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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very fair account - which is what matters in this case, 18 Jun. 2007
This review is from: Geoff Boycott: A Cricketing Hero (Paperback)
Boycott evokes strong responses in many people on both sides of the fence: amongst professional cricketers past and present, amongst cricket fans and amongst the general public by dint of his wider celebrity. Those views are deeply entrenched and, I suspect, unlikely to be changed. If you retain an open mind however then, simply, there's no better place to look to form your opinion on Boycs than Leo McKinstry's excellent biography.

The subtitle of the book, 'A cricketing hero' kind of hints at McKinstry's personal stance on Boycott (indeed, it would a strange author indeed who took the trouble to write a biography on a cricketer s/he despised....which makes me wonder about Don Mosey...) but the overwhelming impression I got from the biography was just how fair it was: McKinstry is obviously an admirer of, but by no means an apologist for, Boycott.

Most of the prejudices, misconceptions and lazy tabloid thumbnails of Boycott - received wisdom built upon professional jealousies, Chinese whispers and apocryphal gossip - are expertly picked apart with logic and bare facts. Many of the anecdotes exposing Boycott's boorishness, arrogance, selfishness and social ineptitude are upheld, with no attempt to excuse, contextualise or qualify them.

With admirably comprehensive research and careful and even-handed compilation, Boycott is presented as a very complex character, a person of stark contradictions: utterly self-centred but also generous, eye-wateringly rude and insensitive and yet considerate and charming, confident, calculating and determined whilst also emotionally fragile and in need of constant encouragement, intensely private but craving attention.

I have read more passionate and interesting cricketing [auto]biographies but, given the aim of the book, none have been better researched or well balanced.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 9 Oct 2012 06:39:40 BDT
Last edited by the author on 9 Oct 2012 06:40:51 BDT
John D. Muir says:
Can't you admire someone's ability in their particular area of excellence while despising them as a person? Boycott began his career when I was in my mid-teens and although I think he was technically one of the best players I have ever seen, as a player, captain and person he was without doubt the most selfish individual I've seen in professional cricket. The good of his side, whether it was county or country, meant nothing to him, he was only interested in his personal achievements.

Great batsman, yes. Hero? Not on your life.

In reply to an earlier post on 9 Oct 2012 07:08:07 BDT
Last edited by the author on 11 Oct 2012 07:05:56 BDT
I agree it is possible to admire someone's abilities whilst not also admiring their character traits - I do it all the time with sportsmen, TV and radio presenters and even colleagues. I just don't know if I could be mature and objective enough to be able to write a book about somebody like that. I haven't read Don Mosey's book but, if it is as even-handed at McKinstry's, then hats off to him for doing what I couldn't.

There is certainly more than an element of truth in your summation of Boycott, and McKinstry does not shy away from this side of his character, indeed you could be forgiven for forming your stated opinion of Boycott just from reading McKinstry's book. However, if you are open to seeing a redeeming side to Geoffrey outside of cricket I think this book might temper your opinion just slightly.
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