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Mystery Spinner: The Story of Jack Iverson Hardcover – 1 May 2000


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 376 pages
  • Publisher: Aurum Press Ltd; First printing. edition (1 May 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1854107143
  • ISBN-13: 978-1854107145
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 24.2 x 4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,127,272 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'Gideon Haigh pursues his extraordinary subject with a breadth of awareness rare in the sports-biog trade' -- New Statesman

'Haigh leads us through Iverson's startling progression from sub-district to Sheffield Shield and Test cricket with great vividness, taking a couple of chapters out to summarize brilliantly the evolution of bowling from the early days of under-arm and the development of swing and spin, in particular the dark arts of the googly. But this is more than just a book about a cricketer. It is a genuine biography, a serious attempt to get to the heart of a more involved mystery than the way his subject bamboozled batsmen' -- Times Literary Supplement

'One of the best cricket biographies I have ever read ... a superb book' -- Matthew Engel, Wisden Cricket Monthly

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Robert I. Jones on 29 Mar. 2009
Format: Hardcover
This is definitely as good a biography as you could hope to read. The period detail and historical background, such as Iverson's early career as an Estate Agent and then his involvement as a soldier in WW2 set the foundations for his unlikely success on the cricket field. His rapid rise and almost as quick return to obscurity is a story handled perfectly by Haigh, arguably the best cricket writer around.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is about Jack Iverson, an Australian spin bowler who appeared, quite literally out of nowhere, played cricket for 4 years (from the age of 31), earned himself the 10th best bowling figures that have ever been produced in test cricket, only to disappear just as fast because of an injury to his ankle, his spinning finger, and his confidence.

As I said, this is a biography, but it's a slightly weird biography. Iverson was never a "coming man" who people would tag for greatness (the author admits that one of the reasons he remembers Iverson so fondly was because of his freaky looking bowling action). He live an innocuous life before his brush with fame, and it was innocuous after fame had passed him by. As a result, Gideon Haigh (the author) regales us with how he tried to find anything out about Iverson's life.

This is an interesting book about an "ordinary man" who has a momentary brush with fame, before fading back into his earlier life. If that sounds like the sort of book that would interest you, then read this book. You'll enjoy it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By P. Robson on 11 April 2003
Format: Paperback
Jack Iverson's story is Roy-of-the-Rovers stuff. The tale of the mystery bowler who comes from nowhere to win a test is not uncommon in fiction, but in this case it actually happened. Haigh's book is a well researched biography and makes entertaining reading. There are a couple of bits of 'padding' but it is well worth the read.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is an extremely well-written book, which will be of interest not only to cricket fans, but also to all those interested in human life. This is a tragic human story, centred around the astonishing rise to sporting fame of Jack Iverson when in his 30s; and his equally sudden disappearance from public view,. One of the best cricket books of our generation, I heartily recommend it to one and all.
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5 of 9 people found the following review helpful By alex_brown@blueyonder.co.uk on 28 Jan. 2001
Format: Hardcover
This is one of the most interesting tales of sporting history, the freakish man who went on to play test cricket for Australia by creating a whole new way of bowling.
It's only a shame that the book didn't live up to the legend of Jack Iverson.
I've read much of Gideon Haigh's writing in the past, and have found some of it excellent.
He was often struggling in this book in being able to come up with enough recollections of Iverson, and with little media reporting available and no diaries etc of his early life, Haigh seemed to continuously go off onto tanegents of psychological analysis, theory and quoting from some bizarre works that seemed to me to have little obvious to do with the subject.
Saying that, I enjoyed some of the recollections that were used of what was undoubtedly a tortured genius, and what is ultimately a very sad end to the life of Iverson comes through in his daughter's comments about him.
This was worth reading, if it was perhaps too easy to put down [always a bad sign!], but ultimately I was left unsatisfied by this biography.
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