Monday 19 March 2018

The winners that sport lovers should be packing

Joe O'Shea reveals his top picks when it comes to sports books for the sun-lounger

Laurent Fignon
Laurent Fignon
Laurent Fignon
The Race Against the Stars
The Bloodied Field
The Boys in the Boat
Joe McGuinness

A sun-lounger, a cool drink and a great book. The perfect formula for summertime relaxation. And if you don't fancy the latest sturm und drang war-epic from Anthony Beevor and chick-lit is not your thing, you might want to pack a great read about sport.

But what are the great sporting reads you should be packing into your case or downloading onto your E-Reader this summer? From the big and obvious to the more obscure and niche, there's a huge range of new and not-so-new reads in the sports section of your local bookstore.

Proud by Gareth Thomas (Ebury Press, €14.20) is a multi-award winning and searingly honest account of the life of the Wales and Lions legend who hid his true sexuality through his long rugby career.

In cycling (and a good primer for the Tour de France) is the award-winning The Race Against the Stasi by Herbie Sykes (Arum Press, €22.50), the incredible story of East German cyclist Dieter Wiedemann and his struggle against the East German regime.

Closer to home is the critically acclaimed The Bloodied Field by Michael Foley (O'Brien Press, €12.99), a detailed and shocking account of November 21, 1920, the day the British Army opened fire on players and spectators at football match in Croke Park, otherwise known as Bloody Sunday. A familiar story told as never before.

For hurling fans, Dalo - The Autobiography by Anthony Daly (Transworld Ireland, €12.99) is a must-read. It's a full and frank account of a life at the top (and occasionally the pits) of the small-ball game.

With the Tour de France about to start, sporting romantics might fancy the beautiful, honest and very French autobiography of cycling legend Laurent Fignon - We Were Young and Carefree (Yellow Jersey Press, €12.99). It's the self-told account of a tumultuous life and career that was cut short, and is an international bestseller.

In football (and assuming we have all read the Roy Keane bio) the evergreen The Miracle Of Castel Di Sangro by Joe McGinniss (Warner, €17.99) remains a fantastic read and a great one to have in your case for the beach. It's the funny, touching and exciting account of one ­extraordinary season for a small Italian football team and town, as seen through the eyes of an American journalist.

And finally, The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown (Pan, €14.20) tells the inspiring epic story of a young man's rise from a hard-scrabble life in Depression-era America to competing at the Berlin Olympics in 1936. This book is multi-award winning and thoroughly recommended.

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