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on 13 September 2001
First of all, be aware that Sydney is not covered in this book?! Then I'm not sure how such an interesting story could have resulted in such a dull read! Well worth reading but, unlike Pete Goss's book, a Golden Age was too easy to put down.
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on 7 February 2001
As a fellow rower, I think Steve is an amazing despite all his setbacks. The book details his life in great detail, and it is well worth reading.
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on 6 October 2000
Redgrave is once again everyone's hero, and quite rightly so. But maybe Everyone should read this rivetting book, in which like most winners he comes across as far from cuddly, although (as with all ghost-written books) one doesn't know if it's really his voice one is hearing as one reads. I certainly expect some of the apparently arrogant repetition of his specific triumphs and general dominance in British rowing through the 80s and 90s is inserted for the benefit of non-rowing readers; in a biography they would not be put in his mouth and he would come across as less full of himself, though God knows he's got enough reason to be.
But it is interesting to get some views that are definitely his own: he's for the National Anthem, a traditional Henley, hefty sponsorship, sticking with yer mates; he's opposed to coxswains, underdogs, equal distribution of lottery funding among all athletes, ascribing much importance to the Boat Race, lightweight rowing at the Olympics. Pinsent apparently agrees with him on the Boat Race (well - look what happened in 1993); it's less easy to square his repeated enthusing about lottery funding with what Steve says here. Absolutely no reason why they should agree, of course, though the book makes it clear they are much friendlier than the Holmes and Redgrave pairing, on which it is also very interesting and instructive.
Apart from Holmes, certain other individuals are coldly assessed in completely unsugared language: Adrian Ellison, the cox of the 1984 gold-medal four, comes off particularly badly. One would like to have more of Redgrave's views about the way other people row and race: one gets the unhappy impression that he's not interested, and regards his way as the only one. I can't believe it wasn't until Tim Foster's injury in 1998 that Redgrave realised that smaller oarsmen can be just as effective in a crew as larger ones if they are technically adept and athletic; but that's the way it reads. Sometimes the book stops short of what would be really interesting to a rowing reader, presumably so as not to bore a general one; but this is frustrating for the rower and I doubt it's a positive attraction for a non-rower.
Finally, the extreme haste with which the book was prepared shows. Reading is enlivened by errors such as Thomas Langer (for Lange, pronounced 'Langer' in German); 'hypoglaecemia'; and a relay team somehow managing to complete 100,000 kilometres on an ergo in 4 hours 42 minutes. Not even the first two can be excused by Steve's dyslexia.
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on 14 December 2014
Bought as a present for a rower - I await her assessment!
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on 23 October 2015
not the easiest to get into but very interesting
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on 3 August 2003
This book can in no way be described as autobiographical or a set of memoirs. It is a dull, poorly written chronicle of events with little or no insight into his feelings, relationships with others or indeed any emotion.
The majority of the text comes across as him 'setting the record straight' and some dreadfully trite even narrow minded opinion about how 'top level' sport should be funded at the expense of the development of rowing across the board.
This aside, it is a real struggle to get through to the end of this dreary (and I suspect hastily produced) book, the only redeeming factor for me are the photographs in the middle.
Save your money, if you're looking for inspiration, insight and a book that will share life lessons from an elite athlete (of which Redgrave is undoubtably) buy the hugely superior 'It's not about the bike' by Lance Armstrong.
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on 25 September 2013
Inspiring autobiography by one of our national heroes. Clearly written and carefully diplomatic also. Bought as a gift but unputdownable- he had to wait!
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