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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Jean de Gribaldy show
Kelly legendary hardness is matched by his understated commentary and dry wit. Running through his writing is his humility - he is no big shot or grandstander. Theres not a hint of cockiness - but always some self doubt - in his descriptions of races that from the outside he looked nailed on to win and was the favourite. His Vuelta win and Liege-Bastogne-Liege win (the...
Published 13 months ago by bentleyburner

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars good but needs some editing...
Compelling read but very dry. The odd bits of emotion or humour therefore stick out, since this book's very matter of factual style can get a bit like reading a laundry-list of his amazing accomplishments.
A little more on the feelings and descriptive writing would not have damaged the image of who is an amazing modest "farmer's buy done good" on a bike. He...
Published 7 months ago by David speedy


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Jean de Gribaldy show, 6 Feb. 2014
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This review is from: Hunger: Sean Kelly: The Autobiography (Hardcover)
Kelly legendary hardness is matched by his understated commentary and dry wit. Running through his writing is his humility - he is no big shot or grandstander. Theres not a hint of cockiness - but always some self doubt - in his descriptions of races that from the outside he looked nailed on to win and was the favourite. His Vuelta win and Liege-Bastogne-Liege win (the latter where he tactically outmanoeuvres his own team mates Rooks and Theunise) are recalled in great detail. Everything he achieved was built natural ability, guile and most of all hard graft.

The book is unputdownable until the death of DS and mentor Jean de Gribaldy - a larger than life character whose old school methods and bare faced cheek could probably have filled another book. Nevertheless a great read and a must have for anybody who lived through the greatest cycling decade ever - the 80s.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, 9 Oct. 2013
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This review is from: Hunger: Sean Kelly: The Autobiography (Hardcover)
Bought this for my husband, a real Kelly fan, a great insight into the usually private man and the world of professional racing. Kept him glued to it for hours and he is not really a book person
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Quiet Man, 3 Jan. 2014
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This review is from: Hunger: Sean Kelly: The Autobiography (Hardcover)
Simple, unadulterated, dry style of writing typical of Kelly's persona, but superbly perceptive & touches of fine wit. Not a hint of arrogance or bragging anywhere exactly as he comes across in his recent years of Eurosport commentary....never says more than he needs to say & never provocative.
Rich
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A tough man in a tough sport, 12 Jan. 2015
This review is from: Hunger: Sean Kelly: The Autobiography (Hardcover)
Sean Kelly was voted Waterford's Sportman of the 20th Century. He's a proud legend across the county and in Irish sporting circles, for his world beating achievements in the 70s & 80s. He's mentioned in the same breath as Hinault, LeMond, Roche, Fignon - all great champions of his era in the golden age of cycling when it was a headline sport in Ireland.

Yet while we all know Sean Kelly, he still has a lot of mystery surrounding him. He's still a public figure through his commentary on Eurosport, and he still lives on a farm near Carrick-on-Suir, regularly seen on the roads going for a spin around the Comeraghs or along the Suir Valley. However he's also a private man, unassuming and quiet, not a "celebrity" or someone who loves the limelight. And he has a dark cloud over his head for his position on drugs in cycling. "Hear no evil, see no evil" seems to be the mantra.

I was looking forward to this book for two reasons: one to be inspired by how a Waterfordman rose from humble beginnings to be a world beater for over 10 years; secondly to gain some insight on his thoughts on drugs & cheating in the sport when he was competing. While Hunger is a great read, especially if you imagine Kelly reading aloud the narrative in his unique style, he avoids the black hole that is drugs like Bertie Ahern looking back on his Celtic Tiger years. He doesn't glamorise the sport, but he frankly avoids the topic of drugs. There are about 2 pages where he mentions the drug tests he failed - his excuses are weak. One relates to a tampered urine test and the second to a failure in the test process.

This book does read very well - it's his voice telling the story. Hunger is a good title - he succeeded not because he was athletically stronger or naturally more talented on a bike. He got to the top because he wouldn't give up, he had huge hunger. That desire started when he was young. He left school, worked, then made a big move into the unknown by moving to France and racing. Those years were tough under Gribaldy - food deprived, trained to breaking point, scraping ends meat by going from criterium to criterium, all squeezed into a tiny car. Definitely not a comfortable lifestyle of luxury coaches, flights or hotels that you may see cycling as.

