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In 1959, Liverpool Football Club were in the Second Division. Liverpool Football Club had never won the FA Cup. Fifteen seasons later, Liverpool Football Club had won three League titles, two FA Cups and the UEFA Cup. Liverpool Football Club had become the most consistently successful team in England. And the most passionately supported club. Their manager was revered as a In 1959, Liverpool Football Club were in the Second Division. Liverpool Football Club had never won the FA Cup. Fifteen seasons later, Liverpool Football Club had won three League titles, two FA Cups and the UEFA Cup. Liverpool Football Club had become the most consistently successful team in England. And the most passionately supported club. Their manager was revered as a god. Destined for immortality. Their manager was Bill Shankly. His job was his life. His life was football. His football a form of socialism. Bill Shankly inspired people. Bill Shankly transformed people. The players and the supporters.His legacy would reveberate through the ages. In 1974, Liverpool Football Club and Bill Shankly stood on the verge of even greater success. In England and in Europe. But in 1974, Bill Shankly shocked Liverpool and football. Bill Shankly resigned. Bill Shankly retired. Red or Dead is the story of the rise of Liverpool Football Club and Bill Shankly. And the story of the retirement of Bill Shankly. Of one man and his work. And of the man after that work. A man in two halves. Home and away. Red or dead.


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In 1959, Liverpool Football Club were in the Second Division. Liverpool Football Club had never won the FA Cup. Fifteen seasons later, Liverpool Football Club had won three League titles, two FA Cups and the UEFA Cup. Liverpool Football Club had become the most consistently successful team in England. And the most passionately supported club. Their manager was revered as a In 1959, Liverpool Football Club were in the Second Division. Liverpool Football Club had never won the FA Cup. Fifteen seasons later, Liverpool Football Club had won three League titles, two FA Cups and the UEFA Cup. Liverpool Football Club had become the most consistently successful team in England. And the most passionately supported club. Their manager was revered as a god. Destined for immortality. Their manager was Bill Shankly. His job was his life. His life was football. His football a form of socialism. Bill Shankly inspired people. Bill Shankly transformed people. The players and the supporters.His legacy would reveberate through the ages. In 1974, Liverpool Football Club and Bill Shankly stood on the verge of even greater success. In England and in Europe. But in 1974, Bill Shankly shocked Liverpool and football. Bill Shankly resigned. Bill Shankly retired. Red or Dead is the story of the rise of Liverpool Football Club and Bill Shankly. And the story of the retirement of Bill Shankly. Of one man and his work. And of the man after that work. A man in two halves. Home and away. Red or dead.

30 review for Red or Dead

  1. 5 out of 5

    Declan

    Red or Dead is a novel. Red or Dead is a novel about Bill Shankly. Bill Shankly of Liverpool Football Club. Bill Shankly the manager of Liverpool Football Club. The manager of Liverpool Football Club in the 1960s and 1970s. Red or Dead has an unusual style. A style based on repetition. Repetition of simple phrases. Simple phrases that advance the plot. Simple phrases that advance the story of Bill Shankly. Bill Shankly of Liverpool Football. Bill Shankly the manager of Liverpool Football Club. Si Red or Dead is a novel. Red or Dead is a novel about Bill Shankly. Bill Shankly of Liverpool Football Club. Bill Shankly the manager of Liverpool Football Club. The manager of Liverpool Football Club in the 1960s and 1970s. Red or Dead has an unusual style. A style based on repetition. Repetition of simple phrases. Simple phrases that advance the plot. Simple phrases that advance the story of Bill Shankly. Bill Shankly of Liverpool Football. Bill Shankly the manager of Liverpool Football Club. Simple phrases that tell the story of Bill Shankly the manager of Liverpool Football Club. The repetition of simple phrases tell the story of Bill Shankly. The repetition of simple phrases that mirror the training methods of Bill Shankly. Bill Shankly the manager of Liverpool Football Club. Training based on the repetition of simple routines. You get the idea. I think this approach works for this story, but you do have to attack passages at speed. You need to get a rhythm. For the first third a knowledge of football, especially English football of that era, is an advantage. The heart of the novel is the final third, where a post retirement Shankly looks for a role. What comes out is that this is essentially a love story of the Shankly's love of the city of Liverpool and it's love of him. It's clear Peace admires Shankly, and frankly Shankly is a man of such dedication, and good will that he deserves this admiration. Red or Dead is a good novel. A good novel about a great man.u

  2. 5 out of 5

    James Neophytou

    Beautiful. Moving. Inspiring. A modern day hagiography worthy of its subject. One of the finest books I have ever read. I never thought a 700 page novel could fly by. And it has. It was like drinking water.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Paul Fulcher

