Sporting autobiographies are often unsatisfying pieces of writing. Perhaps this is because they are usually ghosted. A journalist takes down the subjects words of their subject and then tries to organize them into a book. This book is completely written by Mike Atherton and all the better for it. What's more it is beautifully written.
He explores many aspects of his time as England captain, his sometimes stormy relationship with selectors (especially Ray Illingworth), players as well as various memorable matches. Yet even when critical, there us no sense of "settling scores". He is quite prepared to point out his own failings or differing viewpoints.
Atherton emerges as intelligent, thoughtful and articulate with a sense of humour. He draws a fascinating picture of the English Test scene in the 1990's. There are also fascinating insights into the psychology of the modern game, problems of coping with celebrity and the various personalities in the game. As well as a fascinating picture of his own personal development over the time which is illuminating in its own right.
Fascinating for cricket lovers and for anyone interested in what makes sportsman. This may have longer shelf life than most sport books.
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