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on 28 October 2002
I had this book sitting on my shelves for a number of years before I picked it up recently and absolutely churned through it.
Why did I wait so long?
Botham writes candidly about his life, both on and off the pitch - of the great highs and considerable lows.
Botham lives/d life to the full.
His cricket exploits were simply incredible.
What was even more surprising was the quality of this autobio. It reads fantastically well. All the major issues of his life are examined, and Botham writes candidly about these moments with refreshing clarity, truth and depth.
It's great to read a sporting bio that achieves all this. So many sporting bios are simply merchandsing tie ins. However, 'Botham' is one of the few cricket bios that stand alone as cricket history, but also a terrific bio of a true individual.
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VINE VOICEon 12 February 2007
This is a slick, ghost written set of apologies for Ian Botham's larger than life antics which certainly had me laughing.

Let's be clear, Botham is the best cricketer England has produced since the War, maybe before that too, I don't know. His charity walks are fantastic and the guy deserves a knighthood, but oh how he lacks self-control.

A fairly standard chug through his early years is followed by some tortuous prose about the various 'controversies' including the discovery of cannabis in a raid on his home and the libel action he took out against Imran Khan.

The stuff about the cannabis is laugh out loud. How he took it from someone because it would be rude not to and then forgot to get rid of it. Yeah right. This ranks with the 'I never take drugs' statement that led to his abortive attempt to sue the Mail. When it became clear that he was lying, he was obliged to take part in a long, front page piece of grovelling which, credit where credit is due, is printed in full.

In his dealing with the South Africans, Botham shows himself to be, well, a bit thick. He gets all outraged when one of the SA negotiators says that Viv Richards could go to SA and 'be an honorary white man' but this is after he has flown in his own team of negotiators in to get his best price for defection. Not surprised Geoffrey Boycott had a pop; at least he was upfront about wanting the cash.

The whole book is a eulogy to his long-suffering wife Kath, but, really, you don't get to hear what she was really upset by. Him shutting her out or other stuff.

It's fun. He is a naughty schoolboy, getting into scrapes (like twisting the head of an airline passenger who had the temerity to complain about language - like lamping a policeman who was not doing what he wanted on a walk) and, generally, getting out of them.

Not the most cerebral work, but it's Ian Botham. What do you expect?
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on 1 April 2006
I recently read "Botham: My Autobiography" and wish to demarcate a few vital points for all reviewers wanting to buy the book for personal perusal; keeping in mind the following two important points:

1) Ian Botham is definitely one of my all time favorite cricketing icons, but I write this account without taking into consideration this and other related personal biases (as this account shows).

2) I personally consider Ian Botham as one of the finest all-rounders in the history of cricket; along with Sir Sobers, Imran, Kapil and Sir Hadlee.

The most important point of the book is absolutely honesty. All readers agreeing or disagreeing with Botham's life-style, his attitude on and off the field and so on however cannot refuse to acknowledge the fact that nearly all sections of the book has been written with absolute honesty. Where Botham did commit a mistake or a series of mistakes, he mentions that he said something blatantly, or did what was reported instead of either denying it simply (as most modern-day icons choose to do) or not agreeing with the matter.

