I can prove it
Frank tells it as it is and how it was back in Salford in the 60s and 70s. Very easy reading and he has managed to change my feelings about Bullfighting.

The reason for the title is that he was my Driving Instructor (the car breaking down on the way to the Test didn't do anything for my nerves or confidence!). No-one since has believed me when I tell them that...
Published on 10 Sep 2009 by Mrs. Audrey Williams

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Naively written, but refreshingly honest
The unmentionable Ryan Giggs, coward, idiot, philanderer and footballist, thinks that this book is "as mad and funny as Frank himself", which is not a particularly good recomendation to put on the cover. The deranged scribblings of mad men aren't particularly enjoyable and in any case a footballist can hardly be expected to be in a position to make an informed...
Published on 1 July 2011 by D. R. Cantrell


Most Helpful First | Newest First

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Now I can prove it, 10 Sep 2009
By 
Mrs. Audrey Williams (France) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Last British Bullfighter (Paperback)
Frank tells it as it is and how it was back in Salford in the 60s and 70s. Very easy reading and he has managed to change my feelings about Bullfighting.

The reason for the title is that he was my Driving Instructor (the car breaking down on the way to the Test didn't do anything for my nerves or confidence!). No-one since has believed me when I tell them that my Driving Instructor was a Bullfighter but now I can prove it by showing them his book. He is also the excuse I use as to why I like to drive big cars.........FAST.

Good luck to him for sticking to his guns or swords!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "IT'S IMPOSSIBLE - AND WHAT'S MORE, IT'S NOT EASY", 31 Aug 2009
By 
B. Harding (London UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Last British Bullfighter (Paperback)
"IT'S IMPOSSIBLE - AND WHAT'S MORE, IT'S NOT EASY"

This is the advice given to Frank Evans when he asked how to set about becoming a bullfighter. He ignored it, and followed his dream, and still continues to follow it to this day. In this book, he sets out in his own words the long, twisting path from butcher's son in Salford to successful matador de toros bravos. Along the way, he has had a variety of jobs and businesses, but ever since he identified his ambition to fight bulls, he has been faithful to that dream, in the course of which he has overcome enormous problems which would have made lesser men give it all up, and seek a quiet life.

What is it that drives a person to keep pile-driving through all the obstacles between them and a career in bullfighting? Frank describes it thus:
"But once you've tasted the thrill of a fighting bull gliding past in close proximity, smelt its sweet and overpowering odour and arrived at that moment of trust that comes when you know it is convinced in the muleta, then you are captured for ever. Bullfighting has got you then and it won't let go."

The writing is very straightforward and accessible, the style, conversational. You can hear Frank's voice speaking the words on every page in this book; it is an enjoyable and informative read.

Throughout the book, Frank gives useful explanations of the procedures followed in a corrida - obviously aimed at the layman - but what is interesting to the aficionado is that these descriptions are from the point of view of the matador, rather than the spectator.

A brief summary: Frank first heard enthusiastic tales about bulls from his father, Ralph, who was stationed in Gibraltar during the Second World War, and made visits to bullrings over the border in Spain. Frank later became friendly with a neighbouring Spanish family in Salford, and from them he heard intriguing stories about Manuel Benítez "El Cordobés"; when he was 20 they invited him to a family wedding in Granada, where he developed his love of Spain further - and at last got to see a bullfight.

He worked in Ralph's butcher business, and played rugby, both league and union, at a high competitive level (for Sale and Salford), before dropping everything and going to Majorca to rendezvous with English bullfighter Vincent Hitchcock, and learn from him how to fight bulls. Hitchcock didn't turn up. Moving to Valencia, Frank joined a school for hopeful bullfighters, and eventually got to face a real animal in a village fiesta - which turned into a farce - before returning to England, and back to work as a driving instructor. There he got in touch with George Erik, founder of the Club Taurino of London, who agreed to act as his manager in Spain. His first contract was a case of mistaken identity: he was known locally as "El Inglés", and despite never having killed a bull, he was signed up for a fight in France which should have been given to the other "El Inglés" - Henry Higgins, already an established bullfighter.

Marriage and raising a family brought him back to Salford, and he found himself in business with the mythical footballer George Best, running a boutiques and nightclubs empire, and dealing with the eccentricities of Mr. Best (some very funny episodes here). Frank then got into boxing promotion, which also led to some colourful adventures, and then bizarrely, he set up a bedroom and bathroom fitting service. When his father Ralph died prematurely of a heart attack, Frank took a long hard look at himself, and realised that what he really wanted to do was to get back to the bulls. He was fortunate to team up with professional matador Vicente Ruiz "El Soro", who was impressed by what he could learn from Frank's rugby and boxing training methods. The association benefited Frank too, and he finally started to get contracts, and rubbed shoulders with important contacts in the world of bulls. There is a very funny episode, where the only way he can be sure to be paid by a dodgy impresario is to rob the cash from the box office.

This period culminated in Frank being upgraded to full matador, but the downside was that there were no contracts offered as a matador. This broke suddenly when a far-sighted impresario offered him corridas in the Costa del Sol plaza of Benalmadena; he could see that an English bullfighter would be a draw for tourists. Then South America called, with contracts in Venezuela and Mexico, and France too; Benalmadena continued to offer opportunities; Frank finally realised that he was being taken seriously, and he watched his name creep up the matador charts.

