Why not take the chance to win £50 in National Book Tokens by voting for your favourite sports book from among the winners at the British Sports Book Awards, announced earlier this month! Follow the link to an online form to register your vote an be entered automatically into a draw.
To help you chose, over the next few days the Sports Bookshelf will highlight each of the eight contenders to be named the overall British Sports Book of the Year. Today's category winner:
BEST FOOTBALL BOOK
Anthony Clavane’s superb fusion of personal biography with the history of a football club and of a city attracted enormous acclaim among reviewers and due recognition when it was named Best Football Book by the British Sports Book Award judges.
The story traces the highs and lows of Leeds United, from the dizzy but some would say tainted heights of the Don Revie era to the crash-and-burn years under chairman Peter Risdale’s profligate tenure. The tale has been told many times, but Sunday Mirror journalist Clavane, born and raised in Leeds, gives it a new dimension.
The successes and failures of the club during the author’s lifetime provide the narrative with a central thread, around which Clavane, drawing on his own background, skilfully weaves the history of the Jewish population in Leeds as well as the physical, social and cultural development of the city, drawing painful parallels of dreams failing to find fulfilment in reality.
An updated edition in paperback, retitled Promised Land: A Northern Love Story, bringing the story up to date to include Leeds United’s failed attempt to win promotion in the season just ended, is out in July.
Clavane knits together three different narratives: Leeds’s painful transformation from grimy manufacturing base to strong financial centre; the gradual integration of his own Jewish orthodox community; and the crazy, zigzagging trajectory of the football club itself. [He] writes translucent, simple prose, full of vivid details. Leeds United becomes a prism for the city: the “New Jerusalem” that could never quite escape the stain of its industrial past. Both insightful and humane, this is sportswriting at its very best.
-- Simon Briggs, The Daily Telegraph. Read more...