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Anyone But England: An Outsider Looks at English Cricket [Paperback]

Mike Marqusee
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

23 Jun 2005
Mike Marqusee is that exceedingly rare animal: an American who likes cricket - indeed, is obsessed with it, like all true devotees of the game. But coming from a country which didn't invent the game, didn't have an empire and doesn't expect by divine right to be the best in the world at it, gives his perspective on the English game a real originality. Anyone But England stands alongside Beyond a Boundary and Derek Birley's classics, A Social History of English Cricket and The Willow Wand (both published by Aurum) as one of the few indispensable anatomies of the game. It looks at such controversial - even unpalatable - aspects of cricket as racism, fair play and cheating, the place of tradition, the power of the blue-blazered establishment, and why for so long the England team were so bad. On first publication by Verso Marquesee's book attracted an enormous amount of coverage and was condemned by as many died-in-the-wool cricket commentators as it was praised for its freshness and iconoclasm by the more progressively-minded. This new edition includes a new chapter bringing his portrait of the game up to date.

Product details

  • Paperback: 360 pages
  • Publisher: Aurum Press Ltd (23 Jun 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1845130847
  • ISBN-13: 978-1845130848
  • Product Dimensions: 19.2 x 13 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 424,115 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Mike Marqusee was born in New York City in 1953, emigrated to Britain in 1971 and has now lived in London for more than 35 years.

Among his books are the prize-winning 'Anyone But England: an outsider looks at English cricket' (first published in 1994, revised and expanded 2005), 'War Minus the Shooting: a Journey through South Asia during cricket's World Cup'(1996), 'Redemption Song: Muhammad Ali and the Spirit of the Sixties' (1999), 'Wicked Messenger: Bob Dylan and the 1960s' (first published 2003, revised and expanded 2005), 'If I Am Not for Myself: Journey of an Anti-Zionist Jew' (2008) and 'Saved by a Wandering Mind: Poems' (2009).

In addition to his writing, Mike has been active for several decades in numerous campaigns for social justice. In the early 80s he was a youth worker and trade union activist. For twenty years he was an active member of the Labour Party and editor of Labour Briefing. In 1995, he helped set up Hit Racism for Six, the campaign against racism in cricket. After leaving the Labour party in 2000, he helped establish both the Stop the War Coalition and Iraq Occupation Focus. On February 15, 2003, he was a speaker at the the half million strong anti-war demonstration in New York City. He is currently a member of the NUJ and lives in Hackney with his partner Liz Davies.

As well as his books, Mike has published articles on a wide variety of topics in (among others): The Guardian, The Independent, the Daily Telegraph, The Observer, London Review of Books, Index on Censorship, BBC History Magazine, New Left Review, Red Pepper (in UK), The Nation, Colorlines (in USA), The Hindu, India Today, Hindustan Times, Indian Express, Frontline, Outlook (in India).

Mike has also published longer articles and essays in a number of book-length collections and anthologies, including: 'Nothing Sacred: the New Cricket Culture' (Two Heads, 1996), 'Race, Sport and British Society'(Routledge, 2001), 'The New Ball' (Mainstream, 2000-2002), 'Beyond September 11th: An Anthology of Dissent' (Pluto, 2002), 'Following On: Post-Colonial Cricket' (Routledge, 2005), 'Selling US Wars' (Olive Branch Press, 2007) and 'A Time To Speak Out' (Verso, 2008). A chapter of his work is anthologised in 'The Picador Book of Cricket' (2005), and there is a lengthy interview with Mike in 'Muhammad Ali: Through the Eyes of the World' (2003). An essay on US sport in a global context has been reproduced in a widely used Prentice Hall textbook / reader entitled 'Common Culture' (6th Edition) edited by Michael Petracca.

Mike currently writes 'Level Playing Field', a column on politics and culture for The Hindu Sunday magazine, one of India's largest circulation English language publications, and 'Contending for the Living' for Red Pepper.

In 2004, he wrote and presented an hour-long BBC Radio documentary on the history of Pacifica, America's alternative radio network.

In 2005, Mike Marqusee was named an Honorary Faculty Fellow by the University of Brighton in recognition of his "contribution to the development of a critically-based form of journalistic scholarship in the social, cultural and political nature of contemporary global sport."

