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      29.06.2015 13:00
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      The Day KP went nuts!

      I have only read two sports books this summer – and not the first time I have read these two books, updated biographies of Jimmy White and Kevin Pietersen. The White book is a cheap rehash with the emphasis on ‘hash’, Jimmies undisclosed love of soft drugs and cocaine deemed worthy of volume two and not exactly great for his loveable cheeky chappie image he crowned with his I’m a Celebrity Win. But Jimmy has an ego and his current form on the snooker table isn’t getting him much attention and so couldn’t resist a book deal. Kevin Pietersen, on the other hand, is just plain angry about the loss of his A-List sporting status and his treatment by the ECB to end his England career and wants revenge. He is the like the sulky lead singer in a rock band that feels he is the band and so leaves to do his solo project.

      As a cricket writer of little repute I have interacted with Kev a couple of times. He is polite and to the point. Once he told me to f**k off and the other time was a snatched conversation on the boundary at the Oval about his declaration and that wasn’t much better. Me, like everyone else in cricket, is below Pietersen in his eyes. He is one of those sportsmen that knows they are good and as long as he performs in a team at the top level and helps them win matches he doesn’t feel the need to change his selfish method, attend silly team meetings and be like the rest of the guys. He reminds me of me. Team meetings are about putting you in your place. These guys need to be in a different place to perform, a place were we don’t exist. He enjoys publicly taking responsibility for losing as that makes him the most important guy in the team. He takes a perverse pleasure in that attention, sulking on the outside when he is picked on by the press for his attention seeking antics, and appears upset, but on the inside its clarification that he is the most important person in the set up. In the book he clearly marries his loss of form through his knee injury and conflicts with the England set up to England’s loss of form and eventually Ashes thumping Down Under in 2013.

      The 2014 book sales were revved up some this year with new ECB Chairmen Colin Graves surprise suggestion that KPs England career may not be over and if he went away and got some runs in county cricket this year he could perhaps make The Ashes team. Pietersen immediately cancelled his IPL deal and signed for Surrey. But even that extraordinary triple hundred off the feeble Leicestershire attack wasn’t enough and the new Director of Cricket Andrew Strauss would get his sweet revenge for losing his job to KP as England captain by humiliating Pietersen in public by saying Pietersen would never play for England again. Strauss had famously been caught calling Kev a c**t’ on a live TV feed. If the stuff from this spring was covered in this book it would have been extremely spicy from Kev. But I can tell you there was never anyway back for Kevin as Cook doesn’t want him and neither does most of the England team. His injury probably halved his test average but at 34 you get injuries and few batsmen last until they are late 30s in this sport. Once you stop performing at the highest level ad you are disliked the pack will turn. The ECB and Strauss knew KP would go to war with whoever the current English coach is in pursuit of that special treatment.

      The thing that narked the England players the most was his IPL contract. He was bought for 1.4m dollars in his first season and given special treatment to play there. In the book he details a test match when he was caught watching his IPL team on the TV waiting to bat and not watching the test match on the dressing room balcony. Little things like that can be interpreted in many ways. Some thought he was more loyal to the IPL than England whilst others thought it was that attention seeking stuff he was doing to draw a reaction. That’s one of very few things KP regrets in the book.

      The book is not about his early days in the game or his move up the chain but straight into the last few years, his decline, but to Kev, his deliberate destruction by the ECB and those England coaches he hated. I spoke to Peter Moores at Northampton last month who was there to see his lad in the Nott’s second team and after he quickly said he never wanted KP in the team and the decision was made on high. He, to, used an expletive to describe Kev, just as Strauss did. There is a pattern here folks.

      Kevin has zero time or respect for two of his England coaches in the book, ridiculing both throughout. Worse still he confronted these guys face-to-face as a player as the senior pro and so both parties soon undermining each other. Kev claimed both Flower and Moores sucked the enjoyment out of the team with tight regimes and too many rules killed team spirit and so results. Kev often tried to miss warm up games and lesser tours because of his special status he presumed he had and that made the coaches look weak to the rest of the team. Kevs idea of a team is to compete in it to achieve his often selfish objectives but not really be part of that team. As he puts it. There is an ‘I’ in team. The individual”. He wanted to be top run scorer and top hundred maker for England and beyond, that, there, is no doubt in my mind why Cook plays down his personal milestones and records. I think most top players are not really team players but appreciate that there has to be some tolerance of each and lesser players for it to work and the team to get results.

