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How refreshing - a sports autobiography actually written by its author
on 5 February 2009
I've always had a bit of a love-hate relationship with sports autobiographies: I buy lots of them and they are almost invariably diabolical.
One of the reasons is that they are all amost exactly the same. You could use a computer template to generate around 95% of the book and then just replace the names, the teams and the sport. Another is that they are generally ghost-written and, even when the ghost-writer is very good (say, Hunter Davies), the finished book is usually woeful (say, Wayne Rooney's). The only good ones are where the subject has very strong opinions and is not afraid to express them, as is the case here.
Not since Tony Cascarino's Full Time have I read a book from this genre where the author was unafraid to tell it like it is. I do not agree with some of Josh Lewsey's views but they are always expressed eloquently and compellingly. I do not even know much about rugby (football's my thing), but everyone remembers England winning the World Cup in 2003 and Josh was part of that. The sections about that tournament (the preparation, the setbacks, the ultimate elation) could translate to being about any kind of sporting success and make for fascinating reading, but the more personal stuff is interesting too (a spirited defense of fox hunting, for example, is written with insight and self-awareness, whatever your own views on the subject may be).
Intelligent, personal and real, Josh writes with humour and humanity - all qualities I thought were long dead in this strain of writing.