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Golden Boy: Kim Hughes and the Bad Old Days of Australian Cricket [Paperback]

Christian Ryan
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
Price: 8.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

1 July 2010
Kim Hughes was one of the most majestic and daring batsmen to play for Australia in the last 40 years. Golden curled and boyishly handsome, his rise and fall as captain and player is unparalleled in cricketing history. He played several innings that count as all-time classics, but it's his tearful resignation from the captaincy that is remembered. Insecure but arrogant, abrasive but charming; in Hughes' character were the seeds of his own destruction. Yet was Hughes' fall partly due to those around him, men who are themselves legends in Australia's cricketing history? Lillee, Marsh, the Chappells, all had their agendas, all were unhappy with his selection and performance as captain - evidenced by Dennis Lillee's tendency to aim bouncers relentlessly at Hughes' head during net practice. Hughes' arrival on the Test scene coincided with the most turbulent time Australian cricket has ever seen - first Kerry Packer's World Series Cricket, then the rebel tours to South Africa. Both had dramatic effects on Hughes' career. As he traces the high points and the low, Christian Ryan sheds new and fascinating light on the cricket - and the cricketers - of the times.

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Golden Boy: Kim Hughes and the Bad Old Days of Australian Cricket + Harold Larwood + Bodyline Autopsy: The Full Story of the Most Sensational Test Cricket Series - Australia V England 1932-33: The Full Story of the Most Sensational Test Cricket Series - England Vs. Australia 1932-3
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Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Allen & Unwin (1 July 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1742374638
  • ISBN-13: 978-1742374635
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 289,361 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"Excellent... Graphic... Shocking... Ryan has extracted some devastating testimony... If half of what we read here is true, two Australian legends should hang their heads in shame." --The Times

"Absolutely superb, one of the best cricket books I've read." --The Wisden Cricketer

"Extraordinary... A sad tale, told splendidly" --The Spectator

"The best cricket read of the year." --The Observer

About the Author

Christian Ryan has edited Australian Wisden, Inside Edge and The Monthly, and has worked as a journalist on The Guardian. Several years of research, interviewing over a hundred players, officials and cricket followers, have enabled him to provide a fresh and often controversial perspective on a formative period of Australian cricket.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bad old days indeed 6 Oct 2009
Kim Hughes was one of my favourite batsmen when I was growing up and this book is a fascinating portrait of the man and what went on around him. Lillee and Marsh may have been great cricketers, but reading this book they come across as rather unsavoury characters who treated Hughes poorly.This book fills a gap nicely and I wish Kim Hughes all the best. Update. Heard Hughes on TMS at the Perth test. Really excellent interview. His 100 on Boxing Day 1981 v Windies at height of their fast bowling domination is one the the great test centuries.....catch it on you tube but for context look at the scores in the match.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Golden Boy 16 Nov 2009
This book has the major advantage of being written with hindsight and at a distance from the main protagonist. Suffice to say it is the antithesis of the very ordinary cricket (auto)biographies that grace the shelves with "X too fivefor, Y took threefor etc". Very well worth reading with some surprising revelations for those of us so far from Australia in the 1970s and 80s.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hughes the entertainer 26 Oct 2011
By Peakfan
In many ways Kim Hughes always struck me as a throwback to a bygone era. His cavalier style of batting, with little regard for the match situation, would not have been out of place in the Cardusian "Golden Era" prior to the First World War. With a landmark beckoning, Hughes often aimed to reach it with a towering six. Sometimes it came off spectacularly, but on others he perished and there can be few big name batsmen who have missed out so often in the 90s as Hughes had a tendency to do. His strokeplay was vivid, innovative and eye-catching, though his self-confessed tendency to decide on the stroke before the ball was delivered could also lead to his downfall. To do that when seeing it like a football is one thing; to do it on a regular basis is not the most sensible of approaches.

A Test average of just under 40 is indicative of talent, but not at the very highest level and a player with Hughes attitude - one similar to Michael Slater, Virender Sehwag, Chris Gayle and a few more - will always entertain and infuriate in equal measure. As he showed in the centenary Test at Lords, Hughes was like the little girl with the curl: when he was good, he was very, very good - though when he was bad...