      The book is full of insults about other players and the main reason there was no way back for him. This book was his tombstone and he knew that when he wrote it. He is cruel about little James Taylor and enjoyed pointing out the Nottinghamshire openers dad was a jockey. He calls captain Alistair Cook, who took over him after his unsuccessful captaincy, Ned Flanders and, of course, spent most of the book firing his main guns at Mathew Prior, who he calls the ‘Big Cheese’. He really doesn’t like this guy and certainly wasn’t going to take orders from the Vice Captain. There is also stuff about the senior clique in the dressing room of Swann, Broad and co and he calls them for bullying younger players for dropping catches and misfields. But that is part of the game and makes men out of junior players in all sports. If you don’t stand up to your teammates in a British dressing room you will have the piss ripped out of you until you leave. That ‘banter’ is really about generating team spirit by bringing players up and dragging down the bigger egos to a middle ground. I know Swanny and he can be ruthless if you don’t go along with his style of humor. It’s not a nice feeling when your ego is pricked and you publicly deflate in public like a burst whopper cushion, what Kevin always wants to avoid, his confidence totally dependent on this aloof character he has created. It’s called hubris. Players need mutual respect to function as a team. This was clearly not what makes Pietersen tick. He kept himself to himself to avoid a lot of that banter that would eventually expose him.

      Summing up the book is full of paranoia, contradiction (especially around what he said in his previous book) and a vindictive piece of writing to hurt the team and country he is supposed to have loved. It’s controversial as it’s sad. You will chuckle at bits but most of this has been serialized in the newspapers so nothing new for cricket fans. I never liked the bloke and he should never have been picked for England, however good he is. The England team should be English and not rely on cherry picking guys from abroad to win matches. We can fill grounds without them .Prior and Strauss grew up in England and played against their English piers and so a fair enough to be selected. But every time a KP is picked who played all his cricket in South Africa until he was 21 and so effectively taken the place of a young English player who had come through the age group and county system here, a system set up to feed the England team, its counterproductive to the game here. Trott and Balance should also have been banned from playing for England. My rule around dual passports would be you must have been playing cricket in England from under 16 years of age for your junior years. We have seen in athletics this increasing need to steal people from other countries to the point where ten years from now half our medal winners won’t be born here. What’s the point of celebrating England winning a test series if less than half of the team are born and played junior cricket here? Those guys should be playing for their own national teams. As a Northants fan this selection policy is really hurting us as our best players leave for the bigger counties in the hope to be selected for England but England moving away from those guys making the moves and poaching abroad instead so there are fewer opportunities. Why would a talented young player go anywhere nearer Northants if he has England ambitions? That never used to be the case. Northampton born and bred David Willey is set to leave us in September because of this policy.






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      03.01.2009 00:17
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      a boys struggle for survival at the wrath of his mother

      Tell me why mummy is a really emotional story which is not for the faint hearted.

      This book is written by David Thomas and is published by Harper Element.

      The book is a biography.

      This is definately a story of a young boys struggle through a horrible time all of which is caused by his mother.
      It shows a story of a horrific secret that his mother is keeping and her betrayel towards her son.
      From a young age David Thomas was sexually abused by his mother. His mother was an alcoholic and tells David that they are playing games.
      He doesnt like the games which his mother is asking him to play however he wants to keep her happy as she is usually sad.
      David was also physically abused by his stepfather . He was always being tortured and tormented.
      By the time David was in his mid teens he had already started into a life of crime. He received a conviction from the juvenile court but he carried on with his crimes as it was the only thing that made him feel free and exciting.

      He left the family home as soon as he was able too and finally got himself a job in the fire service.

