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Bodyline Autopsy: The Full Story of the Most Sensational Test Cricket Series: Australia vs England 1932-33 [Kindle Edition]

David Frith
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)

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Book Description

In 1932, England’s cricket team, led by the haughty Douglas Jardine, had the fastest bowler in the world: Harold Larwood. Australia boasted the most prolific batsman the game had ever seen: the young Don Bradman. He had to be stopped. The leg-side bouncer onslaught inflicted by Larwood and Bill Voce, with a ring of fieldsmen waiting for catches, caused an outrage that reverberated to the back of the stands and into the highest levels of government. Bodyline, as this infamous technique came to be known, was repugnant to the majority of cricket-lovers. It was also potentially lethal – one bowl fracturing the skull of Australian wicketkeeper Bert Oldfield – and the technique was outlawed in 1934. After the death of Don Bradman in 2001, one of the most controversial events in cricketing history – the Bodyline technique - finally slid out of living memory. Over seventy years on, the 1932-33 Ashes series remains the most notorious in the history of Test cricket between Australia and England. David Frith’s gripping narrative has been acclaimed as the definitive book on the whole saga: superbly researched and replete with anecdotes, Bodyline Autopsy is a masterly anatomy of one of the most remarkable sporting scandals.

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Product Description


‘A brilliant book…it goes a long way to being the definitive tome on the subject. Outstandingly researched and extremely well written.’

(David Llewellyn Independent)

‘In David Frith's Bodyline Autopsy, we relive the crisis of 1932-33 that almost split the Empire...the well-sketched heroes and villains stand out in Frith's history; who says cricket is for gentlemen?’

(The Times)

‘Frith's account is packed with fascinating detail and anecdote. His description of the Test matches could hardly be more gripping.’

(Leo McKinstry Sunday Telegraph)

About the Author

Historian, archivist, interviewer and writer, David Frith founded Wisden Cricket Monthly in 1979 and ran it for seventeen years. He is also a former editor of The Cricketer. His many books include a bestselling pictorial history of Ashes Tests (the first 1000-picture cricket book); The Trailblazers, a reconstruction of the first English tour of Australia (1861-62) and the thrilling 1894-95 series; Silence of the Heart, his acclaimed study of cricket suicides; The Fast Men, Caught England, Bowled Australia; Bodyline Autopsy, and biographies of such disparate cricketers as John Edrich and Jeff Thomson. He lives in Guildford, Surrey.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 11966 KB
  • Print Length: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Aurum Press; New Ed edition (1 Sept. 2003)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1781311935
  • ISBN-13: 978-1781311936
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #89,102 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Authoritative, entertaining, excellent 11 Sept. 2008
Sadly, most people's knowledge of the Bodyline tour will have been gleaned from Australian TV's hideously one-sided and inaccurate drama based around the events of 1932-33. Happily, David Frith, a wonderfully skilled cricket writer with a foot in both camps, has painstakingly brought the series to life in what is the finest cricket book I've ever read.

Frith's attention to detail combined with his love of the game, not to mention his ability in recreating a time when the Commonwealth (and, indeed, cricket) still really mattered, makes this book stand out from the pack.

Frith has met or interviewed virtually all of the key players in the Bodyline tour, and therefore his characterisation of cricketers - from the toadying Gubby Allen to the obstinate, loyal Harold Larwood - has an air of authority that few, if any, would have been able to recreate.

I'd strongly recommend this book not only to cricket fans whose love of the game goes beyond a passing interest for a few months in the summer of 2005, but to anyone with a love of social history, or indeed and interest in exploring the English psyche. The era when there were gentlemen and players may have passed, but the English attitude to sport - the misplaced air of superiority combined with being torn between wanting to take the moral high ground while having a burning desire to win at all costs - explored in this book is still highly relevant some 75 years after the event. Frith leaves no stone unturned in his quest to get to the truth of what happened on the Bodyline tour and writes in a refreshingly balanced manner. If the Aussies decide to make another TV version of the events of 1932-33, they could do a lot worse than appoint Frith as the script editor.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Overview 4 Nov. 2004
By A Customer
Having known very little about Bodyline (It was 65 years before I was born!) I decided to find out more. This book gives an excellent overview of Bodyline and Leg Theory, giving the differences between the two and the history. The book is well researched and contains a very balanced arguement, in that it shows the Austrailian, English and World cricket views. It also defines the incident in the context if the politics of the time. This may make the book seem rather heavy, but the descriptions of the atcual cricket are well done and from other sources I have read, seems to be very accurate all round. A brilliant book for any cricket fan
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 19 Aug. 2013
By Mike Watkinson TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Five star reviews abound on Amazon, but this is the first time I've seen a product get a 100% record of 5* on a significant number of intelligent, enlightening & well-written reviews. No surprise that I'm adding my own to the total, then. Whether you know nothing more of the so-called bodyline tour than the hype, hyperbole, and propaganda, or whether you already know far more than that, this is a hugely enjoyable & interesting read.

It is written in what I think of as "Cricket style"; prosy, but not too florid, prone to tangents & anecdotes, but veer though it may from time to time, they are never irrelevant or dull. I know a fair amount about the history of cricket, but not only is this a thoroughly absorbing book, there were plenty of nuggets of information that were new to me (for example, the fact that pretty much all of the surviving players were pretty disgusted with the hugely inaccurate 1985 Australian "Bodyline" TV drama). The less you know, the more you'll get from this; knowing more will not lessen your enjoyment. It's a terrific re-telling of a crucial period of cricketing history, and well worth a place on your bookshelf.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bodyline The Truth 1 Feb. 2010
In 1877 the First ashes match was recognised, as an event in cricket sporting history and the matches continued over the years every 18 months. In 1932-33 the latest five match series took place, Douglas Jardine england captain. Bill Woodfull australian captain, Mr jardine employed bowling (bodyline) tactics. That were considered controversial to say the least, aimed at stopping australian batsman Donald George Bradman. Who had taken england and the counties teams apart, scoring 2960 runs at an average of 98.66.

The decision was taken to use this method of bowling using englands fastest bowlers. Harold Larwood and Bill Voces both of nottinghamshire, bowling at the head and body with seven fielders on the legside close in. And two on the offside.

The third test saw bodyline used to devastating effect, the australian captain Bill woodfull was hit in the chest a few times with larwood. Delivering the blows, had the ventricle filled with blood at the wrong moment would have been killed him.

It also saw Bert Oldfield the Australian wicketkeeper struck on the head, fracturing his skull. But the delivery struck his bat before hitting him on the head, this was not a bodyline field. He was taken unconscious from the field of play, but thankfully returned for the final test which. England won the third test and with it the ashes but not without being called unsporting. Which nearly ended the series there and then but commonsense prevailed, the 1934-35 series went ahead the aussies winning.

Eventually the series was fogotten and everything went back to normal in cricketing terms, then in 1976 the australians commemorating the series. Giving their version of what happend so long ago threatened to undermine the good relationship with a farcical television programme.
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