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Ashes 2005: The Full Story of the Test Series Hardcover – 4 Oct 2005

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Aurum Press Ltd (4 Oct. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184513138X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1845131388
  • Product Dimensions: 13.9 x 20.5 x 2.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 168,214 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"Gideon Haigh's anthology is filled with writing of extraordinary quality. It is both the signature document of one of the great series and a how-to guide for us mortals. It is also utterly depressing because none of us will ever get to write that well." - Rob Smyth --The Guardian

It is both the signature document of one of the great series and a how-to guide for us mere mortals. It is also depressnig because none of us will ever get to write that well.
-- The Wisden Cricketer

About the Author

Gideon Haigh's other books for Aurum include Mystery Spinner, Many o Slip. The Big Ship, Bad Company and, most recently, Game for Anything. He lives in Melbourne, Australia.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 39 people found the following review helpful By skeleton bob on 7 Oct. 2005
Format: Hardcover
How many times have you picked up a book reviewing a recent sporting event to find that it is unreavealing and dull, little more than a catalogue of scores, players and incidents, with no reference to the surrounding events and environment in which it was played? How many tmes have you groaned as the author trots out the same old cliches and platitudes, over-emphasising the skill of this player, the significance of that goal/try/wicket? How many times have you shuddered as the author describes part of the story with the smugness of hindsight? If you are fed up of such writing then I urge you to read this book.
This book is not a restrospective study of the most exiting Ashes series for many a year, but a real-time progression of articles following events as they unfold, without the knowledge of the end result. The book starts the winter of '04/'05 during the England tour of South Africa, but rather than using this as a springboard for building up the forthcoming Ashes series, Haigh describes the Australian response to an English batting collapse, and the background of Australian cricket and recent Ashes mismatches.
He then moves on to the early season skirmishes, with reports/essays written, crucially, on the day. This format continues through the tests, and is a fantastic format for reliving and re-understanding the twists and turns of this tense, unpredicable series. If you had just returned from camping on the dark side of the moon (a little breathless and dusty, no doubt), then this book would be the perfect way to live through the agonies and ecstasies as the advantage sways one way then the other.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By John E. Davidson on 13 Dec. 2005
Format: Hardcover
My heart sank as I read the introduction to this book for it is simply a collection of Gideon Haigh’s match reports and articles from the Guardian, Cricinfo & Wisden Cricketer. In order to meet the publication deadline they are essentially untouched.
This gives the book some structural problems, for example for each test there is an overall match report before the day by day summaries and because the reports are drawn from a number of different sources there is some repetition and some odd digressions. Furthermore, given the rush to publish, there are, inevitably, mistakes: most egregiously, the upsetting assertion that Australia won the second test by two runs.
It is a tribute to Haigh’s qualities as a writer and journalist and the intrinsic appeal of the Ashes contest of 2005 that despite these problems this is actually a good book. Haigh writes well and is a knowledgeable cricket pundit; the book is full of interesting observations and funny moments. I suspect that in order to appreciate the book, the reader needs to be quite well versed in the nuances of cricket and have an appreciation of cricket history; this is a book for the genuine cricket fan, not someone with a passing interest.
The book does contain a quote from Haigh that, for me, sums up the series: “It wasn’t long before the Ashes of 2005 had become the best Ashes in recent memory; a little longer and it was one of the best in history; by its conclusion it was a Test match classic that will be talked about for as long as I live, which can be guaranteed, because I will be doing the talking if no one else cares to.” Haigh does not need to worry, there are many others, including me, who will be talking about it as well.
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Format: Hardcover
I should preface this review by mentioning that I am an Aussie who is currently basking in the five-nil whitewash that has been the 2006 Ashes series Downunder. Suffer in your jocks, England! Anyway, I picked up this book for five bucks (about two pounds) and read it cover to cover. And always with a dictionary by my side. For you see, our friend Gideon likes to use unnecessarily long words to convey his rather simple messages across. I don't mind it, but many people will be turned off by such an extravagant use of language in what is essentially a collection of front line reports from the greatest ashes series of all time. There is no real reflection in these pieces, and they can tend to get a little repetitive after a while; especially the match reports, which tend to get less prosaic and more patriotic as the series reaches its climax.

The best essay in the entire collection is the profile of Shane Warne. It is one of the finest pieces of humanitarian journalism of a sports star I have ever read, and is worth the price of purchase alone. His portrayal of a likeable yet flawed human being is the best representation I have read about the schism between the public and private sides to any famous person. Brilliant stuff.

Overall I would say that there is plenty in there for the diehard cricket fan, and the writing is florid enough to keep most general readers interested for at least half the book. I should also mention that all the articles were written for the Guardian newspaper, so if you have a chronic aversion to that rag than I suggest you steer clear. Though how you could have a problem with the Guardian when the font is so damned cute is beyond me!

Anyway, it's a good book if you can get it cheap, and for all you sad poms out there, it will remind you of the better times as you cry into your warm beer on those long, cold and lonely winter nights. Four stars.
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