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on 29 July 2003
Not simply because it is a book about a sport with which I am obsessed, but because Mcrae is an excellent exponent of the twin pillars of both story-telling and the english language. His personal journey from accepting apartheid to liberal student is as compelling as Fitzpatrick's front-row negotiating skills
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on 10 September 2001
Donald McRae manages to communicate the specifics of Rugby in every playing country in the world. You come out of it understanding the game better and loving it more than ever.
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on 23 March 2000
A big thumbs up to the author, Donald McRae. This is one of the best sporting books I have ever read. Every household who have even the slightest passion for the great game should have a copy. If I could I would give it 10 stars.
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on 16 November 2006
The blurb states that this is 'the best book on rugby union ever written'. Take out the words 'on rugby union' and you have a more accurate summation. Touching in places, hilarious in others; what other sport would make a man have his finger amputated rather than miss playing against the All Blacks. A true journey into what 'Gods own game' means around the globe, and reaffirms why we picked up the oval ball in the first place.
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on 1 September 2005
Not only is this the best book I have ever read about sports but
one of the best books I have ever read period. McRae does an excellent job of blending his passion for the sport with first hand accounts from players and fans. As he details the growth and evolution of the sport he also includes his personal story
and how rugby played an important part. As a native
South African living in the United States it's hard keeping up with this great sport. Most people think I'm cazy for staying up
till 3 in the morning to catch a game or just don't understand
what I'm talking about. "Winter Colours" put me back in touch
with this great game. I flew through the book in two days and
was deeply depressed when I finished it. I really enjoyed his insights from the various bastions of world rugby. For example
his section on the French game was fascinating and shed light
on aspects of the game and culture that are difficult to come
by. I highly recommend this book and as many have stated would give it 10 out of 10 if possible.
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on 20 September 1999
Possibly one of the best sports books that I have had the pleasure to read, Donald McRae offers a superb account of the seismic shifts in global rugby over the past three decades. Focusing primarilly on latter day events, McRae has trawled the rugby world, collating interviews and anecdotes and knitting them into an unmissable read.
From what I have written, one would be forgiven for thinking that I work for McRae or his publisher, but I don't- it really is that good a book. Obviously, if you are an ardent sports hater, then avoid this book like the plague- in fact, what are you doing reading this?! However, those of us to whom sport is life, Winter Colours is a must.
I would be lying if I said that I wasn't initially somewhat daunted by the size of the book purely centered on rugby, but once I got going, it really was hard to put down.
McRae did, however, sometimes use the 'f' word in places where you did not really expect it, but one can forgive him if you realise that he is merely using the word to express his passion upon the subject, namely the apartheid system that he grew up in in South Africa.
His interviews with union players, such as Keith Wood, Josh Kronfeld, Lawrence Dallaglio, and James Small display the fact that McRae's personality is such that he befriended the players and really painted a colourful picture of their lives as proffessional rugby players.
I suppose he could have focused a little more upon the club game in England a little more, but I'm and Englishman, so I would say that. There is also the fact that English rugby is an enigma unto itself, and would possibly have doubled the page count!
The worst part of Winter Colours was finishing it. It thoroughly deserves 5 crowns, and I would recommend the book to any avid rugby fan.
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on 26 May 2014
Donald McRae can certainly write. In this book he takes a personal journey through rugby in the late-nineties, focusing in particular on his native South Africa and their progress from the end of the apartheid-era international ban, to World Cup victory, to pre-1999 World Cup preparation. McRae interviews some of the giants of the era: Sean Fitzpatrick, Lawrence Dallaglio, James Small, Jonah Lomu to name just four; and weaves the players’ thoughts in with his own. As a previous winner of the William Hill Sports Book of the Year, you know that should be in for a well-written account – this doesn’t disappoint.
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on 23 August 1999
Donald McRae has captured the pure essence of Rugby in this book, from the passionate excitement that it can engender to the day-to-day grind that the professional game has produced. It explains the magic and shows again and again how the game is self-distructive. This is a real Rugby fanatics bible and McRae should consider spawning an annual review.
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on 28 April 2008
This book told me why I love our game so much. Superbly written, endlessly entertaining. I have only ever re-read 2 books before (The Magus and Birdsong). I am re-ordering Winter Colours as I leant my copy to a friend and I want to re-read. In my book, McRae is in the same league as John Fowles and Sebastion Faulks.
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on 4 June 2014
I bought this when it was first published about 15 years ago. I thought it was brilliant then and have re-read it regularly since, even if you don't like rugby the first section on his growing up in apartheid South Africa is worth the read on it's own.
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