      In 1999 he was reunited with the evil woman who tortured him for years, his monsterous mother.
      He keeps in touch which i dont personally understand why but she is his mother no matter how evil.

      A year or so later he finds his mother dead which in my opinion she deserved it but is very tragic for him as she has put him through enough.
      she died for reasons connected with alcohol which she caused herself.

      It is a great story as you see the journey of a strong courageous loving boy finding his inner courage to overcome his alcoholic mothers abuse.
      it is a really sad emotional story

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        07.07.2007 14:51
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        All the Herry Potter series have been proven to be the best and interesting books for children

        The Harry Potter has total six books been launched in the market and seventh one which is also the last book of the series is expected to launch in the last week of July. The millions of copies have been booked in advance . All of the books have been a best seller and every body, age 8 to 80 appreciated and liked each part. Movies also release on parts one to four and the movies were super hit. The child who played the part of Harry Potter is a British child star . He fitted well in the character with blue eyes and the spectacles . He has become the riches and the most famous at the age of 17 in the whole of UK

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          07.07.2007 14:46

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          All the Herry Potter series have been proven to be the best and interesting books for children

          The Harry Potter has total six books been launched in the market and seventh one which is also the last book of the series is expected to launch in the last week of July. The millions of copies have been booked in advance . All of the books have been a best seller and every body, age 8 to 80 appreciated and liked each part. Movies also release on parts one to four and the movies were super hit. The child who played the part of Harry Potter is a British child star . He fitted well in the character with blue eyes and the spectacles . He has become the riches and the most famous at the age of 17 in the whole of UK.