    Repetition, Repetition, repetition. The opening words of David Peace’s 720 page Red or Dead do give the reader fair warning of what to expect. Red or Dead was shortlisted for the inaugural Goldsmiths Prize in 2013, and, for me, completes the set of the 24 shortlisted novels to date. I have certainly saved the longest till last; and although not the best, it was a far more enjoyable and interesting read than I had feared. Peace’s better known football novel, The Damned United focused on Brian Clou Repetition, Repetition, repetition. The opening words of David Peace’s 720 page Red or Dead do give the reader fair warning of what to expect. Red or Dead was shortlisted for the inaugural Goldsmiths Prize in 2013, and, for me, completes the set of the 24 shortlisted novels to date. I have certainly saved the longest till last; and although not the best, it was a far more enjoyable and interesting read than I had feared. Peace’s better known football novel, The Damned United focused on Brian Clough’s ill-fated and brief reign at Leeds. Red or Dead takes as it’s subject another legendary manager, Bill Shankly at Liverpool. The timescale is much longer – Shankly managed the club for almost 15 years rather than 44 days and somewhat more lightly fictionalised. Few of the real-life characters came out of The Damned United well, and indeed the book found its way to the libel courts, whereas this story is much more generous and respectful to almost all concerned. In this crucial early scene, perhaps my favourite in the book, we are in December 1959, witnessing Shankly’s first visit as manager to his new team’s ground. He and we encounter the famous boot room, a fictional recreation of the real-life event documented in Stephen Kelly’s Bill Shankly: It's Much More Important Than That: The Biography. Into Liverpool, into Anfield. In the ground, in the office, Bill shook hands with Jimmy McInnes, the club secretary. Bill knows Jimmy McInnes. Bill knew Jimmy came from Ayr. Bill knew Jimmy had played for Third Lanark and Liverpool Football Club. Jimmy introduced Bill to the receptionist, the ticket administrators, the cleaners and the groundsman, Arthur Riley. Bill knew Arthur Riley. Bill had worked for Liverpool Football Club for over thirty years. Arthur took Bill to meet the coaching staff. Under the stands, down a corridor. Among the boots, the dirty boots - This is Bob Paisley, said Arthur Riley. Bob is the first-team trainer. This is Joe Fagan. Joe is in charge of the reserves. This is Reuben Bennett. Reuben takes most of the training. And this is Albert Shelley. Albert used to be first-team trainer. He’s supposed to be retired. But Albert still comes in every day. Albert does whatever needs doing. Albert does everything and anything. Bill nodded. And Bill said, I know Bob. Me and Bob played against each other on many occasions. We had many a good scrap. And I know Joe. I tried to sign Joe when I was at Grimsby and he was at Manchester City. I know Reuben. Reuben used to work with my brother Bob at Dundee. And I know Albert. I know he lives and breathes Liverpool Football Club. I know you all do. And so I know you men are all good men. True football men. But I also know you fellows have been here a long time. And so I know you’ll all be worrying about me coming in. A new feller with new ways. Different ways. Maybe wanting to bring in new trainers with him. His mates. Well, I’m not going to do that. But I do have my ways. My methods and my systems. And they will be different ways. But I am here to work with you. Not against you. I am here to work in cooperation with you as a team. And so gradually I will lay down my plans and then gradually we will all be on the same wavelength. And in return I want one thing. Loyalty, I want loyalty. So I don’t want anyone to carry stories about anyone else. The man who brings the story to me will be the one that gets the sack. I don’t care if he’s been here fifty years. He’ll be the one who goes. Because I want everyone to be loyal to each other. To the team. And to the club. So everything we do will be for Liverpool Football Club. Not for ourselves. Not as individuals. But for the team. For Liverpool Football Club. Total loyalty. That is all I ask. Because that loyalty makes strength. And that strength will bring success. I promise you. Shankly’s biggest achievement wasn't so much the trophies he won but his legacy. Three league titles, two FA cups and the UEFA cup in 15 seasons, starting from the 2nd division is impressive, but in the same period Busby and Stein won the European Cup (which eluded Shankly), Robson and Clough also took teams from the 2nd division to winning the 1st, Revie built his own formidable team, and Nicholson and Mee won the league/cup Double. Indeed this picture of adoring fans is actually taken after Liverpool had lost the 1971 FA Cup final to Arsenal's double winners. But none transformed their club in the same way Shankly did, creating a template for sustained success. That legacy included handing over to the boot-room team: after Shankly retired in July 1974, he was succeeded by Bob Paisley (to July 1983 - winner of 3 European Cups and 6 league titles in 9 years) who was in turn briefly succeeded by Joe Fagan (to May 1985, his last game being the Heysel Stadium disaster). Key to Shankly’s popularity was his relationship with, and dedication to, the fans, rooted in his socialist beliefs. At his first Board meeting he complains about the toilets: The ones the spectators use? Yes, said Bill Shankly. The ones in the stands. The ones the people who pay to watch Liverpool Football Club have to use. Those people almost my wages. Those people, those toilets. As discussed at outset, the key to Peace's style in this novel is repetition, the same methodical repetition that was key to Shankly's training method and approach. Almost every game in his time at the club is described in similar style to the following passage, taken from the start of what would prove to be Liverpool's promotion season into division 1: On Saturday 19 August, 1961, on the first Saturday of the new season, Liverpool Football Club travelled to the Eastville Stadium, Bristol. And before the whistle, the first whistle of the new season. In the dressing room, the away dressing room. The players of Liverpool Football Club looked up at Bill Shankly. Bill Shankly in the centre of the dressing room, the away dressing room. Bill Shankly looking around the dressing room, the away dressing room. From player to player, Liverpool player to Liverpool player. From Slater to White, White to Byrne, Byrne to Milne, Milne to Yeats, Yeats to Leishman, Leishman to Lewis, Lewis to Hunt, Hunt to St John, St John to Melia, Melia to A'Court. And Bill Shankly rubbed his hands together— This is it, said Bill Shankly. This is it, boys! Everything we've been doing. Everything we've been working for, boys. It was all for this moment, all for this game. This first game of the season, boys. This season that will be our season. Our season, boys… In the seventh minute of this first game of this new season, Kevin Lewis scored. And in the fifty-fifth minute, Hills scored an own goal. And Liverpool Football Club beat Bristol Rovers two–nil. Away from home, away from Anfield. In the first game of the new season. On Wednesday 23 August, 1961, Sunderland Football Club came to Anfield, Liverpool. That night, forty-eight thousand, nine hundred folk came, too. On a Wednesday night, for the first home game of the season. In the forty-eighth minute of the first home game of the season, Roger Hunt scored. In the seventy-eighth minute, Kevin Lewis scored. And in the eighty-third minute, Hunt scored again. And Liverpool Football Club beat Sunderland Football Club three–nil. At home, at Anfield. In the first home game of the season. The listing of the results, cumulative point totals and team lists also help create a sense of how the season evolved (although little actual drama), and it is fascinating to see how the teams evolved to the ones that became famous, and how he had to rebuild as players aged and opponents tactics evolved. This need to rebuild and replace was something Shankly was, by necessity, relatively ruthless at pursuing, while compassionate in terms of handling the people concerned (Bob Paisley had a reputation for being even more successfully ruthless, but handling players impacted less well). To Ian St John, when he is dropped, Shankly tells him: It comes to us all son. And so you have to be prepared. You have to be ready son. Because you have to decide how to deal with it. Will it be with grace and with dignity. Or will it be with anger and bitterness. And inevitably it comes to Shankly as well, albeit he retired by his own choice. Nothing but the sound of chains rattling, knives sharpening and spades digging. At your back, in your shadow. Rattling, sharpening, digging. And ticking. The clock ticking. Bill knew it was always easier to give up. To throw in the towel. And surrender. To the chains, the knives, to the spades. To take your comfort in past glories, to dine out on past victories. To abandon the present to other men, to leave the future to younger men. The last third of the novel describes Shankly's retirement. The methodical repetition carries over in his retirement to his daily life - or at least's Peace's description of it. The following passage constitutes about 1/15th of a description of him washing his car: And Bill walked back round to the bucket. Bill crouched down back beside the bucket. Bill put the cloth back into the water in the bucket. Bill soaked the cloth in the water again. Bill wrang out the cloth again. Bill stood back up with the cloth in his hand. Bill walked round to the far side of the car. And Bill washed the windows on the far side of the car. Back and forth, back and forth. Bill washed the windows on the far side. And Bill walked back round to the bucket. One that gave him some cause for frustration: the Liverpool Board had to discourage him from returning to the training ground, so as to give the new manager a chance to establish himself, and for a period Shankly found himself more welcome in the Boardroom at Goodison or Old Trafford, than at Anfield. But he was - and still is - adored in the streets and on the terraces. Ultimately a moving portrayal of a true great. The literary technique used is effective, and the book a more enjoyable read than my review might suggest, albeit lyrical prose this isn't. 3.5 stars and certainly worthy of his Goldsmith's nomination.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Patrick

