Top positive review
37 people found this helpful
on 17 August 2010
Unfortunately, the author/publisher have made a cataclysmic error with this book. They have sold it short. Sold it out. Bottled it. Typical Leeds.
With a blurb that screams 'partisan' louder than a chant from the Kop, it's easy to understand why other reviews dismiss the book as "written by a fan, for fans". To be considered a work only of interest to its subjects. Only relevant for those who accept its glaring hypothesis; that Leeds United are the football story of our times. Only to be read by Leeds fans, by Leeds people, by Leeds Jews.
This is plainly a travesty.
Instead, this is Promised Land. A tale of broad and sweeping scope. Of wide ranging, hard hitting themes. With the unmistakable political, social and economic agenda to be expected of a writer from the Mirror.
It's true that no author can ever hope to sum up a century of social, economic, relgious and football history. But this book tries. And it does so, not just from the perspective of a man or a community or a city (and it covers all of those themes), but from the perspective of modern Britain. This is the story of a football club which speaks to anyone interested in the ebbs and flows of our country's recent past.
The rise and fall of Northern Man. Of Labour. Of Thatcher. Of prosperity. Of jobs and shopping and fashion. Of immigrant communities through the decades. Of a community desperate to fit in and to find its place. Of a family fighting to survive and belong.
In some ways, this book is Andrew Marr for the football fan.
But unfortunately, with it's cover and it's blurb, it has been presented as fiercely particular. As one man's story written for his peers. For his classmates at school. For the community he's left behind.
And yes, there are a lot of Judeo-specific and Leeds-specific and Judeo-Leeds-specific stories and references. There are words and phrases and characters that will resonate more with some than others. But in my view, this only adds to the whole. There is a sense of a genuine history that is personal, but which adds depth to the broader, universal, picture.
I hope that any football fan, anybody from an immigrant community, anybody that has family history connected to the club, to the city, to the rise and fall of 'Northern Man', anyone with any connection, however slight, isn't put off by the presentation and picks this book up.
Particularly, anyone that remembers 'Dirty Leeds' or the Don, or has any interest at all in the amazing recent history of the club, will find in this book a fascinating context for all those headlines. For all the controversy. And, I suppose, for the trials and travails of the football seasons that have ended, or even only just begun.