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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Forget The Trashing --- This Is The Definitive Hancock.
Whoever disses this book looks at early life factual inaccuracies. It is factually in accurate because not much is known about the early years, and this book uses what is in the public domain.

I am a huge Hancock fan, (he died four months before I was born) and next to the aforementioned Freddie Hancock book, this is the definitive biography. The important...
Published 5 months ago by DJ MacDonald

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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Muck is raked aplenty but little new is revealed.
The jacket of this books proclaims it to be 'The first authoratative and detailed account' of Tony Hancock's life, something that probably came as a bit of a surprise to David Nathan and Freddie Hancock who co-wrote "Hancock-A biography." Perhaps this bold claim led me to expect from this book but I can't honestly say that I was very much enlightened about...
Published on 9 Aug 1999


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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Muck is raked aplenty but little new is revealed., 9 Aug 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: When The Wind Changed : The Life and Death of Tony Hancock (Hardcover)
The jacket of this books proclaims it to be 'The first authoratative and detailed account' of Tony Hancock's life, something that probably came as a bit of a surprise to David Nathan and Freddie Hancock who co-wrote "Hancock-A biography." Perhaps this bold claim led me to expect from this book but I can't honestly say that I was very much enlightened about Hancock's life after reading it.
The outline of Hancock's life is well known and this book recounts it fluently enough but adds little to what is already known. True, Cliff Goodwin goes into more detail about Hancock's decline in alcoholism but this gives the impression of coming from a desire to muck rake rather than to produce any deep analysis (especially as some of the anecdotes, such as Hancock frequenting known homosexual bars come from such dubious sources as corrupt detectives). There is much that can, and still needs to be said about Hancock's life, but this biography does not do this.
In the end, it is the failure of Cliff Godwin to produce any sort of analysis that makes this biography unnecessary when compared to the previously mentioned book by David Nathan & Freddie Hancock
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Forget The Trashing --- This Is The Definitive Hancock., 20 July 2014
This review is from: When The Wind Changed : The Life and Death of Tony Hancock (Hardcover)
Whoever disses this book looks at early life factual inaccuracies. It is factually in accurate because not much is known about the early years, and this book uses what is in the public domain.

I am a huge Hancock fan, (he died four months before I was born) and next to the aforementioned Freddie Hancock book, this is the definitive biography. The important factors are here, which alludes to his career and subsequent decline into mental illness, alcoholism, suicidal tendencies and consequent destruction of a man who's greatness was known to all, but himself. From 1954 Tony Hancock hit the self destruct button, almost around the time his Radio show began to take off. Chip shops would close during transmission, streets were cleared, people stopped and assembled around their wireless set for Hancock's Half Hour.

My personal feeling is Hancock was aware of his success, but had a hard time living up to it, or rather his interpretation of what people expected him to be. If he reached a pinnacle, he wanted to go higher, he wanted to deliver perfection, he was afraid he couldn't be what the nation idolized in him. His self destruction came through his obvious melancholia, where he sought perfection and to be so in his work at this time, but alas perfection cannot be found and this destroyed him. His confidence was shot, as he lived in fear of becoming a comedy duo such as Laurel and Hardy with Sid James, his assumption that his main writers Galton & SImpson betrayed him, which led to their dismissal, and the fact that the perfection he sought professionally destroyed his personal life. The depression led to anger, the anger led to more alcohol, internalizing and subsequently domestic violence.

There's a lot of iconic moments in this book during his decline shortly before his death, like detailed description of the last time Sid James saw Hancock alive. A bittersweet moment for a man who saw Tony as a brother-father like figure. Sid James, despite the acrimonious breakup, often refers to Hancock as being "The best friend I ever had".

Goodwin does a good job of bringing Hancock's decline together in fine detail, a lot of it from previously known material, but tell me the man died in 1968, what "new" material are you expecting? It is at times a heart-rendering book that is written, I think often as Hancock would tell it. Straight laced, to the point, with no pretentiousness. Agreed certain aspects do seem lazy and could have been better researched. No one really knows the true Hancock, not Cicely, not even Freddie, because Hancock never let you see the "real" him, not even to those closest. The information on his life is only documented from previously known material, and no doubt Freddie refused any part of this biography, which she saw as forsaking her own, based only on the years she knew him, which was only several years.

Despite the flaws, it reads well, and gives one a more in-depth look at Hancock overall, and so what if supposition has imposed in this case. The efforts of Cliff Goodwin may not be too far off from the truth. I found this more amenable than Freddie Hancock's, this let me know more about the man than anything else ever written. In fact, this is one of my all-time favourite books. I don't say that too often.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Tony Hancock, 10 Jan 2004
By 
John Howarth-brown (Emsworth, Hants United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: When The Wind Changed : The Life and Death of Tony Hancock (Hardcover)
This book was presented in a very readable style - easy and relaxed. I bought the book because I have a keen interest in geneaology and already knew that Tony Hancock was a relative of mine. However I found that many of the details about Tony's early family life and relations were incorrect and clearly not thoroughly researched. As to his professional life; well I can't vouch for the accuracy of that, but knowing that the first part was not all correct, made me wonder about the rest of it. I had attempted to get in contact with the author,and had been assured that in subsequent additions the errors would be corrected, so far that hasn't happened. To anyone using the book as a source for research - beware.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Funniest comedian with the saddest life, 6 Jun 2013
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This review is from: When The Wind Changed : The Life and Death of Tony Hancock (Hardcover)
Reviews seem polarised on this solid effort from Cliff Goodwin. However, I don't think the author can be accused of "muck raking" as some reviewers claim. If the author hadn't have included the darker side of Tony's life then he would have been criticised for glossing over those aspects, and after all, a good biography should be a warts-and-all account of someones life, rather than an a la carte affair.