    Red or Dead is a novel. Red or Dead is a novel by David Peace. Red or Dead is a novel by David Peace about the Liverpool manager Bill Shankley. Red or Dead is a novel by David Peace about the Liverpool manager Bill Shankley which eschews adjectives. Red or Dead is a novel by David Peace about the Liverpool manager Bill Shankley which eschews adjectives and uses repetition a lot. If the repetitive style of the above paragraph irritates you, then I'd advise you give this book a wide berth. Over 71 Red or Dead is a novel. Red or Dead is a novel by David Peace. Red or Dead is a novel by David Peace about the Liverpool manager Bill Shankley. Red or Dead is a novel by David Peace about the Liverpool manager Bill Shankley which eschews adjectives. Red or Dead is a novel by David Peace about the Liverpool manager Bill Shankley which eschews adjectives and uses repetition a lot. If the repetitive style of the above paragraph irritates you, then I'd advise you give this book a wide berth. Over 717 pages, it becomes very heavy going indeed and I'm not sure that I would have finished the book, but for the fact that I had a very wet weekend in Northumberland with a lot of time to kill and nothing else to read with me. And by the time I'd come home, I'd got two thirds of the way through the book and, you know, sunk costs and whatnot... Such a style might work fine over the course of a short story, although even there, I am a bit ambivalent, it does have a bit of a 'creative writing exercise' feel to it, but over quarter of a million words...really... I'm not sure whether the repetitive, incantatory voice of the novel is aimed at getting across the repetitive, grinding nature of club football: just one damned game after another; the ritualistic, perhaps even quasi-religious nature of following a football team or the way that Shankley saw the world. And that might be a part of my problem with this book. I picked it up because I had read and enjoyed his account of Brian Clough's time at Leeds Utd in 'The Damned United' but truth be told, if football is a religion, then I am Richard Dawkins. Except less childishly peevish. I hope. And perhaps that was my problem. Maybe this book works a lot better if the endless games that it reports on mean something to you. But as it was, large parts of it read like a very, very long shopping list. And unlike 'The Damned United', I'm not sure that this is a book that really works if, like me, you don't really care about football. That's not to say that the book was entirely without redeeming qualities. While, for much of it, I found it didn't really get under the skin of Shankley, I didn't feel I understood him, the last quarter, which covers the period of his life from his retirement to his death, was a touchingly sad evocation of what it must be like to go from being at the centre of your world to being yesterday's man, on the sidelines, with no clear role. On the face of it, the idea of including a more or less verbatim transcript of a radio interview he gave with then-Prime Minister Harold Wilson sounds like a terrible bit of self-indulgence, but in the context of the book, I thought it actually worked quite well in giving a sense of what the man was really like. In the end though, this book reminded me of one of those atonal, 'experimental' modern pieces of classical music. In that it might be interesting to aficionados in a chin-strokey way, but I can't imagine many people getting much pleasure from listening to, or as the case may be, reading, it.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Nathan "N.R." Gaddis

    It doesn't matter, but here's a Steven Moore review :: "Review of ‘Red or Dead’: Liverpool’s Bill Shankly, the Odysseus of Anfield: The football club’s legendary manager gets the epic treatment" "Peace’s style often transcends modernist aesthetics to evoke ancient epics and medieval ballads, their repetitive formulas and lilting refrains, their stylized actions and heroic gravitas. Each time Liverpool trains for a new season, it is as though they are preparing to besiege the walls of Troy. Shankly It doesn't matter, but here's a Steven Moore review :: "Review of ‘Red or Dead’: Liverpool’s Bill Shankly, the Odysseus of Anfield: The football club’s legendary manager gets the epic treatment" "Peace’s style often transcends modernist aesthetics to evoke ancient epics and medieval ballads, their repetitive formulas and lilting refrains, their stylized actions and heroic gravitas. Each time Liverpool trains for a new season, it is as though they are preparing to besiege the walls of Troy. Shankly is as cunning as Odysseus, as civic-minded as Aeneas, as relentless as Beowulf. He confesses in the final third that “football is my religion,” and the style appropriately resembles liturgical chanting, mystical incantation. For readers who simply want the straight story, there are a couple dozen books about Shankly to choose from (Peace lists them in his concluding “Sources and Acknowledgments”). But “with artistry and craft, with bravery and with strength,” Peace set out to ennoble Shankly’s career into a postmodern epic. Goal!" http://www.washingtonpost.com/enterta...

  6. 4 out of 5

    Violet wells

    Big fan of David Peace but I think, stylistically, he’s now beginning to write himself into a cul-de-sac. It’s been argued that his repetitive incantatory prose style suits the groundhog day nature of football, its dependence on statistics and religious fervour, and perhaps if I had not read any of his other novels I might have admired this more, but for me Peace’s prose in this novel was lacking its usual depth charges poetry. The day Bill Shankly finally accepts retirement is brilliant. We get Big fan of David Peace but I think, stylistically, he’s now beginning to write himself into a cul-de-sac. It’s been argued that his repetitive incantatory prose style suits the groundhog day nature of football, its dependence on statistics and religious fervour, and perhaps if I had not read any of his other novels I might have admired this more, but for me Peace’s prose in this novel was lacking its usual depth charges poetry. The day Bill Shankly finally accepts retirement is brilliant. We get him washing his car in real time. Every mundane obsessive action described in all its bald poverty which poignantly evokes the bleak denouement of retirement but these moments are few and far between. The carbon copy text of the pre-season training rituals means you just end up skipping the copy and pasted passages that come up before every new season. And this was the case for many of the obsessively repeated paragraphs. In his earlier novels his choice of what motifs to repeat was inspired. In this novel it seems lazy and often gratuitous. I reckon he’s now exhausted this style. His next novel will either be a masterpiece or a kind of pastiche of his former self.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Peter

    "Utterly hypnotic", I said a couple days ago on Twitter and I'm sticking to it. Red or Dead is in the first instance a novel but it is so many things after that, so much more. It reminded me of songs and tales, things that used to be history and now are only legend, kept alive by strangers in pubs and shared over a fire. Peace's droning rhythm and repetition begs and even evokes a voice like chocolate, like syrup informing scores and passes and attendance figures as if he were describing an his "Utterly hypnotic", I said a couple days ago on Twitter and I'm sticking to it. Red or Dead is in the first instance a novel but it is so many things after that, so much more. It reminded me of songs and tales, things that used to be history and now are only legend, kept alive by strangers in pubs and shared over a fire. Peace's droning rhythm and repetition begs and even evokes a voice like chocolate, like syrup informing scores and passes and attendance figures as if he were describing an historic battle. However behind the style and the tricks lies a heart which may have been, not lacking, but well-hidden in previous novels. Peace makes you live each win and each loss, yet rather than his strongest sections being the downbeat ones I found tears in my eyes at the most glorious moments, the most heartfelt moments. For someone as apathetic to football as I am and someone who finds a lot of similar heart string plucking clumsy and kitch I am touched and amazed by Peace and his cohort Bill Shankly.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Tom Ewing

