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4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 6 October 2010
I didn't have a good feeling about this book. Robbie gets terrible press these days an the papers always seem so negative about him. Seemingly ignoring the fact that he's still about the biggest star we have got! My fears were not realised. This book is a delight from start to finish.

Everything is covered - the drink, the drugs, the sex and the music. It has been sympathetically written, without being sickly-sweet. Smith writes in a nice, non-judgmental sort of way. It's as if Smith, had a smile on his face when he wrote it. How refreshing to find a writer who actually seems to like Robbie!

My favourite part is the childhood stories. Robbie is a mix betweeen 'Jack the Lad' and perhaps surprisngly, the sensitive flower. I found myself laughing and crying at the same time! At times the story is very moving. Being a fan of Take That, I was pleased to find all the Take That stuff is here and when you read it you want to go and give Gary and co a big telling off for being so mean to Robbie! He was a lot younger than them, which is something I never thought about at the time.

I didn't know much about his new wife, Ayda Field, so that's a big insight and nice to read something new about Robbie. I also found the story of this year's Brit Awards where Robbie performed a real eye-opener.

All in all, it was a pleasure to read from beginning to end and I would say that if you thought that you knew everything there is to know about Robbie then think again!
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on 7 October 2003
As a HUGE fan of Robbie Williams since the Take That days, I bought this book as soon as it came out. I have read and really enjoyed another biography by the same author so I had high expectations.
The book begins by taking the reader back to Robbie's childhood in Stoke-on-Trent - and Sean Smith obviously did his research: the anecdotes and stories about his school days and his early bid for stardom in musicals such as 'Oliver', as told by Robbie's friends, are both hilarious and, at times, very moving.
In describing his career, the author focuses on the often conflicting relationship between 'Robbie' the performer and 'Rob' (as his friends call him) the person. It was nostalgic to read about Take That and to reminisce over the pictures. It's easy to forget now that Robbie is so successful that he was only a kid when he joined the band and, to a certain extent, had to do his growing up in this false and bizarre environment. Perhaps it was inevitable that he should go off the rails a bit - and this book deals sensitively and sympathetically with this period of his life. The author is definitely on Robbie's side and delights in describing how he turned things around.
The detail is excellent - there are some great stories and first hand accounts. And what makes this book stand out from the usual sort of pop biography is that it is not just cobbled together from press cuttings in that throwaway style you see so often, but is really well researched and engagingly written - by someone who obviously has great admiration and respect for Robbie Williams. Highly recommended.
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on 15 October 2003
This book was a very pleasant surprise. I half expected the usual tabloid trawl through Robbie’s life but instead found myself warming to a bloke I hadn’t really known before. I got the impression the author actually liked Robbie – or Rob as he calls him – and wasn’t pointing an accusing finger.
There are quite a few very funny stories I hadn’t heard before and some tearful moments too: Robbie cries when he sees his Dad in the front row when he played the Artful Dodger in Oliver!
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on 7 October 2010
I read Sean Smith's last book on Cheryl Cole and really enjoyed it so decided to give this a go although I am not much of a fan of Robbie Williams. I found myself fascinated by his life. A great story, well told.
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on 9 December 2003
This is an excellent biography. Anyone who likes Robbie Williams will love this book. A pleasant, touching and funny read. Its quite obvious that the writer admires his talent and persona. Seems well researched and gives you an real insight on Rob Williams, the lad from Stoke-on-Trent.
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on 21 December 2011
The attention to detail of Rob's life, plus his friends & family is astounding. Sean Smith's done another cracking biography!

One thing I look forward to in a biography is the early days. A time before fame & fortune, and inevitably, being door-stepped by the media. I've read two of the author's other biographies recently, and they are terrific. Once again, Sean Smith doesn't disappoint on his take of Robbie. The highs and lows are well written, and each part of Rob's life, and each chapter, flows seamlessly to the next part. Whether it's the stage, the band, the solo act, the relationships, or the rehab, it's interesting to read about it from an almost personal viewpoint. Many things and more about Rob's journey are clearly written, and great to read. I can't really say much more without all my reviews sounding strangely similar in some way. I don't think much is missed out. The photos compliment the chapters well, and I particular like the summarised milestones at the rear of the book. As well, there are a few facts & figures in places showing Rob's ups and down, whether in the chart positions, the sales, on tours, or in the contracts. The book isn't full of statistics by any means; I've only mentioned it because some biographies don't include them.

