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More Than A Game: The Story of Cricket's Early Years [Paperback]

John Major
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
Price: 12.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

1 April 2008

The former Prime Minister examines the history of one of the great loves of his life.

Throughout John Major’s life, one of the constant factors has been his deep love of cricket. In this sumptuously illustrated book he delves deep into the game’s history, tracing its development from its rustic beginnings to the international sport we know today. Along the way he examines – and at times demolishes – many cherished myths. Among the subjects to which he pays particular attention are the changing social role of cricket, developments in the rules, the emergence of the professional player, the game’s spread throughout the British Empire and the part it has played in cementing international relations.

John Major’s history of cricket reflects not only his lifelong passion for the game, but the depth of his research among a wealth of hitherto neglected but fascinating sources. It is a significant addition to the already rich literature of the greatest game of all.


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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (1 April 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007183658
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007183654
  • Product Dimensions: 3.3 x 12.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 98,314 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

John Major was Conservative Member of Parliament for Huntingdon between 1979 and 2001. In Cabinet, he served as Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Foreign Secretary and Chancellor of the Exchequer. He was Prime Minister between 1990 and 1997. He was awarded the Companion of Honour in 1999, and became a Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter in 2005. Since leaving office he has taken up business and charitable appointments. He is the author of two bestselling books, John Major The Autobiography and More Than a Game.

Product Description

Review

'Expertly compiled and beautifully produced…it's a book full of insight, wisdom and dry humour and, most important of all, unquenchable enthusiasm which will be appreciated by everyone who shares it.’ Sunday Times

'Passion flows through every page…it's likely that as a work of reference "More Than a Game" will supplant its predecessors…long after all the self-serving political memoirs have been utterly forgotten, "More Than a Game" will still be settling arguments and giving pleasure across the civilised, cricket-loving world.' Sunday Telegraph

'I cannot imagine a better guide – authoritative, graceful and always with an eye to bringing out the quirky characters who have made cricket “more than a game”…(Major's) fascination with human behaviour makes lively reading…as a readable and likeable historian of what he loves, he takes some beating. He knows the beauty of the game and makes it live.' Daily Mail

'A thoroughly accessible history of cricket…the author's passion for a sport has resulted in a volume that could become the definitive account of cricket's early years.' Waterstones Books Quarterly

'Major's richly detailed history of the game interleaves anecdotes of test match results being passed round cabinet meetings with stories of the game's early patrons.' Observer

'It's a spectacular achievement. I can't think of anyone else who could have given such an authoritative inner and overview of the game and have the ability and knowledge to put it in the context of cultural, commercial, historical and social happenings at the same time. But more than that, it is a personal book and, even with the extraordinary amount of information, thoroughly readable…a startlingly good book. John has done a marvellous job, and I think, for the first time ever, we have both the reasonably well-known and the unknown facts about cricket put in a social and historical context and in a readable and concise fashion.' David Rayvern Allen

From the Publisher

Former Prime Minister, John Major shares with us one of his great lifelong
passions - the game of cricket.

Richly entertaining and thoroughly researched, Major traces the history and
development of cricket from its early beginnings up to 1900.

The National Sporting Club, Annual British Sports Book Awards 2008 - WINNER: BEST CRICKET BOOK --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An original contribution to cricket bibliography 25 May 2007
Format:Hardcover
A long-standing commitment and affection for England's national game is all too apparent in this fascinating and authoritative book. Sir John demonstrates - as if there were any need - the quality of his research and intellect. Old myths are re-examined, sometimes debunked sometimes confirmed, and a new light is shone upon some of cricket's historic controversies. The references to social mores of the times and the matching political events gives it a different but weighty style. I would recommend the book strongly, especially for those who enjoy history as well as cricket.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Affectionate, but rambling 28 Nov 2007
Format:Hardcover
I picked this book off the shelf more out of curiosity about the author (of whom I am an admirer) than for any special love or knowledge of cricket - and then found myself immersed in the history of the game. The book is full of amusing anecdotes and interesting insights, and I felt I got right inside Sir John Major's mind. But the book could have done with a firmer hand on the editing, in my opinion. It is rather rambling and self indulgent in places, and there were definitely places where some trimming would have been beneficial.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars And not a jelly bean in sight...... 16 May 2008
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The point of this book is that no-one is really sure where cricket began. It is largely accepted to have started in a recognisable form in the early eighteenth century and from then it has been constantly metamorphisizing into the game we know and love. Before I read this I had never heard of "single wicket" cricket, played until the mid-19th Century but it would be intriguing to see such a match today between, say Andrew Flintoff and Andrew Symonds. Some of the facets of the game taken for granted today took years of controversey to develop: overarm bowling, leg pads (allowed only after one player suffered horrendous leg injuries) and three-stump wickets. Some of the characters are given, sometimes lengthy, pen-portraits: WG Grace, Fry, Trumper obviously, but also some the early pioneers, Mynn, Felix, Beldham and "Lumpy" Stevens. The early administrators of the game probably wouldn't look out of place in the MCC today, Lords Harris and Hawke being both paternalistic and dictatorial at the same time. This really is a page tuner for anyone interested in the game and an absolute must for anyone disenchanted with the current fashion for cheerleaders, rock music and sledging which has destroyed so much of the game's appeal.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Historical background to a great game 29 Dec 2008
Format:Hardcover
My interest in cricket has recently been revived by watching my son play. I was looking for something to fill in the gaps in my knowledge - the orgins of the game, the history of Lords, W G Grace etc. This book does exactly that taking the reader as far as the start of the Great War and is written with obvious enthusiasm and love for the game of cricket. It occasionally slows whilst trying to give a historical context to events but overall it was an enjoyable and informative read. Ideal to tide you over whilst waiting for the new season to start!

More Than a Game: The Story of Cricket's Early Years
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
By Rgh1066
Format:Hardcover
Sir John is at his best in his descriptions of cricketers before the year 1800. He expertly probes the mists to bring us living, breathing characters - players and administrators (and one or two strident opponents of the game), who are unknown to the vast majority of even cricket's own family. Thereafter, I felt he had less to offer as he is covering territory that has been examined many times before, although he at least does so from the perspective of a man reconciled to the realities of modern sport.
There are some curious omissions - no mention at all of the very first international cricket match (it was between Canada and the USA in 1844, Canada winning in two days), and he seems to dismiss North American cricket altogether as if it did not exist outside the islands of the Caribbean - perhaps in his eagerness to include an old joke about the five day game. But he also gives insightful comments on cricket's likely future being dominated by the subcontinent and explains why England can no longer claim cricket as her own. These insights are thought-provoking, albeit he sometimes disguises opinion as fact.
Sir John's book will remind many of his term of office in that it starts strongly and then trails off. If this seems unkind, Sir John invites the comparison with a swipe at New Labour (over the lottery) that seems entirely out of place and unjustified. There is no doubting Sir John's authority on cricket, but the weakest parts of the book come when he attempts to discuss other sports with the same authority. He also uses the word England instead of Britain on an irritating number of occasions (such as when referring to the winners of the Olympic gold medal for cricket in 1900).
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5.0 out of 5 stars A labour of love 15 Sep 2011
Format:Paperback
It is obvious that John Major must have really enjoyed writing this book. He certainly didn't make it easy - by focusing on the first years of cricket, Major picked the time where there are few documentary sources and plenty which are lost to history. Yet he still puts together a comprehensive account of the birth of the game through to the end of the golden age in 1914. It has plenty of detail, but that doesn't make it a dull read. Major is able to pull out the characters and anecdotes to make this a thoroughly entertaining as well as informative read.
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