    Red Or Dead was my first David Peace book, and of course I had been told, or warned, about the style. Mantric. Incantatory. Epic, in the oldest sense. A version of the Iliad where you have a hundred lists of ships and then Odysseus retires. A 700 page prose poem told in a pared-down vocabulary, phrases repeated like training drills or tactical formations. It was all true. What I wasn’t expecting was that, once I caught the book’s rhythms, Red Or Dead would rattle along so quickly. It’s about Bill Red Or Dead was my first David Peace book, and of course I had been told, or warned, about the style. Mantric. Incantatory. Epic, in the oldest sense. A version of the Iliad where you have a hundred lists of ships and then Odysseus retires. A 700 page prose poem told in a pared-down vocabulary, phrases repeated like training drills or tactical formations. It was all true. What I wasn’t expecting was that, once I caught the book’s rhythms, Red Or Dead would rattle along so quickly. It’s about Bill Shankly, and Liverpool (the club and the city). But it doesn’t have particular insights into them. On the surface, Shankly is a god, the club his heaven, the city paradise on earth. Read more closely and there are cracks in them all, areas where Shankly protests too much, moments when the club and fans’ behaviour is far from perfect… but this isn’t a portrait of a man or a life so much as an attempt to catch a mentality, obsession in a bottle. It’s avowedly a novel about work and retirement, but again it doesn’t always have a great deal to specifically say, beyond being a tribute to a kind of socialist work ethic which, Red Or Dead suggests, began to run out of use and regard with Bill Shankly’s generation. A man works hard, and then finds himself frustrated when he stops. There’s the story. There is drama in the work – amidst a lot of frustration and repetition – but the retirement drains it away, and after the book’s audacious emotional climax, a five-page sequence of Bill washing his car, Red Or Dead is content to run the clock down, its rigidity of style relaxing at times, its momentum devolving into anecdote. There’s a reason for this – even at my age, I recognise that the book is realistic, and often moving, about the gradual loss of letting your involvement in a thing go. But I enjoyed the first half more. As, of course, did Bill. So we’re left with the style, a tractor beam carrying you along. Does Peace overdo it? I don’t know. It worked for me, the way the pacing of each season – the little things he mentions or doesn’t – was slightly different. The way tiny changes in the stock phrasing, or breaks in paragraphing, can seem ominous or significant. It built up to an experience quite unlike any other I’ve had reading a novel, even if it was sometimes an absurd one.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Allan

    David Peace's 'Red or Dead' is a 700+ page fictional account of legendary Liverpool manager Bill Shankly's time at Anfield, and his subsequent life after retirement. Shankly was and indeed still is, seen as an almost mythical figure by many Liverpool and indeed football fans, and being a fan of the team, I was always going to enjoy the content of the novel. First things first-the book is without doubt about 200 pages too long. Peace writes in a repetitive style while describing Shankly's time at David Peace's 'Red or Dead' is a 700+ page fictional account of legendary Liverpool manager Bill Shankly's time at Anfield, and his subsequent life after retirement. Shankly was and indeed still is, seen as an almost mythical figure by many Liverpool and indeed football fans, and being a fan of the team, I was always going to enjoy the content of the novel. First things first-the book is without doubt about 200 pages too long. Peace writes in a repetitive style while describing Shankly's time at Anfield, with regard to training routine, pre match team talks, game reports and indeed post match life at home. Apparently this is indicative of Peace's writing style-I've only read one of his previous novels-but is also used to show how obsessive a character Shankly was in all that he did. Up until about page 500 this was a little grating at times, but there was plenty of anecdotal tales of Shankly's interactions with others to keep me engaged. However it was the last 200 pages, after his decision to retire that really blew me away. Shankly's retirement at 60 came as a massive shock when it happened in 1974 to all in football, and Peace does a superb job in getting inside the man's head post announcement. From his turning up at training 'to help out' the day after his official departure from the club, it's obvious that Shankly never realised the magnitude of his decision when he took it, and when he is told to stay away to let his former assistant make his own mark on the club, Peace does an amazing job in showing the hurt this causes. The repetition continues to a certain extent, while Bill completes menial household tasks, but what emanates from this last quarter of the book is the obvious love Shankly had for not only the team, but also the people of the city. His honesty, integrity and socialism all shine through. At times, his treatment by Liverpool is shoddy, and Shankly's disillusionment with changing aspects of the game are apparent, but ultimately, Peace does nothing but enhance the reader's opinions of one of the greatest managers in football history. This book, particularly the last 200 pages, will stay with me for a long time. I'd definitely recommend the book as a great read!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Chad Malkamaki

    YNWA What does that mean? If you're not a supporter of Liverpool FC, even an enthusiast of Rock and Roll, or maybe you like musicals and have seen Carousel, then you might know what those letters stand for. I'm a Yank that's been rooting for LFC for almost twenty years and I never felt more connected to the team, history, and now more than ever appreciate Mr Shankly, or as those that love him simply, Bill. For many this will be a tough read if you don't know Peace's style, or his insistence on r YNWA What does that mean? If you're not a supporter of Liverpool FC, even an enthusiast of Rock and Roll, or maybe you like musicals and have seen Carousel, then you might know what those letters stand for. I'm a Yank that's been rooting for LFC for almost twenty years and I never felt more connected to the team, history, and now more than ever appreciate Mr Shankly, or as those that love him simply, Bill. For many this will be a tough read if you don't know Peace's style, or his insistence on repetition. It's used in is novel as a way to show Bill's philosophy for the game, make a routine, stick to it as much as you can, and stay loyal to the Reds. Though a novel, this book is well researched and places you on the pitch along the Merseyside and into the times. A great read for any football fan but especially for a Scouser, YNWA and though not in the book remember the 96.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Simon

    Many reviewers have noted the repetition. Some have felt bold enough (ill-advisedly) to try to parody it in their write-ups. It is rather beautiful in itself, in its rhythm. You don't have to remember the majestic way Bill Shankly used words to find poetry in the way David Peace uses them. If, however, you are lucky enough to have been brought up under the spell of Shankly's unique speech patterns then you will know that Mr Peace has achieved something quite remarkable with this book. A coming t Many reviewers have noted the repetition. Some have felt bold enough (ill-advisedly) to try to parody it in their write-ups. It is rather beautiful in itself, in its rhythm. You don't have to remember the majestic way Bill Shankly used words to find poetry in the way David Peace uses them. If, however, you are lucky enough to have been brought up under the spell of Shankly's unique speech patterns then you will know that Mr Peace has achieved something quite remarkable with this book. A coming together of form and content that, I think, is unmatched in English novel writing this century. Certainly unmatched in English sportswriting. I feel like turning back to page one and starting all over again.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Martyn

    There is no way I can write a useful review of this book, there is simply too much to say and I am far to emotionally invested, for many reasons, to be objective. Here a few thoughts right after finishing it. It's probably up there with the best novels I have ever read. Reading it is an astonishing and personal experience and I can understand completely why some feel that it's not for them and that it's too stylistic. Personally I think that every word is there for a reason and that the repetitio There is no way I can write a useful review of this book, there is simply too much to say and I am far to emotionally invested, for many reasons, to be objective. Here a few thoughts right after finishing it. It's probably up there with the best novels I have ever read. Reading it is an astonishing and personal experience and I can understand completely why some feel that it's not for them and that it's too stylistic. Personally I think that every word is there for a reason and that the repetition is making sense of the life of a man who put thousands of hours of hard work into his achievements. The repetitions are there to remind us that to keep going in the face of adversity is difficult, that to achieve anything takes time and patience but most of all that the way Shankly approached his work was the way he approached life. I loved it and thought it Perecesque in both its originality and structure at times. There is also a poetic quality to Peace's writing that mirrors Shankly's own way of talking; it ends up making the book read like a distant legend. It does help if you have some knowledge of or interest in football but really this book is about much more than that; at its heart it's about a normal and decent man who worked extremely hard and wanted to care for those around him. That he was a socialist was no surprise to me, he cared deeply about everyone, to the exclusion of himself at times, but the fact that he actually lived out his personal philosophy in a genuine and honest way and with an obvious effect on those who's lives he touched makes him a hero of mine. David Peace captures all of that and the more complex sides of Shankly's emotional life in this amazing book. When people tell you, as they inevitably do these days, that football hasn't changed much over the years you can point at the example of people like Bill Shankly, Bob Paisley, Brian Clough and Matt Busby and disagree; there were, at one time, honourable men in this sport, I'm just glad that I am old enough to have seen some of their impact directly and to have had a dad who was able to light a fire in me about their stories. It made reading this, as Bill Shankly and Harold Wilson compare football to in the book, akin to a religious experience.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Mahlon

    Admittedly, David P‘s writing style is an acquired taste ,but once you get used to it there are some passages that can seem like high poetry,eventually though, the repetitiveness will wear down even his biggest fans… Always four stars for Bill Shankly and the rest of the boot room boys though.

