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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Golden Nugget Shares Insights on Life and Rugby
This is an excellent book that I could not put down once I began reading it. Williams has been through so much both in his rugby career where he is a Welsh legend after having now played a key part in two Grand Slam teams (although this book was written before Warren Gatland had persuaded him to come out of retirement and play in the historic 2008 Six Nations campaign),...
Published on 10 May 2008 by Robert Terry James

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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Martyn has really been let down by his ghost writer
Martyn Williams is undoubtedly one of the best an most consistent players of a very talented generation. This book simply doesn't do him justice. It is very weak, patchy and disappointing.

It's not without interesting parts, but there is a vast amount of repetition and padding. Time after time, Martyn (or more likely his ghost writer) tells us something in one...
Published on 16 Nov 2009 by Gwilym


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Golden Nugget Shares Insights on Life and Rugby, 10 May 2008
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Robert Terry James (Brentwood, Essex United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This is an excellent book that I could not put down once I began reading it. Williams has been through so much both in his rugby career where he is a Welsh legend after having now played a key part in two Grand Slam teams (although this book was written before Warren Gatland had persuaded him to come out of retirement and play in the historic 2008 Six Nations campaign), and in life where he has lost his beloved mother and brother. What you get with Martyn is an honest evaluation of the highs and lows, the emotions of euphoria and heartache that he has experienced in his life both on and off the pitch. We get some fascinating insights into his take on some of his fellow rugby legends, including Gareth Thomas, Stephen Jones, Colin Charvis, Gethin Jenkins, Shane Williams, Neil Jenkins, Robert Howley, Dwayne Peel, Tom Shanklin, Iestyn Harris, Gavin Henson, and Jonah Lomu (who played a season with him at the Blues). Equally riveting is his take on the numerous coaches he has worked with, and the enormous debt he owes to two of them. Having read his book I have a much better understanding of the circumstances leading up to Mike Ruddock's shock resignation in February 2006, and how all the hype and irresponsible speculation in the press at that time could not destroy the bond of friendship and loyalty that he and the other senior members of the national team had built up over several years of lows and highs in Welsh fortunes. Reading the book only reinforced my opinion that the modest lad from Pontypridd truly deserves the accolade of "The Magnificent Seven".
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Martyn has really been let down by his ghost writer, 16 Nov 2009
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Martyn Williams is undoubtedly one of the best an most consistent players of a very talented generation. This book simply doesn't do him justice. It is very weak, patchy and disappointing.

It's not without interesting parts, but there is a vast amount of repetition and padding. Time after time, Martyn (or more likely his ghost writer) tells us something in one paragraph and then simply re-phrases and says the same thing again in the next. It's not that the latter paragraph amplifies, clarifies or expands on the former, it's simply the same idea in very slightly different words. Then the same topic is often re-visited in a later chapter. Along with the limited range of vocabulary and expression in the writing, it all becomes very banal. Perhaps the limited vocabulary, as in certain sections of the press, was a legitimate, deliberate decision to ensure that book remains accessible to all and doesn't alienate readers, but I soon found it very tedious. In one case towards the end of the book there is a whole paragraph that is word-for-word copied from one chapter and pasted into the next - regardless of any decision over target audiences, this is undoubtedly very lazy writing by Simon Thomas, and poor work by his editor not to spot it. The paperback I read was the later edition with the added chapter about Martyn's return from retirement and the 2008 Grand Slam, but even then, with the extra time to tidy it up, there's a spelling mistake in the contents page and several pages where the chapter title hasn't been put in place of the 'chapter heading' placeholder in the page header. It all smacks of being hastily put together and rushed out by the publisher to capitalise on the publicity around RWC07 and the aftermath, but not then tidied up and corrected when there was an opportunity later on.

As you would expect from such an important, senior player who has been in and around the Welsh team in some very interesting times, Martyn has some very interesting things to say. His feelings around 'grannygate' and the two Lions tours he had been on were worth reading, as was his account of Mike Ruddock's tenure as Wales coach and the events at the end of that. The interesting parts are thinly scattered amongst anodyne non-statements, allusions to contentious topics he is clearly unwilling to explore further (probably wisely so, but then why bring them up only to rapidly drop them?) and bland 'filler' material, however, and the poor structure means there is very little flow or cohesion to the book as a whole. Because it's not ordered chronologically, you read about some events (Martyn's first game as Wales captain, for example) in several different chapters, which adds to the sense of repetition and leads to a certain amount of confusion. If there was a strong thematic element, the chronology would have been less important - had all the thoughts about the various coaches he has worked with been gathered together in a thoughtful and structured way, for example, that could have been really interesting and enlightening. Instead, there are a couple of scattered snippets about each spread across several 'flabby' chapters which read a bit like a series of newspaper interviews ("Tell us about Graham Henry, Martyn") and don't really have the cohesion you would expect from a well-considered book.

Overall, there is probably enough material here for a really interesting feature article in a Sunday paper, or for Martyn to make a valuable contribution to a book documenting Welsh rugby over the past 15 years or so, but his ghost writer, editor and publisher have really let him down by trying to stretch it out to fill a book by itself. Having to pretend that it is an autobiography (i.e. one Martyn wrote himself, by definition) rather than an authorised biography by Simon Thomas takes away the possibility that the real author could have drawn on information outside Martyn's direct experience but which nonetheless impacted him to give a bit of context and more depth, explored wider issues, or added some analysis of his own.

With any luck, come 2011 when Martyn retires a World Cup winner, he will have the time to devote to a 'proper' biography.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In 7 heaven, 2 Mar 2008
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I purchased this book for my brother-in-laws birthday but started to read and could not put it down.it was as gripping as watching him play
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wales can produce 7s too!, 4 Dec 2013
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Good 'old' Martyn - Wales have a reputation for producing good fly-halves - but Martyn showed we are not too bad with 7s either!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read., 5 Sep 2013
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This review is from: Martyn Williams: The Autobiography (Kindle Edition)
After not reading a book for 20 years I decided to read using Kindle and chose this book to start. It was a brilliant read and I am on my 3rd book. hooked on reading into the early hours again. Yawn.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great read, 21 May 2013
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Bought for other half to go on holidays, he read it and so did I. Great insight into the background of Welsh rugby
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5.0 out of 5 stars Martyn Williams, 30 Dec 2012
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This review is from: Martyn Williams: The Autobiography (Kindle Edition)
Great read, know more about the man now and his life especially with the Lions and how hard it is touring with them
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5.0 out of 5 stars Martyn Williams : The Autobiography, 18 Dec 2012
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Martyn Williams: The Autobiography. It was a fantastic book and very informative about the guy and Welsh rugby in general.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent 7, 30 Sep 2011
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Martyn is a Welsh great and his book is a very interesting read.
Buy the book if you love Welsh rugby or Rugby in general.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enough to keep the pages turning, 20 Nov 2010
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Enought to keep the pages turning, think I made the mistake of buying the book while his career is still going. Not enough Juicy gossip in there about goings on in the Welsh Camp
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