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VINE VOICEon 18 June 2007
Boycott evokes strong responses in many people on both sides of the fence: amongst professional cricketers past and present, amongst cricket fans and amongst the general public by dint of his wider celebrity. Those views are deeply entrenched and, I suspect, unlikely to be changed. If you retain an open mind however then, simply, there's no better place to look to form your opinion on Boycs than Leo McKinstry's excellent biography.

The subtitle of the book, 'A cricketing hero' kind of hints at McKinstry's personal stance on Boycott (indeed, it would a strange author indeed who took the trouble to write a biography on a cricketer s/he despised....which makes me wonder about Don Mosey...) but the overwhelming impression I got from the biography was just how fair it was: McKinstry is obviously an admirer of, but by no means an apologist for, Boycott.

Most of the prejudices, misconceptions and lazy tabloid thumbnails of Boycott - received wisdom built upon professional jealousies, Chinese whispers and apocryphal gossip - are expertly picked apart with logic and bare facts. Many of the anecdotes exposing Boycott's boorishness, arrogance, selfishness and social ineptitude are upheld, with no attempt to excuse, contextualise or qualify them.

With admirably comprehensive research and careful and even-handed compilation, Boycott is presented as a very complex character, a person of stark contradictions: utterly self-centred but also generous, eye-wateringly rude and insensitive and yet considerate and charming, confident, calculating and determined whilst also emotionally fragile and in need of constant encouragement, intensely private but craving attention.

I have read more passionate and interesting cricketing [auto]biographies but, given the aim of the book, none have been better researched or well balanced.
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on 14 June 2011
Besides being an excellent and interesting writer, Leo McKistry is judicious, balanced and fair in his treatment of Geoffrey Boycott. I've not enjoyed a book as much for months - a first rate biography of a great and greatly flawed character.
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on 4 July 2011
Leo McKinstry is without doubt the best writer of sporting biographies that I have ever read,and I have read a lot.His books on Sir Alf Ramsey and the Charlton brothers were outstanding but Geoff Boycott is probably his best.Unlike the Don Mosey book about Boycott who clearly had an axe to grind, he takes a fair and honest view of one of the most controversial cricketers of the modern era. The book covers all of the chapters of Geoffreys career, the good and the not so good,and gets many comments from ex cricketers both friend and foe of Boycott which will surprise people who have pre conceived ideas of the great man.If you want to read about a cricketer of which there has never been anyone quite like him then get this book,you will definately enjoy it.
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on 12 March 2012
The other reviews say it all really. This is a balanced boigraphy of Boycott, who was/is a complex character, with a single minded approach to his life's purpose of playing cricket successfully at the highest level, for as long as possible.

The author has a writing style that is very easy to read, and makes his books very difficult to put down. Thus, it was a pleasure to read.

I also thoroughly enjoyed his biography of Sir Alf Ramsey. Both these books are highly recommended.
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on 15 January 2014
Geoff Boycott is a fascinating character who will always divide opinions because of his forthright nature but, even as a Lancastrian, I'm firmly in the camp of his supporters mainly because I feel his comments on the game are honest and come from the heart. This book tells his story as well as you could expect from any biography and is highly recommended.
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VINE VOICEon 21 March 2015
This is a well written and very readable biography of one of England's most famous cricketers. Boycott's reputation precedes him and unpicking that is a large part of the book. Tales of his boorish manners, quick temper and selfishness are plentiful but are offset by accounts of generosity, loyalty and good humour. Nonetheless, he still comes across as someone who is hard to like no matter how much respect one might have for his cricketing prowess and ability to analyse the game. While McKinstry is scrupulous in balancing good and bad stories, this is an underlying regard for Boycott, which manifests and in a slightly defensive approach and a keenness to explain away some of his negative qualities and actions. This is perhaps particularly noticeable in regard to Boycott's crudeness and crassness around women. Overall, a fascinating story that's well told.
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on 14 August 2006
Geoffrey Boycott : A Cricketing Hero is a crickting biography that impressed me the most about books of cricketing legends I have read so far to emerge in the scene. It is beatifully and insightfully written to paint a full picture of Boycott from various angles. The main features include childhood, schooling days, first cricket career, international scene, media role, continued contribution to the game and personal life. He unfortunately is no stranger to controversy as few parts of the book provide evidence of.

Geoffrey Boycott is clearly misunderstood as it an initial impression that I potray of the legend. A few distinguish traits are not favoured well with peers. He is perceived as self centred, obsessed and arrogant individual, but no one can deny he is one of the all time cricketing greats to embrace a name within the sport. He loves and is passionate about cricket, which is unquestionable. Ok he resorts to quarrels with the management and is obsessive with technique, but their is real truth to this. The author sets about trying to understand Boycott's character and looks at contrasting sides the personality.

If you have a passion for cricket, read this biography and you will understand the psychology of Geoffrey Boycott's personality and what traits differniates the legend from leading cricketers. The biography is beautifully narrated and colourfully in sighted. It took me three days to read this biography, as it is so fascinating and interesting.
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on 7 May 2015
Author is a fan but he states that up front. He doesn't shy away from the negatives and the book is well researched. Makes for a more balanced read than the Moseley book or indeed the ghost authored works of the subject himself. A captivating read about a troubled sporting and media star. It's difficult not to fall into partisan views with such a decisive character and this is the closest to achieving such an outcome that I have read.
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on 7 December 2015
I find Leo McKinstry the best of the cricketing biographers I've read and this book is forever fascinating, revealing Mr Boycott as a flawed but great cricketer with more than the usual human weaknesses and strengths. Boycott will always be controversial and that's why so many of us find him so interesting perhaps. My version was a paperback as cheap as can be at 1p plus postage but well worthy of more expense for a hardback.
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on 16 October 2013
bought this as a kindle read and several others, fo0r a christmas present for my husband. This is the first one he has started to read and says its excellent what he has currently read so sounds a good read.
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