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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An awesome book about an awesome duo.
Right from the beginning of this superb book it`s pretty obvious that Gordon Burn is not a football writer. He avoids the long, boring passages found in virtually all football writing which describe how so and so crossed the ball for what`s his name in the thirty-fifth minute of the match. Instead of that type of dross he goes for the jugular of his subjects. Duncan...
Published on 12 Jan. 2007 by JUDE

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The drunken and the short lived - what might have been
There is little doubt that Burns is a writer who in applying his literary precision was never thankfully going to write a typical football biography, as his great book on professional snooker "Pocket Money" fully demonstrated. While here the choice of subjects is very well intertwined with many fascinating insights and much to appreciate on Manchester United as not being...
Published on 29 Mar. 2009 by Siriam


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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An awesome book about an awesome duo., 12 Jan. 2007
By 
This review is from: Best and Edwards (Hardcover)
Right from the beginning of this superb book it`s pretty obvious that Gordon Burn is not a football writer. He avoids the long, boring passages found in virtually all football writing which describe how so and so crossed the ball for what`s his name in the thirty-fifth minute of the match. Instead of that type of dross he goes for the jugular of his subjects. Duncan Edwards and George Best. Chalk and cheese yet peas in a pod. Both Manchester United legends, both gone before they should have gone. Edwards a product of the short back and sides era, Best the first real playboy football star. The common links with the two of them are Matt Busby and Bobby Charlton. Great football men in their own right. Both men survived the Munich horror which claimed Edwards and both men witnessed George Best`s career die an early death. The main thrust of the book is the contrast between the lifestyles of the two title characters and how society had changed drastically in the few years separating their appearances. I have read every book written about George, but I discovered some interesting, and not always flattering, facts here. As for Duncan, the more I read the more I regret never having seen him play. Awesome.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absorbing Read, 28 Oct. 2006
By 
Anthony Quigley (Hampton, Middlesex United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Best and Edwards (Hardcover)
This is a rarity - an intellegent book about football. Every true football fan and - especially - every Manchester United fan should read it. As well as being about two of the greatest players the British game has produced it's about what has happened to the game - and indeed Britan itself - over the past fifty years. Although the book is about Edwards and Best the fulcrum around which it turns is actually Bobby Charlton. This book is written with intellegence and insight and is light years away from the normal fare served up to football followers. If you love and care about the British game then read this book. It's brilliant.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The drunken and the short lived - what might have been, 29 Mar. 2009
By 
Siriam (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
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This review is from: Best and Edwards (Paperback)
There is little doubt that Burns is a writer who in applying his literary precision was never thankfully going to write a typical football biography, as his great book on professional snooker "Pocket Money" fully demonstrated. While here the choice of subjects is very well intertwined with many fascinating insights and much to appreciate on Manchester United as not being the dream palace many might have thought in the '50s and '60s and the underpin of the trajectory of the separate careers and different personalities of Matt Busby as not quite the saintly personna many claimed and Bobby Charlton as a troubled soul post Munich, I must admit I found the overall result finally lacking.

The key reasons for this are firstly that by being the more recent and better documented subject and having been observed by the author in his closing years in his favourite London pub, Best does over dominate the book. This is reflected by the many out of chronological order inserts of ""The legend of the holy drinker" that occur throughout the book on Best's alcoholism to the detriment of all else, even on the Best history.

Secondly, while rightly questioning people's perceptions of fame and depictions of past events when a hero dies, in the case of Edwards when documenting his visits to his hometown of Dudley, Burns seems to be more struck by trying to document accents and depicting the poor quality of lives in the early 21st century than appreciating that it was probably always thus but now the loss of jobs and decline of industry in that area makes it more painful. It is fascinating to me that the book is almost silent on what in comparison happened after Best's death with a very public funeral in a homeland that he had continually shunned and ignored but in short time even named the local city airport after him. Indeed Burn's relative lack of coverage of Ulster and Best's upbringing seem the biggest gap in the story.

Finally, Burn's numerous use of literary quotes while working in the case of collectors of football memorabilia fail largely to add much elsewhere and by the end chapters on Best's final years one almost feels are being as padding.

There is much to enjoy here with its very different style and structure to many sporting biographies plus giving new facts on Busby and Best but not quite the breakthrough book in understanding rather than documenting Best's loss of interest in his talents and life.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dunc and Disorderly, 26 Oct. 2006
This review is from: Best and Edwards (Hardcover)
While eyeing the shelves groaning this season with semi-literate footballers' 'autobiographies' with as much longevity as, well, as a premiership footballer, spare a thought for Best and Edwards, a real work of literature - of art, even - about football, by a real writer.

Gordon Burn has tackled "the psychopathology of fame" before - most notably in his novel Alma Cogan - and here he comes at it from two angles, featuring the "trajectory of two careers unmoored in wildly different ways." Duncan Edwards, the rising star of Manchester United and England, died in the Munich air crash in 1958 aged 21. Within the next 10 years Man U would have a new star, George Best, considered by Pele to be "the greatest footballer in the world." Best died too, but only after decades of alcohol abuse and one of the most ignominious descents ever witnessed in broad daylight by the eyes of the world and the media.