So this book left me asking questions - how could I be so against any form of cheating in sport and hate everything Armstrong and all that stood for, yet I still admire someone who also has questions to answer and even more so has remained silent, rather than clearly condemn any cheats? This ambivalence is difficult to deal with, my heart overruling my head - because he's Irish, because we're Waterfordmen, because his name hasn't been pinned to the wall by WADA, journalists like Kimmage or Walsh in the same way that Stephen Roche and all the others have.q

Maybe Kelly was unfortunate to race at a time when the sport was tainted and he largely did the right thing. Maybe that's why he avoids the subject, as he wants people to see the bigger picture - it was still bloody hard and the level of drug taking was different to what emerged in the 90s and 00s with EPO and blood transfusions. All I know is that he's hard not to like, so I'll still be rolling up for the Sean Kelly Tour of Waterford next August. I'm also waiting for the audiobook version of Hunger to be released - imagine Sean narrating his life story - that Carrick accent would keep anybody listening.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic Kelly, 8 April 2014
This review is from: Hunger: Sean Kelly: The Autobiography (Hardcover)
Unusually for a sports autobiography, this book gives you a real sense of the man. This is possibly because it is released some 20 years after he retired and there is an opportunity for perspective here. The character of Kelly comes through strongly as does the hard, dedicated life of a cyclist - largely devoid of glamour and sentiment, certainly at that time. For me, some of the best parts are Kelly's early years as an amateur. The "hunger" that forms the title here is evident, with a really well pitched opening chapter. Interestingly, very little commentary on the doping controversies of recent years. Definitely recommended for any cycling fans and a must for those with an interest in Sean Kelly.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best cycling book ever, 24 Sept. 2013
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This review is from: Hunger: Sean Kelly: The Autobiography (Hardcover)
This is the best cycling book I have ever read,I would recommend it anyone interested in cycling.He was my hero, and after reading this I he is more-so.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars King Kelly, 13 Aug. 2013
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This review is from: Hunger: Sean Kelly: The Autobiography (Hardcover)
This book portrays the perfect requirements to become a successful 'Pro-Cyclist'. Even in retirement, Sean is still extremely passionate about producing the next "Best Professional" racing cyclist. An absolutely fantastic Read!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating story of one of the greatest, and most modest cyclists ever. A great read., 3 Jun. 2014
This review is from: Hunger: Sean Kelly: The Autobiography (Hardcover)
Simon C

As Kelly was at the top of his game when I became interested in cycling in the mid '80s, I read this in a couple of nights. Like many other reviewers have written, it tells Kelly's story, from farmer's son to all-conquering champion, with as much understatement and as little embellishment as it is possible to imagine. He portrays the toughness of the big races, the quiet arrangements made between teams in an absolutely matter of fact way. His descriptions of his relationships with de Gribaldy, and the Nys family of Belgium, are touching insights into a very private man.

Again, as other reviewers have noted, I was amazed at the almost complete lack of acknowledgement of the darker side of professional cycling, that of doping. He talks obliquely of "when I had a problem with the dope control" having tested positive for Stimul. Although Kimmage is a friend, Kelly gives him only lukewarm support for having written "A Rough Ride". Considering he spent time at PDM with Theunisse et al, I'm sure he's aware of a lot, lot more than is mentioned here.

That said, the book overall was engaging, drawing you into the suffering and elation of the toughest sport. Robert Millar's chapter at the end is the perfect epilogue from another great of the era. Highly recommended
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2.0 out of 5 stars A dull book, 19 Mar. 2015
This review is from: Hunger: Sean Kelly: The Autobiography (Hardcover)
I have every respect for Sean Kelly as a rider but a writer he is not!
This book is really dull and monotonous and is mainly the story of races won and lost
Where is the insight ,where is the intrigue,where is the inside information about rivals characters and foibles?
To ignore the drugs question is ridiculous as they have been part of bike racing since it first began
I have read many books on racing cyclists from all eras but this one does not measure up
A professional writer would have made a much better job
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3.0 out of 5 stars good but needs some editing..., 31 Aug. 2014
This review is from: Hunger: Sean Kelly: The Autobiography (Hardcover)
Compelling read but very dry. The odd bits of emotion or humour therefore stick out, since this book's very matter of factual style can get a bit like reading a laundry-list of his amazing accomplishments.
A little more on the feelings and descriptive writing would not have damaged the image of who is an amazing modest "farmer's buy done good" on a bike. He should have run it past a ghost writer to make it a great read, as "Lance the Liar's" book undoubtedly was in it's day. Spellchecker would have been a boon too.
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Hunger: Sean Kelly: The Autobiography
Hunger: Sean Kelly: The Autobiography by Sean Kelly (Hardcover - 27 Jun. 2013)
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