Mike's articles on a wide variety of topics can be found at:

Product Description


A book that contrives to be both cerebral and entertaining. -- The Times

An excellent critical analysis of English cricket. -- Imran Khan

Better than CLR James on speed, there are thousands of us who’ve been waiting years for this. -- The Modern Review

Cricket is refreshed through his eyes. -- Sunday Times

The most perceptive, challenging and irreverent book on cricket since CLR James. -- Caribbean Times

About the Author

Mike Marqusee is the author of War Minus the Shooting: Journeys through South Asia during the Cricket World Cup and Redemption Song, a biography of Muhammad Ali that was also shortlisted for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year. He lives in London.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating 30 Jan 2006
As the introduction, by Francis Wheen, points out there is a considerable irony that the two best books about cricket were written by Marxists: this one and the even better Beyond a Boundary by CLR James.
Marqusee is an interesting character: he moved to England after school and fell in love with cricket. He retains his love of cricket but has a great scepticism about the English cricket establishment. He is an iconoclast who takes great delight in debunking myth and questioning the establishment. Recently updated, this is a very interesting book exploring the history, culture and politics of the game. There are chapters on creation myth of cricket, the birth of the professional era and its evolution, racism in cricket (particularly in terms of attitudes to the successful West Indies and Pakistan sides and the composition of the England team), global cricket administration (particularly the role of the MCC), amongst others.
It is an excellent book. Marqusee writes very well and is capable of putting forward complex arguments clearly and succinctly. I do not agree with all of it but it is never less than interesting and thought-provoking. It is sometimes provocative and disturbing and it is often rather funny. Bits of the book will infuriate more traditional cricket fans. The cover has a quote from Christopher Martin-Jenkins which, I suspect, sums up the view of many: “A very intelligent book, very cleverly written, with a lot that provokes thought. But I am uneasy about the way he has a go at just about everything cricketers hold sacred”
Recommended to everyone interested in cricket within a wider context.
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars anyone but a socialist 21 Sep 2005
This is a great book, it is intelligent, thought provoking and much more than just a book about cricket. It sets out to challenge all the orthodoxies of English cricket, the idea of English cricket as eschewing crass commercialism, of it being guided by a 'unwritten constitution' of 'fair play,' of it representing some English pastoral ideal, all are exposed as myths, and like any good heretic he does it with some glee.

This revised edition includes an extra chapter which brings the story of English cricket forward ten years and without this extra chapter, which adds nothing to the book, I would have given five stars. The authors nationality (American) is an asset, he genuinely provides a fresh look at English cricket, English culture and where they intersect, his political persuasion (socialist)less so. Like any good leftie the author sees racism everywhere he looks and sacrifices proportion in the process, apparently racism causes mental illness, which is news to this student psychiatric nurse, criticisms of Robert Mugabe occupy a few lines, while criticism of some Wisden non-entity who wrote a racist article never seems to end, hypocrisy is as much the preserve of the left as of the right it will be no surprise to learn.

That said this book still deserves to be read by a large audience, anyone who enjoys reading sport books that are more than simply books about sport, anyone who has read 'football against the enemy' and absorbed its 'football is the continuation of politics by other means' theme and wants a cricket book of the same calibre, well, look no further.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best cricket books around 25 July 2007
This is an outstanding analysis of English cricket with some clever and pithy insights into numerous class, race and sporting issues. The independence and unique status of the author (as opposed to the normal "old pals act" subtext that abounds in county cricket) is a real asset. He asks questions about issues that the conservatives of English cricket brush under the carpet.

I dont think the authors political affiliation distorts the book at all. The poison from the diabolical Wisden article published in 1995 has never been properly condemned and this chapter also reveals the spineless stance adopted by Wisden and other media regarding that episode. The sheer quality of Pakistan's bowling performance against us in 1992 is also put into context.

Much has happened in cricket since this book was first produced in the 90s, might be time for a sequel. Superb.
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2 of 26 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Marqusee the racist, hypocritical bigot 18 Oct 2007
There's something about Marqusee (and others like him) that i simply don't understand. Why does he continue to live in England when he hates the country so much? It can't be that bad, or he'd have left long ago. I'm not saying things are perfect here, because no country is perfect. We can all live without Marqusee's vitriolic, bitter, poisonous carping.

If there were a country I hated as much as Marqusee hates England (fortunately, there isn't), I wouldn't even visit the place, never mind spend years living there and looking for things to moan about. If you don't like the country, just leave. There'll be others who can come here and bring something more useful and important than sports writing to the party, and who might be grateful for having a chance to improve their lives.

It just goes to show that for bigotry, intolerance and illiberalism, the Left can match anything from the extreme Right, and that's saying something.
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