The pocket GIANTS series from The History Press is dedicated to “people who changed the world and why they matter,” featuring the likes of Napoleon, Abraham Lincoln, Anne Frank, and Nelson Mandela. The fact that George Best was selected is no surprise; he had the potential to be the greatest footballer to ever live.
George Best: pocket GIANTS by Jim White is a well-written, quality text, yet it is very sad and reads much like a Shakespearean tragedy. Unfortunately it is real life and one of the world’s greatest sporting talents wasted away much of his life with excess in every possible part of life: fame, drink, women, you name it. It is a story of highs and lows, ups and downs, much like a roller coaster.
There are many books written about Best and the golden age of football, but this one is easily one of the best. And at just a little over 125 pages, it is very accessible, an enjoyable weekend read. White was the clearly the right man for the job, being one of England’s top journalists and an obvious expert on Best.
The rise and fall of this Belfast native is covered in tremendous detail, but with great respect. White shows an admiration for Best and shares all the facts, letting the reader make their own judgments about the enigmatic goalscorer.
The book arrives at a peak of interest with regards to Best here in North America, thanks to an incredible 30 for 30 film from ESPN this summer. It brought his story to the mainstream, leaving many to want to learn more more about the life and times of a man taken from us much too soon. This book will fill that void, allowing people to meet the real George Best and hopefully learn a lesson or two from his experiences.