Serious health problems caught up with him; first his knee, and then his heart, and both required major surgery. After a full recovery, Frank felt better than ever, and planned his comeback. With other partners he became involved in a management and promotion business, and although he is officially retired, he has appeared in several festivals, with a fair degree of success. Frank speculates that until another one comes along, he may well prove to be the last British bullfighter. He has achieved the impossible, and it wasn't easy. At the end of August 2009 he made a successful comeback appearance, and announced his intention of carrying on fighting bulls thus: "I'm not going to retire. I'll just fade away in the distance; I'll do it as long as I enjoy doing it. I can't say how fit I'll feel in my seventies."
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars El Ingles, 24 Nov 2009
This review is from: The Last British Bullfighter (Paperback)
A great read and a fascinating life story.

Frank Evans is a really self motivated and focussed man whose fascination with a 'taboo' topic amongst English people has been not prevented him in any way from becoming a fully fledged matador.

Each part of this book makes good reading and for me to read it on a Spanish holiday seemed so appropriate.

His knowledge of bullfighting is immense and he has not proved shy of putting his life on the line in order to fulfil what has been his central ambition in life.

Well worth the money although I am sure the 'politically correct brigade' will be horrified to hear of someone approving this fascinating book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Success against all odds, however long it took !, 10 Sep 2009
By 
C. D. Ferguson (Studland, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Last British Bullfighter (Paperback)
Frank Evans is a man to be admired, not only for having the guts to take up the challenge of fighting bulls - it's in the blood - but to have overcome the huge obstacles for an Englishman in this profession ... and with no money. Foreign matadors have occasionaly been accepted, albeit grudgingly. Over the years there has always been a scattering of Mexican, Colombian, Venezuelan, Peruvian and now, increasingly, French matadors but they have had to fight extra hard to get on the bills in Spain, even with talent and money behind them. I tried in the '60s, got nowhere and quickly gave up. Friends like Chris Meagher (an Australian, later a successful lawyer) and Robert Ryan 'California' had more luck but eventually came up against the seedier behind-the-scenes entry difficulties which Frank describes so amusingly. This is two books in one. Mostly about Frank's life in and out of the ring yet containing the makings of another on its own about his friendship with footballer George Best when back in Manchester. It's OK to pack it in now, Frank. You can always come back.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Naively written, but refreshingly honest, 1 July 2011
By 
D. R. Cantrell (London, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Last British Bullfighter (Paperback)
The unmentionable Ryan Giggs, coward, idiot, philanderer and footballist, thinks that this book is "as mad and funny as Frank himself", which is not a particularly good recomendation to put on the cover. The deranged scribblings of mad men aren't particularly enjoyable and in any case a footballist can hardly be expected to be in a position to make an informed recommendation.

Thankfully, I didn't know about the publisher's execrable lack of taste when I purchased this book online - I bought it on the strength of an interview with Mr. Evans on the ever-tasteful, erudite and educational Radio 4.

Giggs is either a liar, has trouble with the English language, or didn't bother to read the book. There's nothing mad about Evans, nor is it at all a funny book. Evans is passionate, perhaps. Eccentric maybe. Driven, certainly. Evans is also not a very good writer. Most biographies flow smoothly from sentence to sentence, paragraph to paragraph, and chapter to chapter. This one doesn't. It judders and jumps and pauses, but in doing so it mirrors real life. Real life is not a smooth progression, it is long periods in which nothing of note happens, just long slow change, punctuated by occasional shocks and memorable events. You get the distinct impression that Evans is telling the truth, because he clearly hasn't tried to construct a coherent easy-flowing tale. Bravo!

I really liked this book, and I recommend it. It gets dinged a couple of stars for the nave writing style, for the publisher thinking that we're idiots who will go "Ooooooh, Ryan Giggs", and for a coupla minor points where Evans assumes that we know more about him than he's actually included in the book, and which an editor should have caught.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars A great and individual personality., 7 Nov 2013
By 
Coates Alan Mr (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Last British Bullfighter (Paperback)
A great opportunity to read about what a can do attitude is capable of producing. The title gives a flavour of the man's main passion the contest with the bull but also tells his story of working of working with George Best - one wonders which was most challenging. All through this work his strong commitment to his family shines through. One of those reads that lifts the spirit.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars A very funny and entertaing book., 2 Aug 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Last British Bullfighter (Paperback)
Having seen Frank Evans "torear" I wanted to read more about his life and exploits. This book lived up to what I hoped for.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Introduction to the Spanish Culture, 8 April 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Last British Bullfighter (Paperback)
A good insight into a different world and how it is possible to follow your dreams. A view on how differnt the culture is in Spain.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent service, 1 Oct 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Last British Bullfighter (Paperback)
The book was ordered as a gift and arrived within 3 days and was in pristine condition. I understand the recipient thoroughly enjoyed it and found it brought back memories of a different Spain and a younger time of life.

Oxymoron
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Freedom of Expression, 15 Sep 2009
By 
S. Morley (Liverpool, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Last British Bullfighter (Paperback)
I have been asked to place this review by Steve Lawson of Nantwich Books.

'Prior to reading Frank Evans' book I would have considered attending a Bullfight.

I would not now.

For this reason I believe that this book should reach a wider audience. It may deter others from attending Bullfights.'

"If we don't believe in Freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all" (Naom Chomsky).
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

The Last British Bullfighter
The Last British Bullfighter by Frank Evans (Paperback - 7 Aug 2009)
Used & New from: 0.01
Add to wishlist See buying options
Only search this product's reviews