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Ian Botham: The Power and the Glory Paperback – 15 Mar 2012
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'A staggering story, extremely well told by author Simon Wilde' --Independent
'Simon Wilde, in this perfectly paced and exhaustively researched biography, recalls the magic of that astonishing summer' --Guardian
'Wilde's exhaustively researched book is a thoroughly enjoyable, well-paced read. Truth really is stranger than fiction' --Daily Telegraph
'Simon Wilde's sensitive and sympathetic biography is a book that takes Botham as a whole, and allows us to marvel at him a little once again... even-handed, beautifully written' --The Cricketer
'Revealing and candid' --Book of the Month, All Out Cricket
About the Author
Simon Wilde is a journalist and author. He has written for The Times and Sunday Times since 1998, and is currently the latter's cricket correspondent. Three of his books have been shortlisted for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year award: Ranji: A Genius Rich and Strange, Letting Rip: The Fast Bowling Threat from Lillee to Waqar and Shane Warne: Portrait of a Flawed Genius. He also wrote Ian Botham: The Power and the Glory, published by Simon & Schuster. He lives in Hampshire.
Top Customer Reviews
Simon Wilde has done serious research, especially in terms of his range of interviewees, and this is a complete picture of a champion, who gradually fell into ineffectiveness as a Test cricketer, but remains a national treasure.
To give an example of the quality of research on show, there are four pages on how Botham famously claims to have run out Geoff Boycott in a Test against New Zealand as the team were fed up with his slow scoring. Wilde has interviewed Boycott himself about it, as well England team mates Bob Taylor, John Lever, Clive Radley and Bob Willis about it, and even Ewen Chatfield from New Zealand. Basically, Wilde concludes it wasn't deliberate, but the run-out became deliberate over the course of the telling of the anecdoate in later years: all part of the iconoclastic, anti-establishment character Botham wanted to portray.
There is similar diligent delving into other famous controversies: the 'punch-up' with Ian Chappell (which never was), the libel case with Imran Khan (Botham was very unlucky, feel the lawyers), and the non-signing up to the tours with South Africa (financially, not morally, driven).
He is also scrupulously fair in his judgements: contrary to usual report Botham did succeed once against the West Indies (at least to some degree), in the 1984 home series, when unburdened by the captaincy; he also points up Botham's performance against the full strength Aussies in 1979-80 to point out that Botham's early success wasn't just down to the lack of Packer players.Read more ›
Another strong feature is the description of Botham's main mentors. The best-known of these relationships, of course, was with Brearley, but Wilde moves away from the simplistic man-management interpretation, demonstrating how Brearley used reverse psychology to fire up Botham; Wilde also tells us how Botham's famous 5-1 spell at Edgbaston in 1981 was possible only because Brearley had forced a very reluctant Botham to change into his bowling boots! By contrast, Wilde develops a case that Close, while a fan of Botham the player, never rated him as a captain. The third, a little surprisingly, is Cartwright, a very different type of person and bowler from Botham, who nevertheless was probably the biggest single influence on disciplining Botham's bowling technique.
Wilde gives several illustrations of how Botham's naivety often let him down. One is the fiasco of the Tim Hudson saga (but, I wonder, would Botham have gone for, and achieved, his record number of sixes in a season without the motivation of that circus?) Another is his inability to forget friendships and club loyalties at Test level, e.g. when playing against Viv Richards.Read more ›
It's not shameless sycophancy, either, but an honest account of one of England's most famous sportsmen.
It's warts and all stuff and, for all his faults, I came away liking Beefy that much more.
I really can't recommend it enough.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I did enjoy reading this book. It's a warts and all book and pulls no punches about Beefy's shortcomings. I docked a star because I found the writing a bit turgid on occasion.Published on 5 Nov. 2013 by Roger Cavanagh