ODT sports editor Hayden Meikle looks at some of
the latest sports book offerings.
THE OPEN SIDE
Richie McCaw/Greg McGee
Let's face it, this was always going to be an automatic
bestseller. It could have been Richie McCaw's Guide to
Embroidery, or Richie McCaw and the Theories of Quantum
Physics. Everyone would have bought it.
The All Black captain and contender for greatest player in
the history of the black jersey joins the ranks of players to
have released a book before his career is over.
Pleasingly, his choice as biographer is someone a little
different. Ex-Waitakian Greg McGee, best known for Foreskin's
Lament, takes the job and does his level best to squeeze some
juice out of the notoriously level-headed McCaw.
As the great man says, he made a deliberate decision early in
his All Black captaincy to say nothing controversial. Better
to be seen as boring than to create tomorrow's headlines.
The book is certainly not boring, but I wouldn't say it's
loaded with fascination. Large chunks of it include fairly
standard rugby writing, and there are few startling
But McGee ties the strands of McCaw's life together nicely,
there are some interesting observations on various issues,
and there are just enough glimpses into McCaw the man
(especially his love of gliding) to keep the reader
Valerie Adams/Phil Gifford
The female version of Richie McCaw? Probably accurate, though
Queen Valerie is another whose story is not yet over. She has
two Olympic gold medals in the bag but, assuming she
maintains her motivation, she could win another one, two or
Still, she has a story to tell, and the vastly experienced
Gifford helps her open up.
The obvious and immediate angle is her experience at the
London Olympics, where the drama never stopped. Surprise
silver medal! Administrative muck-up! Belarussian busted for
doping!Adams does not hold back in her criticism of chef de
mission Dave Currie and Athletics New Zealand, but
(deliberately) has little to say about Nadzeya Ostapchuk, who
ruined her golden moment.
The other topics of real interest covered warts and all are
Adams' split with long-time coach Kirsten Hellier, and her
marital problems with heavy-drinking husband Bertrand.
Painfully honest stuff.
Some of the more pure athletics-based chapters are a little
dry, but then this is the shot put. And, as occasionally
happens in real life, Adams comes across on the sour side at
Great story, though. Your respect for what the woman has
done, and continues to do, will only be enhanced by reading
HOWZAT! KERRY PACKER'S CRICKET WAR
The story - still fascinating, even after all these years -
of the great cricket split in the late 1970s.
Lee based the book on a television series he created which,
disappointingly, appears unlikely to grace New Zealand
A cracking yarn of power, politics and revolution. Makes you
realise cricket has actually been in the process of change
for a long time, not just since they invented twenty/20.
THE NEW ZEALAND BOXING SCRAPBOOK
Dave Cameron/Paul Lewis
Great sport, boxing. Don't be turned off by the sight of SBW
or Joseph Parker beating up tubby losers, or the farcical
state of the world heavyweight championship.
The sport's glorious history in New Zealand is given
magnificent treatment by this weighty tome, from historian
Dave Cameron and Herald on Sunday sports editor Paul Lewis.
It's crammed full of nice photos, interesting bits and bobs,
old yarns, and memorabilia. Well worth a look.
GENERALS OF THE RUGBY WORLD CUP
Verdon specialises in ''cigar-box'' books, hefty things
designed to be more than your average publication. His latest
effort focuses on the Rugby World Cup, specifically the men
who wore the No 10 jersey for the winning teams.
It's high-end stuff ($295) but rugby tragics will lap up the
presentation, the background, the statistics and the
signatures in the front.