  14. 4 out of 5

    David Williams

    Well, we can't say he didn't warn us. 'Repetition. Repetition. Repetition.' Those are the first three words of David's Peace's novel on Bill Shankly's years as manager of Liverpool FC (or 'Liverpool Football Club' as Peace reiterates throughout) and repetition is what we are given on every one of the 700-odd pages that follow. Relentless. Relentless. Relentless. It's a style that has divided critics, and has divided this critic. Even while I'm writing this review I'm still trying to work out wha Well, we can't say he didn't warn us. 'Repetition. Repetition. Repetition.' Those are the first three words of David's Peace's novel on Bill Shankly's years as manager of Liverpool FC (or 'Liverpool Football Club' as Peace reiterates throughout) and repetition is what we are given on every one of the 700-odd pages that follow. Relentless. Relentless. Relentless. It's a style that has divided critics, and has divided this critic. Even while I'm writing this review I'm still trying to work out what I feel about the experience, and what I should say about it. I could say the novel is powerful and brilliant. It drills into us, injects into our mainstream the Shankly obsession with the team and the unbearable tension that inevitably accompanies it. The unadorned accounts of match after match, entirely stripped of verbiage and sporting cliché, are insistent drumbeats on the brain. The repeated step-by-step descriptions of Shankly's domestic chores - laying the kitchen table, washing the car - are written and read at the nerve ends. Ness, the placidly inscrutable wife in the background, and the daughters - never present, always somewhere else - underscore Bill's constant isolation. Other characters - the board of directors, fellow managers, players, specific fans - exist chiefly to show what Bill is not (guileful, worldly) or to emphasise his difference even where he is at his most influential - somehow standing outside even when he seems at his happiest and most absorbed in the first half of the book when he is working; an ambiguous state, a strangely parallel existence which is both a stark contrast and a prefiguration of his more obvious isolation in the second half, standing alone in corridors outside dressing rooms after his ill-judged retirement. The diction throughout is near-biblical, lifting and sanctifying, with a distant roll of morality like coming thunder. I could say the reading experience in detail is tedious and wearing. I could say that the second half of the book - which uses entire transcripts of long radio and television interviews including a broadcast conversation between Bill Shankly and then-Prime Minister Harold Wilson - represents lazy editing, merely the author importing his research material wholesale into the novel. I want to argue myself out of those propositions, insist that the gestalt is the potent brew and no ingredient can be changed or modified. But I have no way of knowing whether that is true: the book is what it is. Would I recommend it? Absolutely yes. But don't say I didn't warn you.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ian

    As a lifelong LFC fan, a Scouser and of an age where my teenage heroes were Shanks, Crazy Horse and (post Kenny the too often overlooked) Kevin Keegan, most of the stories, the urban myths. the teamsheets and many of the games that David Peace brought together here, were very familiar from my teenage standpoint in the Annie Road End and then from the middle of the Kop. Should have loved it, but I had to read this in two go's over 4 years, it was that dull. It was just way, way too repetitive. It As a lifelong LFC fan, a Scouser and of an age where my teenage heroes were Shanks, Crazy Horse and (post Kenny the too often overlooked) Kevin Keegan, most of the stories, the urban myths. the teamsheets and many of the games that David Peace brought together here, were very familiar from my teenage standpoint in the Annie Road End and then from the middle of the Kop. Should have loved it, but I had to read this in two go's over 4 years, it was that dull. It was just way, way too repetitive. It felt like I was being hammered on the head as David Peace ran through each season like a very slow away day special bereft of liquid refreshment, scarves and song. It failed utterly to capture my love and affection for Shanks. I finished it, because in a way I had to - see 2 stars - and it was part of setting me up for the CL Final last week. Went to Paris in '81 and then Rome part 2 '84 and the tales from Kiev have sounded great. Footy is not just about the result. Wonder if Shanks like me was thinking of singing Careless Hands at halftime. That Leeds game in 67?? was my first ever. Poor old Gary Sprake, poor young Lorus Karius. History repeating but still YNWA.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Marcus Wilson

    This book, David Peace points out, is a work of fiction. It is a novel about Bill Shankly and not a biographical study of the man and his work. In 1959,Liverpool FC were in Englands second division. Fifteen seasons later they were the most consistently successful team in England due to the work of their manager, Bill Shankly. His job was his life, an ardent socialist who had no time for socialist politicians, he was ahead of his time,pretty much inventing the modern game in a time when the Premie This book, David Peace points out, is a work of fiction. It is a novel about Bill Shankly and not a biographical study of the man and his work. In 1959,Liverpool FC were in Englands second division. Fifteen seasons later they were the most consistently successful team in England due to the work of their manager, Bill Shankly. His job was his life, an ardent socialist who had no time for socialist politicians, he was ahead of his time,pretty much inventing the modern game in a time when the Premier League did not exist. Everything was for the club, and the supporters and people of Liverpool. Shankly shocked Liverpool and the footballing world in 1974,when, on the verge of even greater success both domestically and in Europe, he retired. The novel charts all of his ups and downs in painstaking detail, and paints a vivid picture of one man and his work, both home and away.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sophie La Frite

    It took me a while to get through this book. I started reading it and was amazed by the easy reading writing ! I read it in several times but always loved the moments I spent with Bill ! It’s a great book for football lovers that gave me some tips for my own life and football approach. It could have been shorter but clearly loved it.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Travis Timmons

    Absolutely fabulous. Ambitious, true, and experimental. Dilated to the pace and perception of life itself.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Rob Twinem