I've read a good few books over the years that purported to be "explosive" and this is one of the few that genuinely lives up to the billing. A number of the main protagonists declined to be interviewed for it and the author, Christian Ryan, has done a remarkable job in piecing together the story of an Australian dressing room at a time of turmoil from those willing to talk. There was a lot going on of course - the Packer revolution, rebel tours and big name/big ego players was a recipe for disaster, unless overseen by a player of equable temperament and ability.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 4 runs through extra cover - on one knee 7 May 2010
A terrific read and a great insight in to Australian cricket of the 70s / 80s, the Packer years and beyond. Hughes the man comes out of this with great credit. No-one appears to have a really bad word for him, even those who opposed him (even in his own team) during his test career.
Not quite unputdownable, this is non-the-less a very good read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SIMPLY BRILLIANT 25 Jan 2012
This is one of the best available books on the world cricket scene.

The subject matter is Kim Hughes, one of the truly excellent natural players that Australia has produced.

It focuses on how the performance of a national sports team can be affected by certain archaic belief systems... and cruelled by Australia's tall poppy syndrome (fuelled by jealousy and personal prejudices).

It's well researched, with all of the major figures approached, and most of them interviewed. The emergence of World Series Cricket is dealt with expertly.

The author exhibits a remarkable turn of phrase and writing is always lively. Even the accounts of Hughes' matches as a youngster drive you to the edge of your seat!

I bought this book in Australia and have found it so satisfying that I wanted to tell the world! Well, the Amazon world, anyway...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A cautionary tale of confidence 10 Oct 2011
By M. Lawrenson VINE VOICE
Kim Hughes is known for many things. Being on the receiving end of Botham's Ashes. Having one of the least successful records as Australian captain. Breaking down in tears at his resignation press conference in 1984. This book tells the story of why these things happened.

The eldest son of a Western Australian headmaster, Hughes seems to have been born with an innate self-confidence, a trait encouraged by his parents when they noticed his sporting abilities. Kim himself saw the defining moment of his life as meeting his personal cricket coach, Frank Parry. The type of coach Parry was is encapsulated in an anecdote Ryan tells about a time Hughes got a duck in a club match. Parry phoned the disconsulate Hughes after the game and said "Your left elbow was right, your head was fantastic, your footwork was great. As a matter of fact it was the best made duck I've ever seen in my whole life. You were perfect. There's only you and Don Bradman".

Despite these blips, he eventually made the Western Australian state team. His immense talent was noted, as was noticed his propensity to decide on his shots before the ball was bowled, and his tendency to get out at the wrong time while trying to entertain the crowd. John Inverarity, his captain when Hughes made a sparklin debut century in the Sheffield Shield, criticised him for getting caught on the fence while going for a six just before lunch. This was nothing to what his teammates had in store for him in the future.

Dennis Lillee and Rodney Marsh were what you could call stereotypical Aussie cricketers. They drank, swore, sledged and insisted youngsters paid their dues. Kim Hughes, with his breezy talent and innate self-confidence, irritated the hell out of them.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars The Aussie the media forgot
This book is a man of that was born in the wrong era of Austraila. He came against the triumvirate of at the strong willed players of any era. Good read but sad.
Published 1 month ago by Jambro
5.0 out of 5 stars Engrossing read
As an Englishmen, I never understood the hype around Kim Hughes, an average test cricketer I would say. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Tony Evans
5.0 out of 5 stars Open and honest,like the man
A great warts and all book about a forgotten cricket hero.well worth a read. A cricket era far removed from today
Published 3 months ago by linnie
Kim Hughes managed to royally piss off some of the greatest Australian players of all time, just by being himself. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Dr H.Alloy
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read
I was motivated to read this book after seeing Tom Hardy's excellent film about the Ashes series of 1981 in England. Read more
Published 9 months ago by William Marshall
3.0 out of 5 stars Passionate and a little confusing
Christian Ryan is an engaging writer, passionate and emotional in his style. This has plus points and some drawbacks. Read more
Published on 13 Dec 2011 by Stephen Hudson
4.0 out of 5 stars kj hughes c marsh b lillee 0
Thank you Christian Ryan - this is a story that needed to be told. Hughes had his faults and it is valid to ask whether a batsman with his flamboyant style should have been... Read more
Published on 27 Aug 2011 by obenyffordd
5.0 out of 5 stars Golden idol or fatted calf?
I lived through much of the period covered by this book, and have a clear memory as a cricket mad boy of the tempestous mid 1980's in Australian cricket. Read more
Published on 20 April 2011 by John Middleton
4.0 out of 5 stars A Tale from another nadir in Australian Cricket
The frustrations of supporting Australia during the period around World Series Cricket took more toll on one man than the rest of the nation put together. Read more
Published on 9 Jan 2011 by Dr. G. SPORTON
2.0 out of 5 stars Don't bother
v boring book and a dull story - should have concentrated more on the '81 Ashes, as this is no doubt the reason most readers would buy this book. Read more
Published on 5 Oct 2010 by Cookie
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