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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting new angle on familiar story
The book tells the story of the Arsene Wenger era and Arsenal's French legion through the stories of all 24 French Arsenal players , from the arrival of Patrick Vieira and Remi Garde, Wenger's first signings, to the present day and the recent arrival of gay icon Olivier Giroud. On the way it takes the reader through a tour of the triumphs and (more recently) the...
Published on 9 Oct. 2012 by imaloserbaby

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3.0 out of 5 stars A fan's perspective, but the Kindle version needs some work
Definitely a book written by a fan, with his comments about other teams! Good reading overall, but the Kindle version needs redoing, with missing sentences and gaps in the pages. Please redo as it really spoils the book.
Published on 4 Mar. 2013 by Rattlesnake


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting new angle on familiar story, 9 Oct. 2012
This review is from: Arsenal - The French Connection: How the Arsenal Became L'Arsenal (Hardcover)
The book tells the story of the Arsene Wenger era and Arsenal's French legion through the stories of all 24 French Arsenal players , from the arrival of Patrick Vieira and Remi Garde, Wenger's first signings, to the present day and the recent arrival of gay icon Olivier Giroud. On the way it takes the reader through a tour of the triumphs and (more recently) the disappointments of Arsenal's recent history and how a team known for its dour and uncompromising physical nature became synonymous with French flair and elan which has at times enraptured supporters and opponents alike, as well as an emotional brittleness that has become an easy target for the less talented and imaginative (as well as a source of growing frustration to its supporters).

This book is not going to reveal any new sordid truths about life inside the Arsenal dressing room. Other than a foreword from chief scout, former defensive midfielder and cult hero Gilles Grimandi, the author has not had access to any of the players or management, though given the sterile and media-trained nature of most football interviews, this is arguably no bad thing. Instead, the book draws on existing and known sources from England and France (the author uses the widely panned autobiographies of Ashley Cole and Robert Pires as source material so at least you don't have to read them yourself) in order to compile a picture of the each of the players and the events that defined their stay at the club.

However there is more than enough in the public domain which is not widely known for the author to be able to tell some fascinating individuals stories and pick out some common themes in them. For example, the book contrasts the relatively high levels of education amongst the majority of Arsenal's French players against the prevailing attitude within English football of a lack of education being, as the author witheringly notes, "worn as a badge of honour". The book also describes the administrative incompetence of a number of French football clubs in failing to secure the services of some of their best young talent through their failure to complete the most basic of paperwork (which, as the author notes, is ironic given Arsenal's current inability to keep hold of its own stars).

The book manages to avoid a lot of clichés - yes, the likes of Flamini and Anelka were mercenaries and unashamedly so, but rather than simply condemn this as somehow symptomatic of a game gone to the dogs, players and club are seen for what they are - separate, independent entities whose interests coincide for a finite period of time. In this book there are few out and out villains and even fewer heroes (Grimandi excepted). The author expressly states that he's specifically attempted to see all of the individuals covered as rounded, complex (and in Petit's case very complex) human beings.
The book's written by a fan, that much is clear. There are some cheap digs at Tottenham - well, it's what they're there for - and the book takes a fairly robust view on some of the injustices meted out to the club in recent years, particularly at the hands of Manchester United. Those who subscribe to the view of Barcelona as a shining beacon of aesthetic beauty and high moral standing will also have their views challenged in this book. He is, however, dispassionate enough to avoid turning the book into a hagiography; the issue of Henry's reputation as a cheat is covered in some detail, as are the origins and consequences of Petit's victim complex, and supporters of other clubs should not be put off by what is an engaging story even to the disinterested.