    Amazing...long and deeply satisfying read about the great Bill Shankly who took Liverpool from a mere second division has been to the heights of the then first division, winning both at home and in Europe and then retiring at the pinacle of his fame..handling this great club over to his second in command Bob Paisley...who built upon the Shankly legacy and went on to even greater achievements. This book will appeal to those of an age who remember the golden era of football, a time when the "game" Amazing...long and deeply satisfying read about the great Bill Shankly who took Liverpool from a mere second division has been to the heights of the then first division, winning both at home and in Europe and then retiring at the pinacle of his fame..handling this great club over to his second in command Bob Paisley...who built upon the Shankly legacy and went on to even greater achievements. This book will appeal to those of an age who remember the golden era of football, a time when the "game" stayed close to its working class routes far removed from the capitalist institution it has become today. What makes this a great book is the rather repetitive style of David Peace (which you will either love or hate) and the way you don't only read the book but you live those years with good old Bill!..what marvelous memories......"and fifty thousand people clapping. Two hundred and fifty thousand people shouting. Two hundred and fifty thousand people singing. All singing..LI-VER-POOL, LI-VER-POOL, LI-VER-POOL, LI-VER-POOL, LI-VER-POOL, LI-VER-POOL, LI-VER-POOL Bill fought back the tears, Bill struggled to breathe. Ness gripped his arm, Ness squeezed his hand- I never knew until now, whispered Ness, until today, how much football meant to the people of Liverpool. But you knew, love. You always knew what it meant to the people of Liverpool... LI-VER-POOL, LI-VER-POOL. There are so many great memories here of football as it was and the great players of the 70's...who does not remember Gary Sprake (the monumental Don Revie Leeds team!)...and his unfortunate tendency to drop the ball!! "On the right of his own goal, Sprake shaped to throw the ball to Cooper. Then Sprake seemed to have his doubts. Now Sprake seemed to change his mind. Sprake brought the orange ball back towards his chest. Sprake lost his grip on the ball. In the snow, the heavy snow. On the hard and treacherous ground. The orange ball curled up out of his arms. The ball swept up into the air. And in the snow, the heavy snow. On the hard and treacherous ground. The orange ball dropped into his goal. And in the snow the heavy snow. On the hard and treacherous ground. There was silence. Then cheers. And then laughter. In the snow, the heavy snow. On the hard and treacherous ground" I loved the style of writing, I really understood what Bill was all about, and what football meant to him and how it shaped his life and by reading this book I was able to live those years with Bill.. This book has had a number of reviews in the tabloids but to me the journalist who really understood the complexities of Mr Shankly is Ben Felsenberg and his article in the Metro on August 1st 2013, in conclusion he states " Yet the comulative effect of all the repetition which sees the name Bill peppered throughout most pages, is entirely compelling. The writing is honed, sculpted, poetic. Peace gives us Shankly the man and the manager, and his philosophy and socialist belief in the collective loom large. But this is also a story of a working man and how the daily, single-minded application of labour can lead to great achievement. Peace has built what is a worthy monument to a figure light years removed from the megabucks and hype of today's football. It doesn't matter if you don't follow the game, this is also a profound investigation of the tension between aspiration and the constraints of time the very essence of the human condition" I hope Ben Felsenbery does not mind me quoting from his excellent review...and I only reiterate his words this is a poetic masterpiece about on of the truly greats of British football and I implore you to read...

  20. 4 out of 5

    Nick

    This is a book of two halves. Bill Shankly the manager. And Bill Shankly the man. Bill Shankly was the man manager who took Liverpool FC from a 2nd division team with no prospects to league champions and FA Cup winners. More than that, as we learn in Peace's highly sympathetic novelisation, Bill Shankley changed the culture of Liverpool FC, and possibly English football, into a team-centered, professional system. This is a very different book for Peace. Peace is now famous for many things. Peace This is a book of two halves. Bill Shankly the manager. And Bill Shankly the man. Bill Shankly was the man manager who took Liverpool FC from a 2nd division team with no prospects to league champions and FA Cup winners. More than that, as we learn in Peace's highly sympathetic novelisation, Bill Shankley changed the culture of Liverpool FC, and possibly English football, into a team-centered, professional system. This is a very different book for Peace. Peace is now famous for many things. Peace is famous for repetition. In 'Red or Dead' there's repetition. Yes there's repetition. Lot's of repetition. Repetition everywhere. Repetition on the small scale. From sentence to sentence. Repetition on the large scale. From paragraph to paragraph. Repetition on the grand scale. As each match is played and the time, date, players, scores, attendance and other stats are displayed as fastidiously as a collection of match-day programmes. Peace is famous for getting inside people's heads. In Damned United, Peace got inside ol' big 'ed's big 'ed (see my review here). In Red or Dead, Peace doesn't go inside anybody's head. In simple, repetitive language, Peace takes us through the simple, repetitive routines that made Bill Shankly a great manager. And a decent man. Bill took the bus with the team to training. Bill trained with the team. Bill showered with the team. Then the team went home. Bill then completed all his tasks as the team manager, answering all his mail personally. Bill then went home. Bill met his wife. Bill set the table. In minute detail, we learn how Bill set the table. Frequently. Bill set the table on match days when the team won. Bill set the table on match days when the team drew. Bill set the table on match days when the team lost. Bill cleaned the oven when the team lost. This book is about Bill. Bill the humble man. Bill the family man. Bill the team player. Bill the manager. Bill loves Liverpool and Liverpool loves Bill. Bill loves Liverpool FC and Liverpool FC loves Bill. Then Bill retires. Bill retires and nothing is the same again. Nothing is the same again. Nothing. In the second half of the book, Bill is at a loss. Bill the humble man. Bill the family man. Bill the family man does not know what to do without the team. The team he built. Bill is at a loss. Soon, the world loses Bill.