Like any biography on such a fascinating man as Tony Hancock, "When The Wind Changed" will not provide any answers to the questions we all have and would dearly love answered. Tony took those with him. At best we can trace the dots and reach our own conclusions. It is a shame that Tony never kept, as one of his colleagues Kenneth Williams did, a diary. Now that would have been a read.

Thanks for the laughter Tony.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars yellow press journalism, 1 April 2004
By A Customer
This is piece of poorly researched journalism. There is almost nothing new in the book and appears to be very little first hand material. Mr Goodwin appears to have simply collated a mass of press cuttings and fan club magazine articles and glued them together. Written in an easy, chatty style, and well edited. But in all key respects its a waste of money.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars a disgrace, 17 April 2012
to say this book is full of factuel errors is an understatement.the author should never be allowed to write another book again.some examples pat dixon produced the 5th radio series of hancocks half hour he only produced the first episode the other 19 were produced by tom ronald.hancock appeared as a guest on this is your life in 1966.this is your life wasnt on tv in 1966.england beat australia in a test at lords in 1968 they didnt it was at the oval. i could go on but you get the idea.what happened to fact checkers?buy john fishers book.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, but flawed., 9 Sep 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: When The Wind Changed : The Life and Death of Tony Hancock (Hardcover)
This is the first indepth, full length bio of Hancock, since the original in 1969 by Freddie Hancock. Nothing very much new is unearthed, the unpleasant pages concerning Hancock's sexual predilections add nothing to our understanding of the man and comedian. There is not as much as I would have wished on Tony's most durable monument, Hancock's Half Hour,which I think we should remember him for. A personal interest: a cousin Jack Fossett is quoted on page 67, he worked with Tony in the Gang show during the war. A puzzle, he is not credited in the Interviews, and the story he tells I worked up for an article for the Hancock society magazine which is not credited either. Despite Tony's all too human faults though, at the end of the book we still love him.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another sad book about a funny man, 23 Jan 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: When The Wind Changed : The Life and Death of Tony Hancock (Hardcover)
I'm not going to criticise the author for 'muck raking'. the fact that hancock's last few years were fairly sordid is not news - both the books by his second wife and David Nathan (published in 1969) and also 10 years ago by his mistress Joan Le Mesurier made that pretty clear, and this book uses much materiel from those books. the homosexual revelatiosn here are new, and the author has made sure they are from more than one source (not just the bent copper referred to by antoher reivewer).
Goodwin pulls together the various strands of Hancock's dissolution, and by the end of the book I felt I had a better idea of why the poor bloke fell apart the way he did. For Hancock to be as good as he was at what he did, and to be unable to realise that, or comprehend how it was he did what he did, must have been terrifying.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good place to start, 29 Nov 2004
This book attracts a lot of criticism for it's simplistic style and (some) factual inaccuracies. That said it's an excellent introduction to a complex and ultimately elusive subject. Many biographers (EG Roger Lewis) take up most of the pages trying to expound their views and opinions as well as their grasp of grammar and obscure words ( I've been to university and this the proof...)
This book revealed little of Cliff Goodwin, avoided fruity language and clever syntax and did a good workmanlike job of laying out the life and times of "the Lad". Just how it should be.
One reservation would be that photographs were poor and meagre, but that said Hancock didn't really like being captured off screen
I would strongly recommend getting the books by his second wife (Freddie) and mistress (Joan Le Mesurier) to expand the picture as well the DVD of the first TV series to see what the fuss (and rightly so) was all about.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "the lad himself" in immense detail., 27 Aug 2005
By 
Mr. A. E. Ward Davies (Canterbury , England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
a ground-breaking biography of the comedian tony hancock and also the best book ever published about him. cliff goodwin manages to combine facts about hancock the man as well the performer. it makes for gripping reading; the mood swings, hancock's suffering from manic depression, the years of tremendous success, the fall from grace and then suicide. what this biography proves above anything, is that comedy is certainly a stressful and unfunny business when it comes to making people laugh. tony hancock is a typical example of this.

instead of having chapters with numbers or titles as is the norm, cliff goodwin has named each chapter with a year of hancock's life. in other words, he tries to highlight all the major events that occured in a certain year starting with hancock's birth(1924) and finishing with his death(1968). a brillaint idea. the photographs have been very well selected.

for the first in print, you get to see the entire script of the infamous "face to face" interview with john freeman. i've seen clips of this T.V interview and i'm afraid hancock didn't look as though he was coping too well.

as i read this, the same question kept occuring to me time and again and that was: "how can someone as talented as this man let his career go off the rails the way it did?" this book endevours to find some sort of an answer.

an entertaining but sad read of a brillaint but troubled comedian.
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When The Wind Changed : The Life and Death of Tony Hancock
When The Wind Changed : The Life and Death of Tony Hancock by Cliff Goodwin (Hardcover - Jun 1999)
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