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4.3 out of 5 stars28
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 4 June 2012
This autobiography from one of cricket's legends, works through his life in chronological order giving an insight into the great man's total self-confidence. From a very early age, he was obviously convinced that he knew best. Anyone who knows him from his commentary on Sky television will recognise that this self-confidence in his own opinion is in no way diminished. You might think this to be a negative trait, but in my opinion, his views are well thought out and close to the mark.
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on 27 September 2014
As a sportsman, Ian Botham was one of my childhood hero's, off the field he was at times saint and at times sinner, so I was looking forward to reading his version of events, both on and off the field.

The book follows the standard autobiography path, but he manages to keep the interest throughout. He gives an honest appraisal of himself, fellow cricketers, and lets us know, in no uncertain terms, his thoughts of the media and others who he has felt wronged by.

The jury is out for me as to Ian Botham the man. His charity work is amazing, his loyalty and life long friendships (especially his relationship with Viv Richards) unquestioned, but his ego and opinion of himself make him hard to fully warm to.

This does not in any way detract from the book as a read however, and I would definitely recommend it. Whether you like or loathe him, he has certainly lead an interesting life - and this book tells the story well!
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VINE VOICEon 16 November 2007
Graham Gooch apparently once asked Ian Botham who wrote his scripts and that was a question I was not able to shake off throughout this book. The style is so accomplished and measured that it is difficult to believe that the authorial voice is echt Botham.

That caveat aside, this is an always interesting and perceptive insight into the man's life and times; I don't think there is a great deal here which is not already known, but the tone adds a sense of authenticity, suggesting this is the real story.

Like the best heroes, Botham had feet of clay and there are times when he descends into sentimental self-pity; generally, however, the book is positive and forward-looking. As another reviewer has said, there are passages where more detail would have been interesting, but all in all this is a very good value insight into the lot of a genuine modern sporting hero.
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on 22 December 2007
The updated tale of Sir Ian Botham OBE, England's beefiest ever cricketer, is a good read - an open, revealing and well written "autobiography". Unlike Botham's previous foray into the genre, "Don't tell Kath", no ghost is credited - the publishers say only that Botham had "editorial assistance"- but it is difficult to believe that there was one skilled writer who had a firmly guiding hand on the text. Whoever that was has done an excellent job.

In 1983 Botham was having a lean spell and some in the media were calling for him to be dropped. At a press conference England captain Bob Willis responded to these calls by asking "Which two players do you gentlemen suggest we should bring in to replace him?" This sums up the unique feature of Botham's game - he was one of the few international cricketers who could have been chosen either as a specialist batsman or as a specialist bowler - but as an all-rounder he was irreplaceable. His fame and his devil-may-care personality always made Botham a target and anyone who thinks that the "feral media" is a modern phenomenon should turn to Both's accounts of how he was first pursued by them more than twenty years ago. True he brought some of the problems on himself - a fact that he honestly acknowledges - but he was certainly hounded and shabbily treated at times.

Writing about his long stint as a Sky commentator Sir Ian says "I'm simply stating things as I see them" - and that neatly describes the whole book. There are heroes (Viv Richards, John Arlott and his long-suffering wife Kath...) and villains (Ian Chappell, Imran Khan, Ted Dexter, Peter Roebuck...) and Both is not a forgiving man when aggrieved. But he is passionately loyal to his friends and his work for Leukaemia research reveals that deep down his heart is perhaps his beefiest organ of all.

Botham is perceptive on some of the ills of modern cricket - and especially England cricket. Here he is on England in Australia for example:

"We looked like schoolboys playing against the world's best, never more so than on that last morning in Adelaide. What was going on in that dressing room? What on earth had been said, so that when the English batsmen came out they scored just 30-odd runs in the whole of the thirty-over morning session? What were they thinking? But it wasn't just in Adelaide. Every single pressure session was lost right through the series. Whenever the pressure was on, the Australians came to the party and the England players stayed at home. I can't think of a single crucial passage of play where we came out ahead. Many of the same players were on the winning side against Australia sixteen months previously, but Australia learned lessons from that and England did not."

Spot on! And it's difficult to disagree with Botham's diagnosis of (one) of the causes of the problems either:

"I counted twenty-five people wearing England shirts out in the middle before the start of one Test - who the hell were they all? As well as the players, the coach and the physio, England had a batting coach, a bowling coach, security men, flunkeys of one sort and another, a dietician to tell them what to eat and even a team psych¬ologist to motivate them. Since when did you need a psychologist to play cricket? I never took any notice of those idiots - how many overs have they ever bowled? From the results the team achieved, the psychologist obviously did a great job."

Both is no fool, but like Shane Warne who in some ways he resembles, he can sometimes be a fool to himself. When truly great cricketers like Warne or Botham speak the current crop of players and administrators would do well to listen. But will they? Don't hold your breath!
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on 4 November 2007
A very good Autobiography but only receives 3 stars. Why? It's simple really, for someone who has led such a full life as Botham admits, the book at under 300 pages is actually quite a light (if not enjoyable) read.

Very little is covered in detail and indeed for much of the book, you start reading about an event in his life and before you know it, you are on to the next bit.

Overall, the book resembles much of Botham's life: unable to sit still and everything done in a hurry! A real shame as he is a top man and boy, what he has done for charity...
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Although the writing is some way from being Botham`s own, there is still plenty of authenticity here. I suspect "Beefy" may not be the most eloquent of men - actually, his stint at Sky proves that! - but the important thing is we do get a feeling of his dynamic, headstrong, and occasionally childish and chippy character (none of which he denies).

As other reviewers have noted, there are times when reading that one wishes an event could have been elaborated upon, but before we know we`re off to the next major incident! An example of this would be his description of the original incident that created the long-simmering feud with Ian Chappell. Firstly, it is covered in just over half a page, and secondly, this account differs so markedly from Chappelli`s that I would have liked to hear more about it and why they still haven`t forgotten it, thirty-five years later. It`s fair to say that Botham is the kind of man who will bound onto the next chapter of his life without too much reflection!

The only reason my title suggests a slight disappointment is because his urgency and passions do not quite translate to print. Perhaps the ghost writer is to blame? It is amusing to read the analogy of a "fastidious maid laying the table for a particularly formal dinner" to describe a team-mate laying out his kit...that just doesn`t sound like Beefy!

We all know of his achievements, both the heroic and the...er...less heroic; maybe there are just too many for a single volume to do them justice!
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on 3 September 2013
well written autobiography everything included warts and all!!He is certainly the best all rounder this country has ever produced,and second only to the great Gary Sobers
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on 6 January 2016
What do you expect from Sir Ian? Big on self justification without more than an occasional sign that he thinks he might have ever got things wrong, and scant recollections which you suspect are not all his own, given how often he forgets things that happened to him when on air. It's a readable book but, much like Dickie Bird, there is a limit to how often the same old stories can be churned out.
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on 11 February 2016
Listening to this audiobook. What a delight. The story is very well written and the words have a lot of meaning. Sir Ian has done a lot of good and bad things in his life but there is an honesty to the writing. This is a proper autobiography where you find out about the man
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on 2 January 2013
Always enjoyed watching him when he played especially that fantastic match at Headingly when he and Bob Willis really the the Aussies a lesson !!!! I also admire all his charitable deeds ,
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