  21. 4 out of 5

    MisterHobgoblin

    Red Or Dead is a long, complex and powerful novel. In his previous works, David Peace has addressed themes of the British class system, office management, corruption and politics. His novels have tended to focus on Yorkshire, albeit with two set in post-war Japan. In Red Or Dead, David Peace departs from his usual hunting ground to narrate the career of a Scotsman managing Liverpool Football Club. Peace has a distinctive style. He focuses on repetition and lists. Indeed, the first three words of R Red Or Dead is a long, complex and powerful novel. In his previous works, David Peace has addressed themes of the British class system, office management, corruption and politics. His novels have tended to focus on Yorkshire, albeit with two set in post-war Japan. In Red Or Dead, David Peace departs from his usual hunting ground to narrate the career of a Scotsman managing Liverpool Football Club. Peace has a distinctive style. He focuses on repetition and lists. Indeed, the first three words of Red Or Dead are: "repetition, repetition, repetition". This is used to build narrative up into a kind of chant, a kind of mantra. In this novel, following 15 seasons of football matches (that's 630 matches in the league, plus cup games, every single one mentioned), the repetition illustrates the sheer monotony of football. Match after match after match, season after season after season. Every game the same as the one before, every season the same as the one before. Yet, still the game fascinates Bill Shankly, still it fascinates the fans. And despite knowing the outcomes in advance, it fascinates the reader. This hypnotic repetition of venues, attendances, team line ups, goal scorers, position in the league table. It draws the reader in whilst, at the same time, conveying the grinding chore of it all. And sometimes there will be a happy ending at the end of the season. But, as often as not, there is disappointment and the need to start all over again next year. David Peace does not use "he" and "she". Characters are named, every time. Whether at Anfield Stadium or at his home on West Derby Road, we find Bill doing this and Bill doing that, obsessively, over and over again. The language is simple to the point of being monosyllabic. And with the repetition and obsessive setting out of detail, it feels almost Biblical. There is a sense that something momentous is happening. That those who see Liverpool Football Club are the chosen people, and those who meet the Messianic Bill are somehow blessed. It is obviously heavily stylized. There is no pretence that this is an accurate reflection of Bill Shankly, his speech or his mannerisms. Parts of it may be right, parts may be imagined - but ultimately it doesn't matter. It's the story that counts. So to the story. Anyone of David Peace's vintage is likely to know the Liverpool FC of the 1980s - a team that believed it had a right to win everything and was seldom disappointed. They were hard to love - unless you were one of the young people wearing Liverpool shirts to school despite never having set foot on Merseyside. Their manager, Bob Paisley, was the most successful football manager in history, yet people spoke of this mythical figure of Bill Shankly, without whom none of this would have been possible. David Peace uncovers the myth, starting with an ambitious man taking over a mediocre second division team in 1960, the watching him build and rebuild a successful team. We see a man who is independent in mind, decisive, but has emotional intelligence. Unlike Brian Clough in The Damned United, he has respect for, and is respected by his Board, his staff, his counterparts in other clubs, and the public. As a manager, he came across as level headed, grounded by an almost silent but devoted wife and his invisible daughters. He was not driven by money and shunned the symbols of status. The reader is drawn into this culture. Even those who would support 91 clubs ahead of Liverpool (yes, including Gillingham) will find ourselves rooting for Liverpool, hoping they will lift a trophy, hoping that the history books might be wrong and that the likes of Everton, Leeds and Manchester City might be denied. Peace's achievement in doing this is breathtaking. As well as feeling for the club, the reader feels for the man. The endless trudging up and down the land. Travelling out, alone, across the country on a wet and windy night to watch a player. And then doing it again. And then calling that player for a meeting in Liverpool. The distances are considerable, and football managers and their players were simply expected to be where they were needed. There is a mention at one point of sending back a bus with no heating, but that's pretty much the only sop to creature comforts in this long novel. Mostly it is spartan. Then, the second half of the novel (half the chapters, rather fewer than half the pages) sees Bill in his sudden, perhaps premature retirement. This is a point at which the reader's sympathy runs out. Despite seeing his counterparts hang around their former clubs, despite his determination not to do the same, Shankly just can't take the hint. It is painful to watch him trying to hang on, hang around, still believing he has a role even years later. In one scene, he writes a boy a note to exchange at the stadium for a behind the scenes tour. One can only wonder what the club would have made of that. Shankly betrays envy of his successor; he betrays hurt pride at being kept apart from the players. He claims perfect memory of the past, yet starts to become confused by his own stories. In two excruciating scenes, he conducts broadcast conversations with Sir Harold Wilson, whom we now know to have been diagnosed with dementia. The reader is left wondering whether Shankly is similarly afflicted. The time of Shankly's story - his time as a manager and his time in retirement - saw significant change in social attitudes. Shankly is portrayed as a fair man who expects his supported to applaud their victorious opponents. He eschews contracts, being a man of his word and his handshake. He expects players to earn their money and receive the same pay, regardless of status. But as time progresses, more of the players are motivated by money; the fans start rioting; the tackling becomes harder. Shankly appears to stand there, not noticing the change. And when he does see it, he simply wrings his hands helplessly. Not, of course, that Shankly was quite as pure as he made out - advising his team to get their retaliation in first and producing false evidence at an FA disciplinary hearing in an effort to exonerate his player. But perhaps that was more honest cheating. There are also wider social issues at play. Shankly was of the age when loyalty to an employer was more common, and there was an expectation in return that the employer would be loyal to the employee. That culture still, perhaps, clings on in Japan, where David Peace now lives. In part, Red Or Dead explores this theme. But at the same time, this was a loyalty denied to his players. As Ian St John found out after being dropped into the reserves, he was not allowed to touch the big, juicy turkeys at the Christmas party - they were for the first team. Shankly told him: "it comes to all of us". Yet, the only one who never quite got it, it seemed, was Shankly himself. Football is an interesting backdrop for social and organisational change. It is a world where one individual can change a lot; a flat structure with only one boss. The results of change can become visible quite quickly and the feedback is immediate. Red Or Dead is a football book. It would be difficult to appreciate it if you didn't like football. But it is so much more. It is a novel, based on fact but nevertheless fiction, exploring the soul of a man and the soul of his football club. It leaves an impression.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Peter Knox

    I had never read anything like this. As someone who loves soccer, fact based fiction, and big books - I felt ready for this. I was not. At many times I was bored by the intentional rote repetition and mundane routine. Add in the sheer length and it could exasperate the biggest Liverpool fan. However, not knowing the club's history, I held on to each result. The soccer writing is brilliant. It's amazing how objective and unemotional the play by play could be and yet have me hoping and cheering wh I had never read anything like this. As someone who loves soccer, fact based fiction, and big books - I felt ready for this. I was not. At many times I was bored by the intentional rote repetition and mundane routine. Add in the sheer length and it could exasperate the biggest Liverpool fan. However, not knowing the club's history, I held on to each result. The soccer writing is brilliant. It's amazing how objective and unemotional the play by play could be and yet have me hoping and cheering when they won and hurt and let down into disappointment when they lost. It truly captured the randomness of the sport when you lose close or win and still be down a point. It was enjoyable to follow the coach POV into how he managed and motivated his team. The speeches, the practice, the budget & negotiations & trades & transfers. How his family life suffered and his health. How he answered fan letters and accepted invitations. And how I'd feel awkward and embarrassed in his behalf when he'd misread a room or try to steal the center of attention. All in all the hundreds of pages take you through an entire career and retirement, as you age along with the characters. This was quite an experience, and not for most people, but I'm glad to have stuck it out. You'll Never Walk Alone as a Liverpool supporter.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jonny Liebenberg

    A fascinating insight into Bill Shankly - Liverpool Football Club's greatest manager who tok the team from the depths of the second division to several First Division championships; FA Cup and European success. The book adopts a repetitive style of writing - which is often irritating and painful to get through. However, the reasoning behind this is deliberate - in so much as to highlight Shankly's obsessive nature and attention to detail. He was a man who did nothing in small measures and dedicate A fascinating insight into Bill Shankly - Liverpool Football Club's greatest manager who tok the team from the depths of the second division to several First Division championships; FA Cup and European success. The book adopts a repetitive style of writing - which is often irritating and painful to get through. However, the reasoning behind this is deliberate - in so much as to highlight Shankly's obsessive nature and attention to detail. He was a man who did nothing in small measures and dedicated his life to Liverpool Football Club, its players and supporters. He was the ultimate clubman - loyal to a fault and someone who sacrificed everything for the club he loved. When he suddenly retired, his whole life changed and he didn't know how to live without the club. It is also a sad story of a man who didn't want the pressure of managing Liverpool anymore but found it hard to stay away from the club when he retired. The book also highlights the high level of respect Shankly had for other managers and they had for him. Even when he retired, Everton's fans cheered him at a game he attended. He was the ultimate football man. This book should be read by every serious Liverpool fan! #YNWA

