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Opening Up: My Autobiography Audio CD – Audiobook, 7 Aug 2003

4.6 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Audiobook, 7 Aug 2003
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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton Ltd (7 Aug. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1840328053
  • ISBN-13: 978-1840328059
  • Product Dimensions: 12.5 x 0.7 x 14.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,215,443 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Amazon Review

Captain of the national side at 25, and one of the most successful top-flight opening batsmen in the game, the bare facts of Mike Atherton's career portray him as one of the golden boys of English cricket, but in Opening Up he reflects on a sporting life equally characterised by his struggle to match lofty expectations, and the off-field politicking that tested his resourcefulness to the limit.

From his early days as a university-educated upstart marching into a Lancashire first-team dressing room filled with seasoned pros, to the constant wrangling behind the scenes of the English game, and a rarely harmonious relationship with the press, Atherton has found himself engaged in a constant battle to retain focus on events out in the middle. Even when there, things were far from plain sailing, and he recounts it all with admirable candour, epitomised by the story of his Test debut, where the fresh-faced youngster was given a lesson in professional reality by a senior team-mate: "You play your first [Test] for love, and the rest for money". Elsewhere, amid the analysis of his time at the helm of an often struggling England side, Atherton highlights a career-long battle with injury and pain suppression, which resulted in what would have been seen in other eras as a very early retirement. At the centre of the book is the infamous ball-tampering row in 1994. Illustrated with extracts from Atherton's diary of the time, the man at the centre of the huge media storm makes a concerted defence of what many argued was behaviour unworthy of any cricketer, let alone a national captain.

There can be little debate however that Atherton, a broadsheet columnist, can write. His characterisations are deftly drawn, particularly of key figures such as Illingworth, Gooch and Boycott, and there is plenty of pithy humour, some earthy language and an eye for what makes good gossip, to counterbalance what is at heart a refreshingly serious and thoughtful book. Too often sports autobiographies leave readers wishing that a more subtle, expressive and observant author was reporting from the arena--not in this case. Atherton resists the temptation to manufacture controversy, but comments on his own, and other's achievements, with a laudable sense of perspective. An enjoyable, skillfully worked "knock" from a tenacious and talented cricketer. --Alex Hankin --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


'Outstanding...astonishing. You warm to an England captain who can evaluate himself with such clarity.' - Daily Mail

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
After reading his perceptive and humerous Captain's Diaries on as well as his columns in the Sunday Telegraph I waited expectantly for this book to come out. Apart from the rather naf and overused "my autobiography" on the front cover this book is superb in every respect. Atherton decides which part of his compartmentalised existence to let you into, but then does so in its entirety. You will not find a more complete and evocative description of the trials of a modern cricketer as he doesn't bore you with rote recitations of cricket matches won and lost but gives the detail of the personalities on either side and behind the scenes. At no point do you feel you are reading a "tell all" book but he does not hold back on his opinions, both on what he thought and did as well as his opinions of the people around him. One curious omission is any thoughts on the match fixing scandal apart from one or two tangential references. I would be curious to know why he left out this highly relevant topic, especially as he captained and played against the deceased Hansie Cronje. However any element of matchfixing would have picked up headlines and this does not appear to be Atherton's style. The book is engrossing and you feel he writes as he plays - with a straight bat. He has no false modesty and makes no weak excuses. A book well worth buying, well worth keeping.
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Format: Paperback
From the early days as a Manchester schoolboy, to his sudden rise to England's cricket captain, Mike Atherton's book captures the mixture of frustration and elation at the heart of English cricket.
Atherton was captain during the dodgy nineties, when England suffered a long spell in the doldrums of international cricket. His autobiography highlights Atherton's relationship with the selectors - notably Ray Illingworth; his teammates - there is one glorious photograph of Nasser Hussain as a fifteen year old with fantastic hair!; and gives a detailed insight into how it felt to be thrust at the helm without a great deal of experience. Atherton describes his input into team selection (or lack of it), the infamous ball-tampering affair, and his tremendous innings against Allan Donald, where he knew he was out, but did not walk. This incident is described so precisely, that the atmosphere is almost palpable.
If you are expecting an expletive filled, ghost written tome, you will be disappointed. These are Atherton's thoughts, eloquently penned entirely by the man himself. If you want juicy personal stories about sexual conquests, don't buy it. He is very reticent about his private life, and doesn't even mention his new baby.
This is a book for die hard cricket fans, and for lovers of sport in general, who want to see behind the scenes; to feel what it was like to be at the centre of English cricket. I would also recommend it to those with a fledgling interest in the game, as the passionate accounts of matches give such a true feeling of what is must have felt like to stand at the crease, under the scrutiny of thousands of spectators.
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By Graham Mummery TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 19 Sept. 2002
Format: Paperback
Sporting autobiographies are often unsatisfying pieces of writing. Perhaps this is because they are usually ghosted. A journalist takes down the subjects words of their subject and then tries to organize them into a book. This book is completely written by Mike Atherton and all the better for it. What's more it is beautifully written.

He explores many aspects of his time as England captain, his sometimes stormy relationship with selectors (especially Ray Illingworth), players as well as various memorable matches. Yet even when critical, there us no sense of "settling scores". He is quite prepared to point out his own failings or differing viewpoints.

Atherton emerges as intelligent, thoughtful and articulate with a sense of humour. He draws a fascinating picture of the English Test scene in the 1990's. There are also fascinating insights into the psychology of the modern game, problems of coping with celebrity and the various personalities in the game. As well as a fascinating picture of his own personal development over the time which is illuminating in its own right.

Fascinating for cricket lovers and for anyone interested in what makes sportsman. This may have longer shelf life than most sport books.
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Format: Paperback
Having read a number of modern cricketing autobiographies, I rate this one as the best. It is the right mixture of cricket, anecdotes, humour and positive criticism and suggestions. Mike is quite right in saying that his private life is his own, although he does mention his beautiful girlfriend and new baby Joshua. I look forward to seeing and reading more of Mike Atherton the journalist/sports commentator, and wish him as much success in this career as he found as a first-rate international cricketer. Well done, Mike!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In this autobiography Mike Atherton has provided readers with an insight into the mind of a top class England cricketer before the days of central contracts and the general commitment to the England national team by all concerned. We learn how Mike Atherton started playing cricket, his rise to playing for Lancashire and then onto the England team. This book details how Mike Atherton rose quickly to become the England captain at a time when England players were in and out of the England team constantly. Mike Atherton provides enough information for the reader to know clearly what he thought of Ray Illingworth and the other selectors, during their time. It is obvious that Mike Atherton enjoyed playing under “Bumble”, as David Lloyd is affectionately known, from his association with Lloyd at Lancashire. This book describes how these two gelled well together, in a similar way to the union of Fletcher/Hussain and Fletcher/Vaughan subsequently.
You will find extracts from Mike Atherton’s diary when he considers the dirt in the pocket affair, though this is a very clever spin on a matter that has not been satisfactorily resolved in my mind at least, I felt much is held back. For that matter there are a number of sections where I felt that things were being held back, which is a shame, but maybe Mike Atherton feels that he does not want to upset people in cricket. In an age where England cricket has central contracts, an outstanding coach in Duncan Fletcher and coaching facilities that rival any other cricketing nation, it is interesting to note that Mike Atherton recommended many of the measures that England now enjoy. Indeed Mike Atherton makes it clear that the only thing not accepted during his time were central contracts, but he did recommend them.
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