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Breaking Back: How I Lost Everything and Won Back My Life Paperback – 5 Jun 2008

4.1 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: It Books; Reprint edition (5 Jun. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006156060X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061560606
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.9 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 868,987 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

“The grace and dignity that James has shown during some very difficult times has been a source of great inspiration.” (Andre Agassi)

“Blake is a champion—in every sense of the word.” (Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of Vogue)

“I’ve known James since early childhood...James’s rise to international success is as stunning as it was predictable.” (John Mayer)

“Through Blake’s commitment and passion, he tells the story of the life lessons he learned while facing difficult personal challenges.” (—Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe, wife of the late Arthur Ashe)

“[James Blake] has inspired young people everywhere with his story of courage and determination.” (—former president George H.W. Bush)

About the Author

James Blake has been a professional tennis player since 1999, when he left Harvard to join the professional tennis circuit. He grew up in Fairfield, Connecticut, and currently resides in Tampa, Florida.


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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
There are many cases in which professional athletes have come back from devastating injuries and personal problems to regain their place in the spotlight. However, there are only a few of these stories that are as inspiring as the case of James Blake. A series of events in 2004 changed the life of this tennis player forever. He broke his neck in a practice session, lost his father to cancer and then became ill with zoster, a stress related disease that among many drawbacks, affects equilibrium. And then, just when things could not get worse, the love of his friends and family catapulted James back to his rightful spot in the tennis world and in life.

Generally, when I read books of this kind, I cannot help feeling that the athlete is sharing only what the public expects, holding back facts that they may consider a little embarrassing. We usually see somebody struggling, but that also has a kind of bravado to face the situation. This could not be further from the truth in this case though. I felt that James is not holding anything back and is spilling his guts trying to get us to understand every detail of his struggle. Andrew Friedman definitely helps, displaying a proficient writing style and not letting the book get boring at any point.

Besides containing a fair amount of personal aspects related to the fight against adversity and the importance of friendship, this book has some very interesting insights into the mind of a tennis player. Blake shares with us the process by which he became a professional tennis player, but also what goes through the mind of a pro during a match and at the end of the year when it is time to take stock. There are many snippets of information about players on the tour and these keep us engaged and at times help lighten up the mood.
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Format: Kindle Edition
This is a weird book in a lot of ways. It's very good written and one will usually read it fast. But here are my thoughts about it:

It seems the book was written to capitalize on James' successes in the 20005/2006 season, when he came to proeminence mainly due to the great match against Agassi in the 2005 US Open. That year, his rowdy and supportive organized fans called "The J-Block" began to be noticed also. Suddenly, James was being called to interviews with Oprah, Letterman, everybody, when it became known aout his problmes, be it: death of his father due to stomach cancer; an impact against a net pole in Rome which could have made him paralysed and an attack of herpes zoster.

Well, I knew about it before buying the book, and in no way I was going to read it to be upflifted by his will power or whatever. Don't need that. All the things he have passed, a lot of people have suffered or worse (mainly, unfortunately, the loss of a family member to cancer - including myself). Also, situations that may threaten a career. I bought the book to read about tennis and tennis life on the Tour and also, of course, because Blake's style of playing was fantastic in my opinion: aggressive, straight shots, big serve, one-hand backhand.

But here was so little of it. Blake claims that the suffering made himn realize how he was fortunate to be a professional tennis player, because the players live ina bubble and don't know about the reality of it. But this is not very clear in the book. In no way it seems that James was "lost" personally. On the contrary, he says over and over again that his parents always put things in perspective, including how study wa so important (James went to college befeore turning pro).
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am not an expert on tennis but was aware of the James Blake back story. James Blakes' love of family and friends drips from the pages of the book. It labels the up and down of his career with his career threatening injuries. As a sports fan it is one of the best inspirational reads for a long time
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
James Blake has always been one of my favourite tennis players, so when this book came out, I felt I just had to get it, and what a bargain I got too!! James has had a very tough life, from a very young age, so reading how he has coped all through, up to this time, is an inspiration to others. A very easy reading book, I would thoroughly recommend it, to not only people who like James, but to people who like tennis in general.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a fan of all sports, I confess that tennis is my favourite of all. Having read many books on the legends of the game, I was keen to read this book on James Blake - a player who never won the big titles; arguably not living up to his potential.

The book reveals however just what level of ordeal Blake had to face in his time as a tennis professional - phyisical and emotional difficulties that made me realise he was lucky to even remain on the tour, let alone win any further titles. This is an honest, and full acoount of Blake's career up until 2008, and although this may hold increased appeal for real tennis fans, it is recommended for anyone interested in reading about sporting triumph over real adversity.
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Format: Hardcover
Great book. The personal point of view makes it interesting and readable. You can't but feel that Blake is a superhero or something. To come back from so many setbacks and make it to the top ten is an unbelievable feat. He's almost superhuman!!:)
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