|Unlimited heartbreak is author Henry Martinís first book and there is a view that it should be his last. This is simply due to the fact that he could write a hundred more books and never reach the quality of this one. In fact itís hard to think of any sports book that is as good as this.
One of the reasons The Sopranos was so successful was because every scene in an episode was important. It is similar with this book. There is no wasted space, no fillers, every paragraph is important. Such a work is extremely rare.
The reason the book flows so well from start to finish is due to the fact the words are not Henry Martinís but are of the people he interviewed. He must have interviewed over one hundred people and this book is their story expertly woven together by Martin.
The book starts off in the forties and quickly works its way up to the seventies which of course is the only decade in the book where the All Ireland was won. The win in 1973 is discussed in detail as is the defeat the following year and the subsequent fall off in the teamsí fortunes that decade. The book then moves onto the eighties where Limerick won another two Munster finals which did not lead to All Ireland success.
The middle third of the book is taken up by the Tom Ryan era. To say Ryan is frank in his comments would be the understatement of the decade. He absolutely lets fly at all and sundry. There are comments from others which in many cases agree with what Ryan says and others which contradict him. It is left to the reader themselves to make up their own mind on the subject.
This portion of the book goes into great detail on some of the most controversial episodes in Limerick hurling. Everything is dealt with from the collapse against Offaly to the Mike Galligan affair to the infamous ď20 questionsĒ. What is refreshing is you get to see all sides of the story and the county board have input as well. Too many of these books turn into a one sided argument which insult the intelligence of the reader.
The final third of the book is made up of the era since Ryanís departure and how so many managers have been unsuccessful. The drinking culture and the problems regarding dual players in this time are discussed by some of the parties that were involved in them.
While this is a book about Limerick hurling and deals specifically with this subject itís hard to see how any hurling fan would not be interested in it. A great aspect of the book was Martinís inclusion of outside contributors such as Jimmy Barry Murphy, Babs Keating, Nicky English, Anthony Daly and a few others to give a good idea of what those who clashed with Limerick over the years thought of Limerick.
Hurling fans in Limerick and outside who read this book will see clearly why Limerick have been so unsuccessful in their attempts to win All Irelands. This should be a very important book for hurling in Limerick as what it does is hold a mirror up to itself so all can look closely at what is wrong with itself. There is no doubt that certain people, who donít feature positively, will try and attack the authorís credibility or motives but anyone who does this is only burying their head in the sand. The words in the book are not of the author but of Limerick hurling itself and these words should be listened to.
This book is clearly a labour of love and this passion is evident on every single page. This is what makes it such a wonderful story. To paraphrase a movie tagline, if you only buy one sports book this year make sure it is this sports book.