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          05.05.2004 02:46
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          ~ ~ Ben Hogan was born in 1912 in Dublin, Ohio, the youngest of three children. His father owned the local blacksmith?s shop, and there was nothing in the young Hogan?s childhood that would have indicated that as an adult he would become (arguably) the greatest professional golfer of the 20th century. He has long been one of my favourite golfers, and although I never had the opportunity to see him play in the flesh during his heyday in the late 1940?s and 1950?s, I was regaled during my early years on stories of his various achievements and exploits by my late father. ~ ~ But Ben Hogan was an enigma. A man who played golf like a god, and who achieved fantastic success in his life both on and off the golf course, he was also a private man who shunned the limelight, and who had an abiding hatred for the media and press all his life. He never played to the gallery, and in all his years as a professional golfer it was rare sight indeed to see his granite like features crease into a smile. Not for Hogan the clench-fist antics of today?s pros! That is, if you could even see his features at all, through the constant cloud of cigarette smoke that perpetually surrounded him. (He smoked up to 40 unfiltered ?Chesterfield? cigarettes each round of golf he played!) As a consequence a legend grew up around the man, as sports writers, journalists, and the media tried desperately to break through his teak-hard veneer to satisfy the craving of an adoring public for more knowledge of their sporting hero. This was never managed with any degree of success. So I was fascinated when I happened across a biography of the late Hogan in my local bookstore recently, by an American author called Curt Sampson. I was also delighted to discover that it was in the ?bargain bin?, and could be purchased for only ?5 (cover price $24.95) for the hardback version.
          ~ ~ This is the first book by the author Curt Sampson that I have read, but he is a sports writer of some distinction in his native United States, and the author of many other golf books; ?The Eternal Summer?, ?Full Court Pressure?, and a much-acclaimed book about the British Open of 1999 at Carnoustie, Scotland, called ?Royal and Ancient?. His latest book (2004) is a study of the latest phenomenon to hit the golfing world, Tiger Woods, and is called ?Chasing Tiger?. He?s also a decent golfer in his own right, having achieved success at college and amateur level, although, on his own admission, he was a ?dud? as a touring and later club professional. In recent times, he twice won the prestigious Golf Writers Association of America annual tournament. I think the fact that Sampson is a golfer is an essential ingredient for writing a biography of a golfer like Hogan, as it gives him the insight and understanding both of the sport and the golfer himself that would be lacking in somebody with no intimate knowledge of the game. ~ ~ Sampson managed to get some small amount of co-operation from Hogan, which is more than any other author had ever managed. Hogan was notorious for his reluctance to talk to ANY writer?s or journalists, and this becomes apparent when you look at the number of other golfing books written about other outstanding stars of the sport. There are currently 36 titles about Sam Snead, some 30 books about the late, great legend Bobby Jones, 45 about Jack Nicklaus, and 46 about Arnold Palmer. In stark contrast there are only 5 books about Ben Hogan, two of which are instruction manuals written by the great man himself! (The Modern Fundamentals of Golf (1957) by Hogan is still the world's No. 1 best-selling
          golf instruction book, even today.) Most of Sampson?s material for the biography was obtained in the same way Hogan liked to describe his golf game. ?He dug it from the ground?. He meticulously researched this book, talking to hundreds of Hogan?s friends, fellow professional golfers, and digging around in old records from his youthful years. ~ ~ What I enjoyed most about this book was the amount of hitherto unknown and unpublished material that Sampson managed to dig up about the great man. All golf fans already know about his near-fatal car crash in February of 1949, when he was finally beginning to achieve the golfing success he so craved. But Sampson gives his readers all the ?gory details?. His Cadillac was involved in a head-on collision with a Greyhound bus in foggy conditions, and Hogan threw himself across his beloved wife Val seconds before the impact to try to protect her from serious injury. He succeeded, but at an awful cost to himself. His left arm was nearly severed at the shoulder, and his left leg and ankle were mangled almost beyond recognition. He broke his pelvis, a number of ribs, and nearly lost his left eye. (The sight in the eye was never the same again, although the doctors managed to save it) Due to the remote location of the accident, it was over 90 minutes before any qualified medical personnel attended to Hogan! But despite being told in no uncertain terms that his professional golfing career was almost certainly at an end, Hogan was swinging a golf club again almost before he was even able to stand steadily on his injured legs! That the greatest wins of his golfing career came AFTER the accident is an abiding testament to the courage and fortitude of the man. (Plus his notorious stubborn streak, and inability to ever throw in the towel.) Sampson goes into great detail about