  24. 4 out of 5

    Tim Trewartha

    I SO wanted to enjoy this book. I have liked all of Peace's previous work, but this, my god. This should have been great. Like a meatier, door stopping, hyper Damned United. But this book is excruciating. It's repetitive. It's like freaking groundhog day. It's so boring. It's fans will call it ART, or, like Frank Cottrel Boyce, call it a masterpiece. It's neither. It's a wank. It's a waste of time. It's so very, very, very disappointing. Other reviewers have taken the piss by mimicking it's styl I SO wanted to enjoy this book. I have liked all of Peace's previous work, but this, my god. This should have been great. Like a meatier, door stopping, hyper Damned United. But this book is excruciating. It's repetitive. It's like freaking groundhog day. It's so boring. It's fans will call it ART, or, like Frank Cottrel Boyce, call it a masterpiece. It's neither. It's a wank. It's a waste of time. It's so very, very, very disappointing. Other reviewers have taken the piss by mimicking it's style in their reviews. I'm not going to do that. I'm going to take it back to the shop I bought it from, and get a refund. This is the worst book I have read this year. If you enjoy reading novels that appear to be suffering from linguistic dementia, this is the book for you. For the rest, avoid like the plague.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Laila

    I had to quit this book. I had to quit this book because I did not like the writing style. I had to quit this book because I did not like the writing style that was forced and over-stylized. Seriously, how did anyone get through 720 pages of this song-songy garbage?

  26. 4 out of 5

    Paul McFadyen

    Red or Dead. A book about Bill Shankly. Bill Shankly of Liverpool FC. Liverpool FC of Anfield. At home. At Anfield. Paul read the book. The book about Bill. At home. At home in Ashton-in-Makerfield. In his front room in Ashton-in-Makerfield. Paul sat down. In his front room. In his front room in Ashton-in-Makerfield. Paul got up & walked into the kitchen. Paul turned on the kettle. Paul took one cup from the cupboard. Paul took the milk from the fridge. Paul poured the milk into the cup. Paul re Red or Dead. A book about Bill Shankly. Bill Shankly of Liverpool FC. Liverpool FC of Anfield. At home. At Anfield. Paul read the book. The book about Bill. At home. At home in Ashton-in-Makerfield. In his front room in Ashton-in-Makerfield. Paul sat down. In his front room. In his front room in Ashton-in-Makerfield. Paul got up & walked into the kitchen. Paul turned on the kettle. Paul took one cup from the cupboard. Paul took the milk from the fridge. Paul poured the milk into the cup. Paul returned the milk to the fridge. Paul took the teabags from the cupboard. Paul put a teabag into the cup. Paul returned the teabags to the cupboard. The kettle boiled. Paul poured water into the cup. Paul squeezed the teabag into the cup. Paul removed the teabag. Paul took his tea into the front room. Paul sat down. In his front room in Ashton-in-Makerfield. Sat down with his tea. Sat down with his tea and his book. His book about Bill. His book about Bill Shankly. Paul read his book. Paul heard Karon cough upstairs. Paul read his book. Paul closed his eyes. In the night. In the silence. But in his mind he saw Bill on the bench. On the bench at home. At home at Anfield. And Paul smiled.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Ben Reid

    Ben got the book for Christmas. Ben opened the book. Ben started the read the book. Ben have the book a chapter or two. Ben couldn’t get into the book. Ben put the book away for a while. Ben went back to the book. Ben wanted to give the book another go. Ben started the book again. Ben understood the book. Ben though the book was poetic. Ben started to love the book. Ben read and read the book. Ben finished the book. Ben loved it. Honestly guys and gals, give this book time, it is so worth it. I Ben got the book for Christmas. Ben opened the book. Ben started the read the book. Ben have the book a chapter or two. Ben couldn’t get into the book. Ben put the book away for a while. Ben went back to the book. Ben wanted to give the book another go. Ben started the book again. Ben understood the book. Ben though the book was poetic. Ben started to love the book. Ben read and read the book. Ben finished the book. Ben loved it. Honestly guys and gals, give this book time, it is so worth it. I wasn’t sure at first and hated the writing style. But I really wanted to read through this period. As I continued the book and struggled through the opening few chapters, I began to understand how poetic it all really was. I feel the author is very clever, I really do. I learned to absolutely love the style. The book itself and the story told us phenomenal. This is the first book I’ve ever read on Shankley and I feel I don’t need to read another, even his own autobiography. This was a beautiful telling of the great mans journey through not only Liverpool, but life. If you’re not sure, don’t not let the majority of reviews put you off, stick with it and you’ll love it.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Allan Heron

    An utterly magnificent piece of faction about Bill Shankly, unquestionably one of the greatest of all football managers. Having said that, you do need to be able to get into Peace's writing style. Written in what I liked to envisage as Shankly's way of speaking - short, to the point and stacatto - many scenes are recreated throughout the novel with only minor variation. However, the variations are critical. It all helps to reinforce Shankly's focus and obsessions. I note from other reviews that s An utterly magnificent piece of faction about Bill Shankly, unquestionably one of the greatest of all football managers. Having said that, you do need to be able to get into Peace's writing style. Written in what I liked to envisage as Shankly's way of speaking - short, to the point and stacatto - many scenes are recreated throughout the novel with only minor variation. However, the variations are critical. It all helps to reinforce Shankly's focus and obsessions. I note from other reviews that some people struggled with this, but I got engrossed in the book very quickly. Peace's research for this has been extensive (as the acknowledgements suggest) and whilst some of the detail is entirely fictional, it's easy to recognise this as an accurate picture of the great man. Essential reading for any fan of football literature.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Rajdeep

    A really good compilation of the many famous Shankly stories. The repetitive nature of the book stems from the fact that Bill was a relentless person in real life. He often used to repeat words and phrases while talking as a way to reiterate his point. The writing style, grammar, phrases used are so on point. You subconsciously start reading his dialogues in his accent. The vision and ambition he had has been portrayed very well throughout the book. The part after the retirement is actually reall A really good compilation of the many famous Shankly stories. The repetitive nature of the book stems from the fact that Bill was a relentless person in real life. He often used to repeat words and phrases while talking as a way to reiterate his point. The writing style, grammar, phrases used are so on point. You subconsciously start reading his dialogues in his accent. The vision and ambition he had has been portrayed very well throughout the book. The part after the retirement is actually really sad, he sort of knew he had made the wrong decision but kept convincing himself time and again that it was the right time to go. How fitting is the caption below his statue at Anfield, 'He made the people happy'

  30. 4 out of 5

    Terje Fokstuen

    The style is repetitive, but so was the nature of Bill Shankley's success. You build the fundamentals, stay with them, and you can win, and win again. The style of the book matches its themes remarkably well. Bill Shankly comes across as a sort of secular football saint. Devoted to his family, his team, and the sport. The novel traces Shankley's life as coach of Liverpool FC and it does so in a plain, and highly repetitive manner, yet it is a fascinating read. It stands out in my mind as one of The style is repetitive, but so was the nature of Bill Shankley's success. You build the fundamentals, stay with them, and you can win, and win again. The style of the book matches its themes remarkably well. Bill Shankly comes across as a sort of secular football saint. Devoted to his family, his team, and the sport. The novel traces Shankley's life as coach of Liverpool FC and it does so in a plain, and highly repetitive manner, yet it is a fascinating read. It stands out in my mind as one of the best novels about sports and achievement in sports that I have read.

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