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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cool, brilliantly researched assessment of Botham, 18 Sept. 2011
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This is the single best book there is about Ian Botham.
Simon Wilde has done serious research, especially in terms of his range of interviewees, and this is a complete picture of a champion, who gradually fell into ineffectiveness as a Test cricketer, but remains a national treasure.
To give an example of the quality of research on show, there are four pages on how Botham famously claims to have run out Geoff Boycott in a Test against New Zealand as the team were fed up with his slow scoring. Wilde has interviewed Boycott himself about it, as well England team mates Bob Taylor, John Lever, Clive Radley and Bob Willis about it, and even Ewen Chatfield from New Zealand. Basically, Wilde concludes it wasn't deliberate, but the run-out became deliberate over the course of the telling of the anecdoate in later years: all part of the iconoclastic, anti-establishment character Botham wanted to portray.
There is similar diligent delving into other famous controversies: the 'punch-up' with Ian Chappell (which never was), the libel case with Imran Khan (Botham was very unlucky, feel the lawyers), and the non-signing up to the tours with South Africa (financially, not morally, driven).
He is also scrupulously fair in his judgements: contrary to usual report Botham did succeed once against the West Indies (at least to some degree), in the 1984 home series, when unburdened by the captaincy; he also points up Botham's performance against the full strength Aussies in 1979-80 to point out that Botham's early success wasn't just down to the lack of Packer players.
On the other side, he ruthlessly demonstrates Botham's ineffectiveness as a Test cricketer from 1986 onwards (batting average about 25, bowling average about 45) and uses statistics when appropriate without being an anorak about it.
On the personal side, Botham emerges as a generous, private, weird mix of extrovert and introvert, with an almost impossible self-belief. Wilde credits his work for leukaemia research but doesn't gloss over his hypocritical relationship with the tabloids and his marital indiscretions.
Every judgement he makes his sound, and he makes some perceptive overall points. Botham came to epitomise the joyful but lazy amateur approach to cricket, when what actually brought him to prominence was immense hard work and effort. Also, he notes that Botham always brought energy to teams when he started with them (from Somerset to Durham) but then gradually drained them of energy near his departure.
If I have one criticism, is that his judgement is so dispassionate it drains something of the magic of Botham. Watching him play cricket was a great life-enhancing experience, and tremendously exciting. This book somehow is too analytical to capture that. But then, if you want that, then just dust off your DVD of Botham's Ashes and away you go (or on the book side, try Peter Roebuck's "It Sort of Clicks").
In summary, an excellent book, much better than Botham's own efforts at autobiography.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best biographies I've ever read., 29 April 2011
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ShabadooGMan (London, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
Tirelessly researched, brilliantly written, this is not just a fantastic sports book, but a brilliant biography.

It's not shameless sycophancy, either, but an honest account of one of England's most famous sportsmen.

It's warts and all stuff and, for all his faults, I came away liking Beefy that much more.

I really can't recommend it enough.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best all rounder ever!, 22 Aug. 2013
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This review is from: Ian Botham: The Power and the Glory (Paperback)
I give this item 5 stars because the book is not sycophantic, I feel it tells Beefy's story truthfully, warts and all. I'm fortunate to remember Sir Ian's glory days....
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5.0 out of 5 stars We need to talk about Guy ..., 17 Dec. 2013
By 
Bob Sherunkle (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Ian Botham: The Power and the Glory (Paperback)
This book is a refreshing compromise between the opposing views of Botham as Marvel (though not Captain Marvel) and a boorish idiot. Rather like "the little book of George W Bushisms", a lot of what has been written about Botham is tosh, but a lot of it is not. For example, Simon Wilde skilfully analyses several of the best-known quotes attributed to Botham, showing which appear to be voluntary soundbites and which (like "facing Lillee with a stick of rhubarb") were staged by the media.

Another strong feature is the description of Botham's main mentors. The best-known of these relationships, of course, was with Brearley, but Wilde moves away from the simplistic man-management interpretation, demonstrating how Brearley used reverse psychology to fire up Botham; Wilde also tells us how Botham's famous 5-1 spell at Edgbaston in 1981 was possible only because Brearley had forced a very reluctant Botham to change into his bowling boots! By contrast, Wilde develops a case that Close, while a fan of Botham the player, never rated him as a captain. The third, a little surprisingly, is Cartwright, a very different type of person and bowler from Botham, who nevertheless was probably the biggest single influence on disciplining Botham's bowling technique.

Wilde gives several illustrations of how Botham's naivety often let him down. One is the fiasco of the Tim Hudson saga (but, I wonder, would Botham have gone for, and achieved, his record number of sixes in a season without the motivation of that circus?) Another is his inability to forget friendships and club loyalties at Test level, e.g. when playing against Viv Richards.

Wilde argues convincingly that both Botham himself and English cricket fans were disappointed by his inability to repeat the 1981 Ashes week in week out for the rest of the year, that he could as a result have crashed and burned (brief comparison drawn here with George Best and Gascoigne), but that he has managed to create a life after playing cricket.

Overall, a well-written and entertaining account of a larger than life cricketer who lit up a dull phase of English cricket. Wilde draws the inevitable comparison with Flintoff, but "Freddie" (despite incidents like the pedalo trip and the 24 hour bender after the 2005 Ashes) was never quite such good copy as "Beefy".
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4.0 out of 5 stars A thorough and honest appraisal of one of cricketing's greats, 5 Nov. 2013
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I did enjoy reading this book. It's a warts and all book and pulls no punches about Beefy's shortcomings. I docked a star because I found the writing a bit turgid on occasion.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Tim's review, 19 May 2013
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This review is from: Ian Botham: The Power and the Glory (Paperback)
This is a very good story for 1970s and 1980s cricket fans.
An example of how life can get too big, but then needs to be drawn back to reality.
Botham was a sporting hero, and he has used this to make a huge impact on the world around him. This has been captured expertly in this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 19 Dec. 2014
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great book
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Ian Botham: The Power and the Glory
Ian Botham: The Power and the Glory by Simon Wilde (Paperback - 15 Mar. 2012)
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