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Being Eddie Waring: The Life and Times of a Sporting Icon Hardcover – 3 Jan 2008
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"Tony has done a terrific job in telling his story - there are lots of things in the book which I even didn't know about" (Tony Waring, son of Eddie Waring)
"[Waring] has been gloriously resurrected in this excellent book" (Sunday Herald)
"A detailed and ultimately moving look at an always interesting life" (The Observer)
"A lovingly crafted biography" (The Independent)
"Impressively researched . . . This book rightfully rehabilitates Waring as far more of a pioneer than a mere musical-hall act" (Independent on Sunday)
A long-overdue biography of one of the most high profile light entertainment figures of the 1970sSee all Product description
Top customer reviews
The life of Eddie Waring paralleled the growth of radio and television broadcasting, and ambitious 'Uncle Eddie' - also a tabloid journalist and successful RL coach - was just the man to take advantage, both in terms his own career and furthering the cause of the sport he grew up with and loved. There is lots for the nostalgic fan or those in need of an RL history lesson to enjoy. It tells of Eddie's part in the 'Watersplash' Challenge Cup final of 1968, for example, when Don Fox's missed goal from in front of the sticks led to rugby league's Kenneth Wolstenholme moment - "eee...poor lad", and it recounts his adventures on the historic 1946 Indomitables tour of Australia and New Zealand among much much more.
'Being Eddie Waring' also features Eddie's stint as a co-presenter on 'It's A Knockout', and chronicles his appearances alongside the likes of Morecambe and Wise, Mike Yarwood, Cilla Black and the Goodies. In the seventies, his fame became huge. But as Eddie's star rose, Rugby League's didn't. The game was in decline and many blamed it on the BBC and Waring himself. This conflict with those who shared his roots is dealt with in fascinating and thought-provoking style.
Even if you are one of those people who regret the image of Rugby League that the BBC and Eddie Waring embedded in the nation's consciousness, don't let that persuade you not to buy this hugely entertaining and informative book. It really is a belter.
My acquaintance with this excellent game began just five and half years ago, and for me Eddie Waring had emerged only as a name; some fella from the past, mentioned occasionally, who everyone seemed to think had been bad for the game. Tony Hannan has slit the chrysalis and released a full-grown man, and in so doing he has cleared up one massive misconception. Eddie Waring was not "bad for rugby League". It was only bad that the BBC, for whatever reason, allowed a dynamic and dedicated human being to make an increasingly sad fool of himself, as he fell gradually victim to the dreadful symptoms of the Alzheimer's that killed him.
A mite more human decency would have eased him gently out of the public eye sooner. Eddie Waring lived a full and very positively contributing life. Tony Hannan's well researched, well written and entirely readable book has brought that into the light. I am glad I bought my copy.
Without hesitation I recommend this brilliant biography.
Eddie went on to perpetuate the myth of "ordinariness" with stints on the ridiculous It's A Knockout. This is a rather strange book in many ways. I loved the opening pages which set Eddie's world into the context of the times and gave a strong insight into the history and cultures of Yorkshire's West Riding - an area I know well through marriage.
Unfortunately that is the high point of the book. From there it goes on something of a rambling journey, dotting and diving all over the place and rather suggesting that the author is short of solid material.
Hannan obviously never met Waring and really reveals relatively little about the man, often hiding under the premise that Eddie was a private person. We understand that basically he was "a fine chap" with an encyclopaedic knowledge of Rugby League who, in some circles, was viewed as an anachronism and someone who helped southerners in their views that rugby league was a sport for violent thickies from the north of England (my words and not those of the author).
Many of us of a certain age grew up with Eddie's commentaries on Grandstand and an interesting aspect of the book is the fight to get rugby league accepted as a serious sport, particularly when the BBC seemed to take pleasure in laughing at it. So we start off with a social history of Eddie's home town of Dewsbury, The author then seems to be undecided whether he wants to write a socio-economic history of West Yorkshire, a history of rugby league or a biography of Eddie Waring. The result is the book falls somewhere between the three categories - into a kind of no man's land.
It is undeniably a good read but flies off at too many tangents, almost as if the author has a butterfly brain and must move into a different area before he forgets something. We leap backwards and forwards in time and seemingly irrelevant events are afforded a great amount of space - which once again suggests that he doesn't have enough about Eddie to fill a book.
Waring's success as a character lay simply in his love of the sport and the way he promoted it both as a commentator, administrator and coach. There's no great controversies in Eddie's life. His first marriage broke down but we never really find out why and that's the great failing of this book. We just learn too little about our subject.
His life is put into the context of the sport but we don't get an insight into just what made him tick. As a sports book it's a good read, but it falls short in a number of areas as if the author has had a good idea, is determined to follow it through but then finds his material is not as strong as he would have hoped.
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