          this period of Hogan?s life, chronicling his amazing fight for recovery, and his return to tournament play in January 1950, when he tied for first place with Sam Snead. (Only to lose the 18-hole playoff) And he describes in detail what was perhaps his greatest ever win. The 1951 US Open Championship at Merion Golf Club in Pennsylvania, only 16 short months after he had literally lain at death?s door! ~ ~ The author also goes into great detail about Hogan?s early life as a boy and young man, and how he first took an interest in golf through caddying at his local golf club. This was particularly interesting, as I?d never read anything at all about Hogan?s early years before. His father committed suicide by shooting himself with a revolver, and the young Ben witnessed the whole thing. He was all of nine-years-old at the time, and Sampson speculates on the catastrophic and devastating effect this must have had on the boy, and how much it affected his seeming inability to trust people in his later life. He left school early, and started his working life selling newspapers in the local railway station, before discovering he could make more money carrying golfer?s bags at his local club. It was here that he first picked up a golf club, and became totally infatuated with the sport that would later make him world famous. ~ ~ Another fact that Sampson reveals about which I wasn?t previously aware is that Hogan didn?t particularly show great promise as a young player. He was good, but suffered from a vicious hook, (the ball ducks quickly to the left) and despite turning professional at the tender age of 17, it was many years before he made any sort of impact on the professional tour. Hogan was renowned for the amount of time he spent practicing, at a time when professional golfers practiced rarely. (If at all!) Sa
          mpson quotes the old saw about Hogan, ?Hogan used to hit balls until his hands bled?, but then goes on to fill in the big picture of what this actually meant. Practically every day of his life, right up until his mid-70?s, Ben Hogan hit 600 practice balls every morning, played a full round of golf every afternoon, and then hit yet another 600 practice balls after his game! Sampson speculates that perhaps Hogan suffered from a compulsive disorder, which is why he practiced so much. Whatever the reason, it was without question this hard work on the practice tee that contributed the most to his amazing skill at the sport, and put him so far ahead of most of his fellow players. ~ ~ There?s a section on what was unquestionably Hogan?s greatest year in golf, 1953. It was in this year that he won three out of golf?s four Major Championships in the one season. The US Masters, US Open, and the British Open. The only reason he didn?t go on to complete the unobtainable, and win the ?Grand Slam? of Major titles, is that the USPGA Championship at the time was a match play event, which involved playing up to 36 holes of golf every day for a full week. Hogan?s mangled post-accident body (and in particular his legs) simply weren?t up to the task, so rather than having to withdraw at some stage of the competition, he simply didn?t enter at all. ~ ~ I was fascinated reading about his victory at the 1953 British Open at Carnoustie Golf Club in Scotland, the only time he ever played in the tournament! My late father often told me about watching Hogan play in this event, and how he had never witnessed such an awesome display of golfing talent. What was even more interesting is that it was the first time Hogan had ever experienced a ?links? (seaside) golf course, with it?s bouncy, sand
          y soil, and fearsome sand dunes and rough. He didn?t like it, and was less than complimentary to the green keeping staff, even offering at one stage to loan the head green keeper his own lawnmower so he could make a proper job of cutting the putting greens! But his dislike of the golf course didn?t stop him winning the tournament in great style! And the Scottish golfing public took him to their hearts, giving him the affectionate nickname of the ?wee man?. (He was only 5? 8? in height, and weighed less than 12 stones) ~ ~ Sampson also chronicles Hogan?s life after he gave up playing competitive golf, and started up his own golf club manufacturing business. Like anything else he turned his hand to, this was (ultimately) an outstanding success, as Hogan carried over his obsession for playing golf to the utmost of his ability into making the best possible golf clubs on the market. In later years he was looked upon as the ?elder statesman? of the sport, and offered many honorary positions, such as hitting the first tee shot each year at the US Masters. But Hogan would have none of this, and instead spent his twilight years at his local Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth. He could be found watching American football on the large TV in the lounge, with a drink in one hand and his ever-present Chesterfield cigarette in the other. Ben Hogan eventually passed on in 1997 at the ripe old age of 84, but he will never be forgotten. His golfing record speaks for itself. 63 tournament victories in total, and 9 Major Championships. To this day, only the great Jack Nicklaus (18 Major wins) and Walter Hagen (11 Major wins) have surpassed him in the amount of Majors won. ~ ~ If you have any interest whatsoever in the game of golf then this excellent biography of Ben Hogan by Curt Samps
          on is one that you are sure to thoroughly enjoy. Highly recommended by the mad cabbie. ~~~~~~~~~~~~ Hardcover: 288 pages (First Printed in 1996. 2nd printing in 2001) Publisher: Rutledge Hill Press ISBN: 1558533877 Price: Cover price $24.95 (Available at Amazon UK for only £11.99) ~~~~~~~~~~~~ © KenJ May 2004 ~~~~~~~~~~~~