And the media is the third character in this extraordinary book. Because what Burn is interested in is not just the contrasting stories of Edwards and Best, but the whole shift in fame that occurred then, when fame went and 'celebrity' arrived. "Celebrity," in Burn's eyes, "is an indicator of how far fame has come adrift from real achievement - of how personality has replaced output as the measure of fame." And this leads him into the sort of analysis that we don't expect in soccer biographies (but this is no mere soccer biography):

"This is a kind of fame that can be - almost always is - conveniently and irretrievably wiped. It is a thin, weightless thing and mostly exists as a series of electronically generated pulses and pixels. Often it is literally without foundation or substance and is typically memorialised as a brand of designer fragrance or on a T-shirt or on a website rather than in the heavy, industrial-age materials of stained glass and granite and bronze. It is an inevitable fallout of the galloping and still ongoing process which has seen the electronic society of the image - the daily bath we all take in the media - replace the real community of the crowd.

"Cyber-age celebrity relates to the kind of old-fashioned renown rooted in genuine public affection and recognised achievement the way the various system-built, semi-prefabricated, part-plastic urban structures we have come to think of as post-modern relate to the heavy Victorian banks, lawyers' chambers and sooty civic buildings that in the great northern cities so often still surround them, like elderly relatives at a rave night."

This is what Burn does best, as well as splicing in quotes from richly literary sources from Martin Amis to Patrick Hamilton and Philip Roth to Don DeLillo, on sport, pubs, fame and other related matters. But the story keeps spiralling back to the title duo, and the final account of Best's decline is horrible and heartstoppingly tragic.

This is a book that will - or should - still be read when the pulped puff-pieces by Cole, Rooney and co are next year's egg cartons. It is a modern masterpiece about the times we live in, now and then.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Football story, 29 Jan. 2010
By 
King Eric (Manchester, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Best and Edwards (Hardcover)
This book is a fantastic read contrasting the way both players reacted to their fame and celebrity. Edwards was the star of his day and the cog around which the Busby Babes flourished and surely would have played a major role for England in 66. From the descriptions of him in this book it is shame that there is not more surving footage of him playing in his pomp. The book highlights the growing gulf between the players and the fans and how this widened in the 10 years between these two players. Edwards was still despite being a Busby Babe and a England international still a working class lad who lived in the same community as the fans and enjoyed thier same pursuits.In contrast by the 60's Best was living in his designer house, a constant source of tabloid tittle tattle and really a prototype lifestyle for the modern overpaid Premiership player of today. Ths story is sad in that both players unfortunately meet tragic endings Munich and Alcholism respectively but there life journey to both was in ways similar and in other ways a world apart. A fantastic read for any football fan.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Saint and the Sinner, 27 Aug. 2012
This review is from: Best and Edwards (Paperback)
I think Gordon Burns has avoided the charge of opportunism and sensationalism in publishing this book soon after the death of George Best by telling a more interesting story of two of united heroes Duncan Edwards and George Best. Really there is an equal partner with Matt Busby and to a lesser extent Bobby Charlton who both lived on to suffer the emotional scars of Munich and the subsequent loss of assurity that that disaster bequeathed both men that impacted upon Best. Edwards and Best were not men who doubted their place or suffered from self doubt even in if was in Best's case a misguided self actualisation. Burns reports the facts in his usual insightful and captivating prose. Always interesting sometimes amusing and shocking, Burns can bring out the humanity in any person, serial killer or wife beating alcoholic that makes the tragedy all the greater and inexplicable.
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5.0 out of 5 stars with Gordon Burns' beautiful, rhythmic, 10 July 2014
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This review is from: Best and Edwards (Kindle Edition)
I've only just started the book and am totally absorbed, as always, with Gordon Burns' beautiful, rhythmic, subtle, friendly, honest, poetic and startling writing. I can't stop reading anything he's written, be it novel or biography. He gets behind the people in a way you don't find in any other writer.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Best & Edwards Two Legends Revealed, 20 Feb. 2013
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This review is from: Best and Edwards (Kindle Edition)
Two great United legends, but poles apart as personalities and players. Imagine if they had played in the same team. Gordon Burn does an excellent job in giving an indepth account about them, and I'll fully recommend it to all fans, and not just United fans.
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5.0 out of 5 stars football legend, 27 Jun. 2014
This review is from: Best and Edwards (Paperback)
brilliant book really enjoyed this book , went into great detail especially about George best, stuff that I did not know about until reading the book
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5.0 out of 5 stars very good read, wish they both could be still with ..., 9 April 2015
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This review is from: Best and Edwards (Paperback)
very good read ,wish they both could be still with us.
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Best and Edwards by Gordon Burn
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