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Lewis Huxley (England)

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1.0 out of 5 stars Very poor quality. Crumpled when it hit a piece of ..., 16 Feb. 2016
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Very poor quality. Crumpled when it hit a piece of wood behind the plaster rendering it useless for future use. Tries to be too clever and unique with the design. 14mm drill bits achieve the same goal with a bit of help from a hammer afterwards so don't waste your time or money on this.


Louis van Gaal: The Biography
Louis van Gaal: The Biography
by Maarten Meijer
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.99

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Save £11 and Google 'Louis Van Gaal', 13 Aug. 2014
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As a Man Utd fan I was keen to gain a deeper insight into our new manager and I jumped at the first opportunity to read a book about the new boss. It was clear after around a third of the book that the author had capitalised on the opportunity of providing such a book for people like me.

In fairness the book provides a fairly detailed history about LVG and highlighted his playing career well, something I was not aware of. The writing is of a good standard and you rarely get the impression that you are reading the work of somebody writing outside of their mother tongue.

However, the whole project struck me as quite lazy and has been done for quick financial gain/recognition. There are less than 40 pages on his hugely successful stint at Ajax, 11 pages on his three seasons at Barcelona (which I'm sure were not without incident) yet there are over 60 pages written about his stay at Bayern Munich which lasted less than two years. For some reason he has also planted a 5 page chapter entitled 'Van Gaal and God' which looks to give us an indication of his level of religiosity without actually concluding either way. I may be wrong but it appeared as if a religious man was trying to ensure that we were reminded that religion should be seen as a hugely important factor in an individual's personality and therefore decided to wedge such a pointless chapter into his book. After all I didn't see a chapter on his political views or any of his other lifestyle choices which could be seen as equally important or inane, depending on your point of view, as an indicator of his make-up.

It smacked of a lack of research with only a smattering of interviews carried out for the purposes of the book. In fact you could argue that the last two thirds of the book, covering the past twelve years, coincide with the dawn of the Google search engine's contents. The first third of the book (50+ years of his life) do not. This is also illustrated by the long drawn out quotes that Meijer includes. When reading the final few chapters it was difficult to find more than two or three sentences per page that were Meijer's own.

It is unfortunate that the majority of the book is exemplified by this since the final chapter actually provides an extremely thoughtful and balanced view of Van Gaal overall which shows that Meijer empathises well with such a turbulent character in spite of the many negative opinions that could contest this.

Overall I left with a better impression of Van Gaal but I wouldn't recommend buying it at full price. I think Meijer missed a great opportunity to deliver an excellently researched and interesting biography on Van Gaal like we have seen from Guillem Balague on Pep Guardiola or, from an alternative sport, David Maraniss' biography of Vince Lombardi. Van Gaal is clearly a complicated and hugely interesting subject that would be worthy of such efforts in future.


Football - Bloody Hell!: The Biography of Alex Ferguson
Football - Bloody Hell!: The Biography of Alex Ferguson
by Patrick Barclay
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £18.99

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Unnecessary money-making scheme from Barclay, 30 Jan. 2011
This book was bought for me as a christmas present, I purposefully didn't buy it myself since I was under the impression it would be a hatchet job from Barclay. Upon reading it you begin to see that it isn't a hatchet job and is in fact quite an objectively written book. It's difficult to read at times due to his over-use of commas which cater for his need to go off an a tangent several subjects away from his original point but there is a fair amount of commentary which describes events in reasonable detail.

However, I seriously wouldn't recommend it to anyone who wants to get to know Ferguson better, his own autobiography has a far better insight to his time before United though it only covers up to 1999. It seems as if he's only interviewed a handful of people to provide a better picture of Ferguson, and one of them was Thierry Henry (it's questionable as to how qualified he is to talk about what happened at Old Trafford).

Beyond that do we really need to have an account of what's happened in the world of Fergie in the last ten to twelve years? There are no new insights into what REALLY happened such as the departures of Keane, Beckham, Van Nistelrooy, Ronaldo, the takeover, the decision to postpone retirement etc. There are even alot of inaccuracies from recent times and alot of it doesn't focus on Fergie, instead focusing on descriptive stuff about United in general.

The best independent book about Fergie on the market right now is Daniel Taylor's 'This is the One' and if you really have to be told about what has happened at United in the last ten years then I would recommend 'Manchester United: The biography' by Jim White. Barclay's book is only for those who want a lazy skim through Fergie's career safe in the knowledge that it's written by someone they've seen on the Sunday Supplement, therefore they must know what they're talking about.


Cantona: The Rebel Who Would Be King
Cantona: The Rebel Who Would Be King
by Philippe Auclair
Edition: Hardcover

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit like Eric...flawed genius, 22 Nov. 2009
First of all I would like to say that this is a fantastic book on the subject of one of the most fascinating characters certainly in football, if not in all sports. Auclair has managed to write a comprehensive account of Cantona's life right up until he retired from football in 1997 and there is even references from sources written beyond this date to make it easily the best book on the market on this particular subject.

However there are two major concerns from myself. The first is as a result of the author's constant nitpicking of Eric's ghost-written autobiography from 1994, 'Cantona: My Story', which he regularly puts down for its lack of content and factual inaccuracies. With regards to the former, Auclair's book certainly puts it to shame, however the latter gave me the impetus to begin nitpicking with this particular book and found dozens of mistakes based on dates, scorelines, names and even many spelling errors- Manchester United physio Rob Swire being referred to as Robert Swaires stands out.

The second of my concerns is due to the content of his time in England in which Auclair unnecessarily refers to almost every single game that Cantona played in and divulges his contribution to each of them. Though this is informative it is hardly insightful into the greater workings of Cantona. He brings attention to this in the final chapter so it is obviously something that is shared by the author but surely some editing could have negated any reason to share this with the reader at all?

As I say this is the best book on Eric Cantona and I enjoyed reading it but it is still not a masterpiece in the world of sports biographies.


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