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Red or Dead: A Novel Hardcover – May 27, 2014


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Red or Dead: A Novel + The Damned Utd: A Novel
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 736 pages
  • Publisher: Melville House (May 27, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1612193684
  • ISBN-13: 978-1612193687
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.2 x 1.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #133,039 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* A 700-page, experimental novel about the coach of an English soccer team? A limited audience pretty much guarantees this won’t be a best-seller, which is a bloody shame—it’s a magnificent literary achievement. Peace, the respected British novelist who also wrote The Damned Utd (2006), about the short, controversial tenure of Brian Clough at Leeds United (adapted into a fine film starring Michael Sheen), here tackles Bill Shankly, the legendary man who, from 1959 to1974, transformed Liverpool Football Club from an also-ran into a modern-day powerhouse. Peace’s prose is at first daunting: weaving a dense tapestry of short, declarative sentences, he builds each scene with painstaking, poetic repetition. Whole scenes are repeated with minor variation—and, needless to say, he leaves out quotation marks. (Commas are also in short supply.) But, training session by training session, and game by game (seemingly every game he managed for Liverpool), the pummeling repetition achieves a profoundly powerful effect, like an incantation, bringing to life Shankly’s relentless drive, his committed socialism, his near saintly concern for the fans—and rendering his rudderless retirement all the more poignant. Peace is clearly an admirer, and no matter which team you support, it will be hard to remain unmoved. --Keir Graff

Review

A New York Times Book Review Editor's Choice

Red or Dead is hypnotic, the words casting a spell that verges on the shamanistic….[it] creates the most remarkable, operatic sweeps of emotion in the reader... This is the stuff of great literature.”
--New York Times Book Review

“Truly brave and utterly heroic . . . I don’t think I’ve ever read anything quite like Red or Dead before. Not ever.”
—The Goldsmiths Prize shortlist citation

“I want to go out and knock on doors like a Jehovah’s Witness and read this book to people.”
The Observer

“A magnificent literary achievement . . . Profoundly powerful.”
—Booklist

“An epic that has more in common with Beowulf or The Iliad than with the conventional sports novel.”
—The Times of London

“The writing is honed, sculpted, poetic . . . 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.”
—Metro

“A book about the choices by which we live and die, the moments that make us feel alive, and those that choke our souls. It is a masterpiece. Make no mistake of that. A masterpiece.”
—The Quietus

“An extraordinary piece of writing.”
—The Independent

“A story of triumph . . . one that might be quoted for decades.”
—Kirkus

More About the Author

David Peace is the author of the Red Riding Quartet, GB84, The Damned Utd, Tokyo Year Zero, and Occupied City. He was chosen as one of Granta's Best Young British Novelists of 2003, and has received the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, the German Crime Fiction Award, and France's Grand Prix du Roman Noir for Best Foreign Novel. In 2007, he was named as GQ (UK) Writer of the Year. He lived in Tokyo for fifteen years before returning to his native Yorkshire.

Customer Reviews

The recipient has thoroughly enjoyed the book.
Rebecca L. Berkich
You'd think the writer was a schoolboy being required to write a 1,000 word essay and having essentially nothing to say.
David Emanuel
This book is a 700 page run on sentence, and that sentence could have been told in 200 pages.
Daniel Monks

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By RT Twinem on August 20, 2013
Format: Hardcover
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.
Read more ›
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on October 24, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Superb book by a brilliant author. Well worth the investment in time required to read it. Very different to the damned united but no less compelling. The author has a wonderful way of evoking the cultural minutiae of Britain in the 60s and 70s through his retelling of the life of this colossal figure. Highly recommended
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By terrydent on September 25, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The topic of the book was/is of great interest to myself, Bill Shankly was without doubt one of the greatest managers in football history, and after reading David Peace's book the Damned Utd I was looking forward to this story of a great manager. But the repetitive style in which the book is written makes it very hard to read. The details are all there how he went about dealing with chairmen and players and winning games but you have to read through, I feel, a lot unneeded monotony to get to the story. I'm sure he had a reason for writing in this style, maybe in trying to convey the type of person Shankly was or how he spoke. I would say be careful that you can tolerate this style before purchasing this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By R. J. Marsella on November 11, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Others below have commented on David Peace's choice to write this fictionalized story of Bill Shankley in a very unusual and repetitive style. I think it must have been a brave choice to continue on with this style for over 600 pages. For me there are passages where it really worked and I can appreciate Mr. Peace's artistic license. At other times I found myself skimming ahead to try to keep the thread of the story without reading the book word for word. I love Liverpool FC and just returned from Anfield. I was so looking forward to reading this ,having enjoyed the Damned United very much. I think most will struggle to finish this. In the end Style over substance may not have been the best road for the author to travel with what could have been a very compelling novel.
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Format: Hardcover
I think my aunt, who is a diehard Liverpool supporter, would have a fit if she tried to read this book. At its essence this book is a compendium reciting the scores and teams for most of Liverpool's games during Bill Shankly's tenure as manager. And that essence is pretty skimpy material for a 600 page "novel". So how does it get padded out? By endless repetition of mundane details. "Bill went into the bathrom. Bill loosened his belt. Bill took down his trousers. Bill took down his underpants. Bill sat down on the karsey - etc etc etc". Actually that is not a quote from the book, although we do get treated to him visiting the urinals a couple of times. There is a 6 page sequence describing Bill tidying up the garden. Now I could see using this repetition device for 6 pages of a 600 page book but for the whole 600 pages? You'd think the writer was a schoolboy being required to write a 1,000 word essay and having essentially nothing to say. The critics who raved about this book should be taken away and shot.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By E J Heafield on October 7, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
a shocking book it could have been written in 200 pages instead of 700 . he repeats himself over, and over, and over, again on every page
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By Daniel on June 24, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Let me be clear, this book is for fans and fans only. It is written in very specific style, which requires unique love to LFC to appreciate it. And this is exactly why, it is a must read for any LFC fan. Don't be scared by the size of it, looks fatter than Les Miserables.....but it goes down very easily.
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By Patricktabonemt on January 30, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
I bought it as a Liverpool fan, but it turned out to be an enthralling read quite apart from the football, with some excellent insights on management, common decency and mortality.

Many people will hate this book because of its at times maddeningly repetitive style. But the repetition - while sometimes taken to extremes - is not gratuitous. There are clear and substantial rewards for those that manage to stick with it.
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