From cover to cover, it's filled with enough information to dispel some uncertainties, tie up loose ends, and provides a decent look at the man who's had his adult life in the limelight; however it's portrayed.
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on 3 January 2007
We have often criticised that most people who write about Robbie Williams are not real journalists. After the first few pages of "Robbie. The biography" I was quite certain that finally a `real' journalist had taken up the theme.

Smith spent several months in Stoke-on-Trent, where he investigated about Rob's past and I believe even the hard-core Rob fans will still find a lot they have not known. The highlight of the book is certainly the first half where you can meet young Robert through the eyes of many of his old friends, such as Zoë Hammond or the clique of boys he used to hang around with before he joined Take That. They all draw a very detailed and sensible picture of a young man who has never had it easy, from the start on. If you want to understand Rob's roots this is probably the best opportunity available in stores.

The chapters about Take that feature some in depth insights as well and give a good idea about Rob's personal challenges at the time. Especially the insights of his childhood friend Zoë Hammond about her friend give the reader an idea about Rob's emotional ups & downs at the time.

The book looses a bit of it's in taking when finally reaching Rob's solo-career. So far the excellence has clearly been found in the in depth research and conversation partners. While research is still well done Smith clearly lacks the latter in this part, which makes it still a nice read but mainly a press review of already known facts and incidents.

The book finds an upturn again in the last chapters about LA, where the author has also spent some time. It gives a brief insight on Rob's social and off scene life in LA as well as, obligatory, the search for Mrs Williams.

Personally I find the strengths of this book clearly in the chapters about Rob until the end of Take That, about two thirds through the book. Quite understandably it was easier to find people willing to talk about Robbie Williams ten years ago then about `today' Rob. It was a clearly articulated goal of Sean Smith to find more about Rob, not about Robbie, which I believe he was successful in big parts of the book. Especially as his sources did indeed grow up with Robbie and therefore manage to deliver an authentic picture. While the book is not free of speculation it is free of washing dirty line. Even chapters about Oasis or Nicole Appleton never go below the generally high standard.
Another plus of the book is the writing style of the author that is not simple but very convenient.

A downside of the book is clearly that while Rob's youth, almost half of the book, features many new findings, this cannot be said about the more recent chapters. I would also not recommend it as a `first read'. You should have at least a broad idea of Rob's life and career before hand, which on the other hand makes it an interesting read for hard core fans though.
The book is not an official biography, and while this label might be seen as a quality standard, I can image that Rob might not agree with the depth of some revelations in the book, especially about his mother's life.
I'm also quite certain that Rob has not been interviewed for the book. I did not `miss' his voice but it is certainly one of the points to possibly improve.

To me this book is in the same league as "Feel" and, personally, I think it is even better written. If it wasn't for the lack of Rob himself, I would call it be the best Robbie Williams book to date.

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on 29 August 2006
A well constructed and written book that showcases the life of one of Britains brightest musical prospects in the past 20 years. From his early life growing up in Stoke on Trent with an over protective mother and a travelling father, to the meteoric heights he has reached today.

The book details his start as a 16 year old in a floundering boy band named Take That and how they went on to rule the teenage music world for nearly a decade. His loves and let downs and how he has ultimately dealt with the fame that has been given to him by an adoring public.

The piece is written in a somewhat biased way, but does not go out its way to show that Robbie Williams is anything close to an Angel. The author deals with the case of his miscarried child with sensitivity and good emotion, but goes into great details to explain how fame and his earlier life led to his lack of success in the emotional stakes.

A good read if you want to know more about this talented singer, but not as detailed as many of the boring biographies which go to great lengths to pick each song apart for its individual merits.
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on 5 January 2011
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on 4 February 2011
A compeling read for all true Robbie fans. An account of Robbies life from the very start to the present day, The book gives an insight into Robs world. It left me wanting to know more !!!
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