Red or Dead (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

A towering novel about a towering figure, the legendary Liverpool soccer coach Bill Shankly. The rhythm and relentlessness of the prose captures as closely as I’ve ever read the feel and intensity of soccer, making this one of the greatest works sports fiction I’ve ever read. A city. A soccer team. A coach. A hero. A major achievement.


— From Red or Dead


A New York Times Editors' Choice

" T]he stuff of great literature." --The New York Times - "Red or Dead is a winner." --The Washington Post

The place where the swinging sixties started - Liverpool, England, birthplace of the Beatles - wasn't so swinging. Amid industrial blight and a bad economy, the port town's shipping industry was going bust and there was widespread unemployment, with no assistance from a government tightening its belt. Even the Beatles moved to London.

Into these hard times walked Bill Shankly, a former Scottish coal miner who took over the city's perpetually last-place soccer team. He had a straightforward work ethic and a favorite song - a silly pop song done by a local band, "You'll Never Walk Alone." Soon he would have entire stadiums singing along, tens of thousands of people all dressed in the team color red . . . as Liverpool began to win . . .

And soon, too, there was something else those thousands of people would chant as one: Shank-lee, Shank-lee . . .

In Red or Dead, the acclaimed writer David Peace tells the stirring story of the real-life working-class hero who lifted the spirits of an entire city in turbulent times. But Red or Dead is more than a fictional biography of a real man, and more than a thrilling novel about sports. It is an epic novel that transcends those categories, until there's nothing left to call it but - as many of the world's leading newspapers already have - a masterpiece.

About the Author

David Peace - named as one of Granta's Best of Young British Novelists in 2003 - was born and brought up in Yorkshire, England. He is the author of the Red Riding Quartet (Nineteen Seventy-four, Nineteen Seventy-seven, Nineteen Eighty, and Nineteen Eighty-three), which was adapted into a three-part BBC series; GB84, which was awarded the James Tait Black Memorial Prize; and The Damned Utd, which was adapted into a film starring Michael Sheen. Tokyo Year Zero, the first part of his acclaimed Tokyo Trilogy, was published in 2007, and the second part, Occupied City, in 2009.

Praise For…

“Truly brave and utterly heroic . . . I don’t think I’ve ever read anything quite like Red or Dead before. Not ever.”
—The Goldsmith's 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.”

“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.”

“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.”

Product Details
ISBN: 9781612193687
ISBN-10: 1612193684
Publisher: Melville House Publishing
Publication Date: May 27th, 2014
Pages: 720
Language: English