His early career, life-long friendship with King Viv and his cricketing days are all described in superb finesse. The legal dispute of Botham-Lamb against Imran Khan is also delineated in great detail. One of the sections which I read and re-read for a few times is where Botham illustrates the happenings of the 1992 World Cup final against Pakistan where Wasim Akram's over (in his second-spell) (producing Allan Lamb and Chris Lewis' wickets in two successive deliveries which sealed the fate of England in the finals); I consider this section to be a bit "blown out of proportions". I wouldn't call it an "untrue" or "dishonest" account (because: 1) Pakistani fast-bowlers and swing bowlers have the tendency of picking the seam for movements and 2) As final footage shows, the ball was moving way too much all the time in the 2nd spell), but my greatest objection lies in the manner Botham describes the whole affair. After reading this section, a reader who has not happened to follow the 1992 World Cup Final closely will resort thinking that Pakistan won the 1992 World Cup simply owing to ball tampering and thereby producing the deadly reverse swing. As is evident from the videos of the Final (which can be bought online from any major vendor), Akram was swinging the ball from the very first delivery, and Akram's over (producing Lamb and Lewis' wickets) is considered by many experts as one of the best ever over bowled in ODI history. One can swing a lot by tampering with the seam, but to know how and where to pitch it with the seam upright is a talent from within. Especially Lewis' delivery (which I watched a million times over and over again clearly shows that the ball when hit the ground was seaming in, and Akram pitched it well outside off-stump with the rough side (as seen in the videos) being on the inner side. So, Akram definitely knew or had a faint idea that after hitting the seam the ball with do a reverse and dip in. Guessing this is not everyone's cup of tea). Botham does not mention any of this, but simply blatantly calls the Lewis' delivery a "banana" delivery (and one of the strangest deliveries he had ever seen in his career) thereby concluding that Akram won Pakistan the World Cup because of reverse swinging the ball at wrong time (Botham's exact words are: "The delivery came out of the blue") which Akram did only by picking at the seam. This I found a bit offensive in terms of description of events and a few other statements related to this matter leaving aside the fact that Akram is considered by many as one of the greatest swing bowlers in both versions of International cricket (Test/ODI).

Other than this above-mentioned matter, nearly everything else mentioned within is of superb quality, written in great style and in detail. Whether Botham was right or wrong in mentioning that Pakistan won the 1992 World Cup only by resorting to ball tampering under the auspices of the legendary Imran Khan; is a highly debatable issue. Leaving that out of frame, this is an excellent account of the one of the greatest all-rounders in the history of the game. If you're a cricket enthusiast, or a cricket player or just looking for a good read for a vacation ahead; pick this up. It's highly recommended without any reservations whatsoever. 5 stars overall!!!
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on 15 August 2000
A great biography of the life of a true sporting legend. It covers both high and lows, good and bad times that he has encountered. It catches his no-nonsense attitude to life and sport. Even if you're not a massive cricket fan (like myself), this book will not disappoint.
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on 19 August 2015
Yes, I have had this book since it was first published. It is the story of Ian Botham's life, friends and family, his career in cricket, the drugs scandal, how it affected his family. All this is in there, and while Botham comes across sometimes as being a bit naïve (South Africa) (Drugs Scandal),what also comes through is his dedication to cricket, and how he values his family, particularly when vicious paper rumours occur. He also mentions how he met Elton John while doing a walk from Land's End to John O Groats in aid of Leukemia.

Yes, Botham is a character (no one is perfect), but he would not be Botham otherwise would he? For me, an entertaining and enjoyable read!
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on 12 April 2001
I found giving this book a rating out of five difficult, due to the fact that the enjoyment of this book depends very much on what you have read previously. It is a little samey to the other autobiographies from cricketers of this era especially Viv Richards' account, although in my opinion Bothams' is far better. I would have liked a few more recolections of his on the field experiences, and less of the nonsence surrounding him. Definitely worth reading especially for a deeper insight into his charity walks
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on 2 October 2014
I purchased this book for a waiter in a hotel we visit in Sri Lanka, Sir Ian Botham is his hero, as it turned out the waiter walked with his hero in a charity walk a week later and had the book autographed, to say he was over the moon with the book and meeting his hero is an under statement.
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on 10 March 2005
This book is great fun, and you will enjoy it even if you are not a great cricket fan.
Botham is not afraid to be controversial. Even his close pals get some severe criticism from time to time - this makes a real change from many ex-cricketers who don't want to offend their chums.
And when Beefy starts to lose his argument a little bit, he uses variations on the same line to justify himself all through the book. "And a lot of other people I know feel the same way" will soon become part of your vocabulary after reading this book!
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on 6 March 2004
Only the most ardent Botham supporters would find this a wonderful book. But even they would be short changed as Botham's hypocrisy shines through - which sadly only serves to obscure his more positive traits. This book does not do justice to a player as exciting as England has produced, though one not as great as commonly supposed.
The real Botham biography has still not been written. One day someone will write a less apologistic and flattering account of Ian Botham, the man and cricketer. That would do justice to the real cricket loving community, and to the man himself. He was such a large impact on the English game in the early 80's that his story deserves to be told properly - warts and all.
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on 16 January 2004
Excellent. Very well written and easy to read. Amusing!
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