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            07.11.2002 04:29
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            *****It’s Not A Rehearsal by Amanda Barrie***** When I was growing up, one of my favourite films was Carry On Cleo. Along with the lasting images of Sid James and Kenneth Williams, there was another one – a beautiful woman with dark hair and the most amazing big eyes. It was Amanda Barrie as Cleopatra. It was only later I heard Elizabeth Taylor had played the role too, but for me, Amanda will always be the definitive Cleo. When I was about ten, I had the pleasure of meeting Amanda at the Theatre Royal, Lincoln when she was in the play Blithe Spirit. I remember very little about this unfortunately, but I do recall meeting her. A decade or more later and Amanda re-entered my world as Alma in one of my favourite TV programmes, Coronation Street. Until her character died of cervical cancer, I watched her - gossiping with Audrey, arguing with Mike and that amazing hostage situation in the supermarket. So I have been a fan of Amanda’s for a long time, around twenty-five years. I have known very little of her private life but have enjoyed her acting and always thought how lovely she seems. When her autobiography was published a couple of weeks ago, it seemed the perfect book to buy and the ideal way to discover more about the lady who played such a wonderfully dizzy Cleopatra. I spent £18.99 of my birthday money on her book – It’s Not A Rehearsal. I was disappointed to find it seemed to be stacked unobtrusively on shelves in both Waterstone’s and WHSmith, while Geri and Ulrika took the honours of stand-up displays and table features. I love autobiographies and own several. Many have been disappointing, revealing little about the subject – Stand up, June Whitfield! – while others have gone that bit too far, boasting about sexual encounters and abortions in double figures – Close your legs, Barbara Windsor! This one gets the balance pretty damn perfect. I l
            ike Amanda Barrie. She seems warm and honest. While most autobiographies are pounced upon to name-drop, boast and excuse misdemeanours, this one appears to have been written in just the right way. From the start, Amanda explains she is dyslexic and needed a lot of help in writing the book, but that she has told her life story honestly. I believe her. I never once got that sceptical feeling where you look at the words knowingly and utter some scathing comment like ‘Yeah, right!’ employing years of experience of sarcasm. Unlike some other stars of her era, she is happy to admit her age – she was 66 when writing. She admits her flaws and mistakes, while acclaiming her triumphs and successes in an endearingly modest way. She details her health problems in an honest manner and one that could be inspirational to any others going through a similar experience. The part of her autobiography that the tabloids picked up on was her sexuality. I assume Amanda herself was happy enough for the stress to be put on this issue, as she was seen on TV adverts, exclaiming about her ‘love for men and women’! Yes, Amanda Barrie is bisexual. Her life has been peppered with relationships with both men and women. She has been married, she had an affair with Billy Fury and has had several long-term girlfriends. She writes about these in a very tasteful way and I was also impressed by her decision not to name several of her exes, so as to protect them from the glare of publicity or because some of them had kept their sexual identity secret from others. This seemed a genuine reason and such a contrast to the recent ‘guess who’ fiasco over Ulrika Jonsson’s autobiography (ironically called ‘Honest’, ha!). I’m sure we could all name some famous gay celebs and some straight ones too, but how many famous bisexuals do you know? Hmm. Exactly. It is well documented that minorities
            of all kinds benefit from having a positive role model and there can be no better one than Amanda Barrie. I, for one, am pleased to think of her as ‘like me’. Her book describes her childhood and how her career began as a young child, her stereotypically pushy mother entering her into talent shows and making sure she practised her singing and dancing. Her Curriculum Vitae has been growing ever since, from her professional theatre debut at four to her current commitments – panto in Birmingham and a part in the next series of Bad Girls. Her life is in some ways an ordinary one. She loves, hurts, works, becomes ill and overcomes. But in other ways it is extraordinary too. It is made all the more riveting for the contrasts between the two, as we empathise with her teenage angst then gasp at her energy and vitality, as she describes life in her twenties with little food and little sleep. Being very fond of the Carry On films, I did wish there had been more pages devoted to her roles in Carry On Cabby and Cleo, but enjoyed reading those parts immensely. It was particularly interesting to read how Sid James was such a gentleman and she found him different to how he had subsequently been portrayed, but she isn’t so keen or so kind about Kenneth Williams! Coronation Street fans will be much happier with the portion of her book devoted to this part of her life. Her anecdotes about other cast members are always interesting and often quite enchanting. She explains how she came to leave the Street and why, as well as going into some detail about her final cervical cancer storyline and her discontent with how it was portrayed. Following her promise of honesty, she even tells you how much she was paid for playing Alma – and that’s not something many soap stars will confess to! I would definitely recommend this book to you, especially if you are a fan of hers. I found it probably the best autobiograp
            hy I have read. It may not be the best in terms of literary skills, but it is easy to read and hard to put down. Amanda Barrie’s warmth, kindness, strength and – above all – honesty shine through and those are qualities we should all admire. ***** It’s Not A Rehearsal by Amanda Barrie is currently only available in hardback. It is published by Headline and is priced at £18.99. There are almost 350 pages with twenty four pages of photographs from birth to the present. Check out the book company’s official website at www.madaboutbooks.com or buy from Amazon or the usual stockists. *****

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