I read the book in one sitting and was entertained throughout. Arsenal fans will find plenty in here to sustain interest, whether it be some well put together retellings of the lives of the players that they have cheered on (the chapters on Petit, Flamini and Gallas are particularly revealing), the dry, irreverent style or simply the opportunity to relive the most successful and entertaining period in the club's history in the company of someone who can view those familiar events a little differently.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I love this book!, 10 Oct. 2012
This review is from: Arsenal - The French Connection: How the Arsenal Became L'Arsenal (Hardcover)
As an big fan of Arsenal, Arsene Wenger and a worshiper of players like Henry, Pires, Vieira and Petit this book is right up my street.
I wasn't sure what to expect when I bought the book but I was very happily surprised. Instead of an anticipated Who's Who? of Arsenal French players past and present the author tells the story of the 16 years of Wenger's management through the influence of the 23 Frenchmen (Giroud excluded) he has purchased, groomed and mentored. Each player gets his own chapter but the book seems to flow nicely because the players are taken in the order which they signed for the club. Thierry Henry, having come back for his brief loan spell, comes last which makes a perfect ending to an excellent book.
At times I laughed out loud. Author, Fred Atkins, clearly has a good sense of humour and I started each new chapter with anticipation. There was plenty of new information and the book appears to have undegone some lenghty research.
I can't recommend this book too highly. Put it in your shopping basket or start dropping large hints if you want to find it under your Christmas tree!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well worth a read - whether you're Arsenal or not!, 12 Dec. 2012
This review is from: Arsenal - The French Connection: How the Arsenal Became L'Arsenal (Hardcover)
An enjoyable and well researched insight into Arsenal's French revolution. Split in `bite size' chapters for each player, it is one of those books which can be read at a leisurely pace.

As a `neutral' I still found it included more than enough non Arsenal content to easily sustain interest, particularly on the colourful history of French football itself.

It was refreshing to read an author so keen to provide his own forthright (and at times amusing) opinions on this era in which his love of Mr Wenger becomes evident.

For fans of football writing I would recommend it as pleasant change from the usual stale `ghost written' autobiography. For Arsenal fans, it really is a no brainer.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnifique!, 27 Sept. 2013
This review is from: Arsenal - The French Connection: How the Arsenal Became L'Arsenal (Hardcover)
I bought this book recently together with another Arsenal book called The Wenger Code. I strongly recommend both to any Gooners looking to add to their Arsenal library.
With so many French players passing through Arsenal's doors over the past 17 seasons it was inevitable that a book would eventually be written on their comings and goings. Arsenal - The French Connection is that book. Author Fred Atkins dedicates a chapter to each player but this is more than simply a "Who's Who?" of players who have crossed the English Channel to play in red and white. Atkins tells the history of Arsenal since Wenger's arrival through the achievements of Arsenal's French players and the contributions they made to the Club's success during this period.
This really is a very good read and, I wonder, with five Germans in the current squad (not to mention the likes of Messrs Lehmann and Volz) how long will it be before we see Arsenal - The German Connection?
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great reading whether you're a Gunner or not, 4 Jan. 2014
This review is from: Arsenal - The French Connection: How the Arsenal Became L'Arsenal (Hardcover)
I'm not an Arsenal fan and came across this book by chance. With Arsenal experiencing a resurgence in the Premier League and Arsene Wenger now being feted as the managerial blueprint for others to follow, I thought I'd give it a go.

It's a fascinating insight into Arsenal's transformation from the robotic, anti-football teams (at least to opposition fans like myself) of the George Graham era to the free-flowing entertainers of the past 15 years. The author has done an amazing amount of research into Wenger and the players he signed. The chapters on the players are particularly entertaining, especially as they've not all been an unqualified success (for every Thierry Henry, there's a Jeremie Aliadiere).

Recommend it to anyone who's looking for some quality football reading that differentiates it from the other guff out there. It made me think differently about Wenger, who know seems destined to become one of the most iconic managers of his generation.

Plenty of detail, but plenty of laughs too. A fun, interesting read.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A fan's perspective, but the Kindle version needs some work, 4 Mar. 2013
Definitely a book written by a fan, with his comments about other teams! Good reading overall, but the Kindle version needs redoing, with missing sentences and gaps in the pages. Please redo as it really spoils the book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Thx Fred...., 19 Jan. 2013
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A very well written book, informative with insight and some very funny moments also included.!
Enjoyable from the first to last page.
Thx Fred.....
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 16 Oct. 2014
This review is from: Arsenal - The French Connection: How the Arsenal Became L'Arsenal (Hardcover)
Good book with a lot of interesting detail about the players that I was unaware of.
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5.0 out of 5 stars good read., 31 Jan. 2015
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This review is from: Arsenal - The French Connection: How the Arsenal Became L'Arsenal (Hardcover)
Received brand new , good read.
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