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Stiff Upper Lips & Baggy Green Caps: A Sledger's History of the Ashes [Hardcover]

Geoff Lawson , Simon Briggs
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Book Description

2 Nov 2006

In September 1882, The Sporting Times published a mock obituary for English cricket, and a great sporting rivalry was born. Relations between England and Australia have never been the same since. Every other year, the two teams gather for the traditional frenzy of backbiting, finger-pointing and dubious facial hair. For a list of every Ashes century and five-wicket haul, try Wisden, but if you want to know which Australian captain punched his chairman of selectors on the nose, which England batsman was a martyr to syphilis and which great fast bowler reckoned the Queen had 'nice legs for an old Sheila', then Stiff Upper Lips and Baggy Green Caps is the book for you. Stiff Upper Lips and Baggy Green Caps is a rip-roaring history of 124 years of Ashes cricket between England and Australia. It exposes the seamy side of Ashes cricket - the inside story behind controversies from the Bodyline series of 1932-33 to the Lillee and Thomson blitzkrieg of 1974-75. It profiles great players from W.G. Grace to K.P. Pietersen, and captures choice examples of the dark art of 'sledging'. Embellished with some 75 black-and-white photographs, and incorporating more than 100 of the wittiest and most wounding Ashes quotations, Stiff Upper Lips and Baggy Green Caps is the perfect gift for cricket fans, whether English or Australian.


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Quercus; 1st edition (2 Nov 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1905204833
  • ISBN-13: 978-1905204830
  • Product Dimensions: 20.2 x 13.8 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 639,234 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

'An entertaining, timely and irreverent trip through the history of the Ashes' Sunday Times.

'Rollicking good fun' Observer.

'A history of the Ashes with more spice than you will find in a curry-house kitchen' Daily Telegraph. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From the Inside Flap

Peppered with bouncers, expletives, and even the odd diplomatic incident, Stiff Upper Lips and Baggy Green Caps is a rip-roaring journey through 124 years of Ashes history. In September 1882, The Sporting Times published a mock obituary for English cricket, and a great sporting rivalry was born. Relations between England and Australia have never been the same since. Every other year, the two teams gather for the traditional frenzy and of backbiting, finger-pointing and dubious facial hair. For a list of every Ashes century and five-wicket haul, try Wisden, but if you want to know which Australian captain punched his chairman of selectors on the nose, which England batsman was a martyr to syphilis and which great fast bowler reckoned the Queen had “nice legs for an old Sheila”, then read on… Stiff Upper Lips and Baggy Green Caps exposes the seamy side of Ashes cricket - the inside story behind controversies from the Bodyline series of 1932-33 to the Lillee and Thomson blitzkrieg of 1974-75. It profiles great players from W.G. Grace to S.K. Warne, and captures choice examples of the dark art of “sledging”. Embellished with some 75 black-and-white photographs, and incorporating more than 100 of the wittiest and most wounding Ashes quotations, Stiff Upper Lips and Baggy Green Caps is the perfect gift for cricket fans, whether English or Australian.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best history of the Ashes I have read 12 Nov 2006
Format:Hardcover
I really loved this book. It gives the whole history of the Ashes, but rather than concentrating on dull statistics it tells the human stories of the great conflicts and players from the whole of Ashes history. Far too many cricket books are worthy and dull, but this one really brought the passion of Ashes cricket to life. The perfect book to accompany this years Ashes. Highly recommened whether you have been into cricket for years, or if you only starting watching last summer.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worthy Alternative History of The Ashes 10 Jan 2007
By DB
Format:Hardcover
As befits a journalist on a British quality newspaper, Briggs' narrative exudes authority. The book is presented in a manner that is a welcome antidote to the often overly dense nature of texts on cricket and although it is essentially structured chronologically, the use of pictures and different fonts help to make this a work that will appeal to all readers, not just for those who like to think of cricket as a branch of science in its own right.

Some of the anecdotes are extremely funny - in this dismal time for English cricket, at least Fred Trueman flies the flag for England by consistently proving himself the funniest man in the history of the Ashes - but occasionally Briggs lets his guard slip by lauding a particular comment disproportionately, such as the 'building an idiot' quip levelled by an Australian fan at Phil Tufnell. Certainly not the original jibe that Briggs suggests.

This may be pedantic, but as the England team found in the 2006/07, embrace complacency at your peril!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good way of fighting the depression 29 Dec 2006
Format:Hardcover
For English fans out there the recent and ongoing Ashes series must be wearing you down. 4 tests in, 4-0 down and the last test was as comprehensive as they come.

This beautifully bound and well thought out book is refreshing after the avalanche of poorly written and hastily rushed out efforts following the 2005 Ashes series. I'd rank it up there alongside Gideon Haigh's excellent offering that clearly stood out from the pack, winning Wisden's coveted cricket book of the year award.

The anecdotes delight; whilst you'd have thought there was little ground left to cover (on the topic of sledging), there were many tales here I had never heard of before. It leaves you with a far greater sense of the history of the Ashes in a more personal sense.

As an afterthought, it is printed on high quality paper and has a satisfying 'weight' when you pick it up - it's hard to beat a well bound book!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sport can be funny 11 Sep 2009
Format:Paperback
A very amusing book. Given some of the comments you wonder how the batsmen simply didn't fall about laughing or the bowler hurl the ball at his head in frustration.

It shows that despite it being a team game, there's times when you're on your own and you need to have selective hearing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
Fans of proper cricket writing (as opposed to readers of books which treat pro-cricket as one long pub crawl) may be put off by the jokey sub-title and cover og this tome. Don't be; it is entertaining from start to finish giving plenty of history of the Ashes including lengthy sections on the greats such as Hammond, Trumper and The Don. There are a lot of interesting facts included here: Wally Hammond's extra-ciricular activities, the gentlemen vs. players split in the England set-up and the highlighting of some lesser known players who have graced Ashes history (does anyone under 50 now remember David Steele?) This is great stuff, the highlight being an extract of one of Ian Chappell's motivational speeches (too blue to repeat here) and Merv Hughes' classic sledge of Robin Smith: "If you turn the bat over the instructions are on the other side".
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not just sledging... 29 Jan 2007
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
When I thought that "Penguins Stopped Play" topped my personal list of most enjoyable and humorous cricket books, this one came along... While it took me a bit before I actually decided to start reading it, after getting through the first few pages it became hard to put it down. This is a remarkably funny book and written both very eloquently and colourful. The fact that the stories go a lot further than just a dull summing up of famous sledging phrases which most of us have heard (or used?) before, adds a very nice extra dimension. The lay-out is also quite original as well as many of the extremely well chosen pictures. In all a book which I can highly recommend to anybody in search of a damn good read, even if cricket is not his or her primary interest.
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