10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
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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