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The Suffragette Derby [Hardcover]

Michael Tanner
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
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Book Description

21 May 2013
On Wednesday 4 June 1913, fledgling newsreel cameras captured just over two-and-a-half minutes of never-to-be-forgotten British social and sporting history.The 250,000 people thronging Epsom Downs carried with them a quartet of combustible elements: a fanatical, publicity-hungry suffragette; a scapegoat for the Titanic disaster and the pillar of the Establishment who bore him a personal grudge; a pair of feuding jockeys at odds over money and glory; and, finally, at the heart of the action, two thoroughbred horses one a vicious savage and one the consummate equine athlete. Taken together, this was a recipe for the most notorious horse race in British history. One hundred years on, this particular Derby Day is remembered for two reasons: the fatal intervention of Emily Davison, a militant suffragette who brought down the King's runner, and the controversial disqualification of Bower Ismay's horse Craganour on the grounds of rough riding the first and only time a Derby-winner has forfeited its title for this reason. The sensation of Davison's questionable interference in the name of suffrage has overshadowed the outrage of Craganour's disqualification and the intricate reasons behind it. Now, with a view to allowing this scandal the attention it deserves, Michael Tanner replays the most dramatic day in Turf history and finally uncovers the truth of the Suffragette Derby.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: The Robson Press; First Edition edition (21 May 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849545189
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849545181
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 16.2 x 3.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 399,741 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


'As good as any Dick Francis novel, and all the stronger for being based in fact.' --Mail on Sunday

I am currently reading the tome and can thoroughly recommend it. --Guardian Sports

For drama, tragedy, controversy and intrigue, there has never been another race like the 1913 Derby... and the events of that day 100 years ago are examined in detail in Michael Tanner's excellent new book... The 1913 Derby remains the most fascinating and elusive of contests, and Tanner weaves its many strands into a compelling narrative that make it racing's book of the year. --John Randall, Racing Post

The mix of tragedy, rancour and resentment is cleverly exposed by Tanner whose painstaking research produces some fascinating moments...It all makes for a fascinating tale told beautifully by Tanner in a very readable style. Racing enthusiasts need not be concerned thst the book deals principally with the suffragette movement - there is much here to enjoy and to learn about racing in the Edwardian era. --John Scanlon, Kingsley Klarion

An impeccably researched interweaving of real-life racing thriller with social history. --The Spectator

Tanner has put together a gripping book and also a most valuable social history of a time well gone. --The Irish Field

Tanner has examined all the interlinking events in forensic fashion in a landmark book, the Suffragette Derby…the research that Tanner must have put into the book was exhaustive but it was well worthwhile…this book is a huge contribution to turf literature and a compulsive read. --Blackpool Gazette

Michael Tanner has scoured public and private sources, drawing on unpublished diaries and interviews with descendants of the principals, to provide a definitive account of what led to the events of that day and how they unfolded...In a Channel 4 documentary earlier this year, Clare Balding attempted to make a case for her so doing. Tanner's evidence is far more convincing...Tanner is an acclaimed racing writer...His near forensic examination of the facts and his analysis of events, make this a thoroughly absorbing read. --Bookmakers Office Supplies

Tanner has put together a gripping book and also a most valuable social history of a time well gone. --The Irish Field

About the Author

Michael Tanner is a critically acclaimed sports writer, specialising in racing. He has written more than twenty titles and his 2003 book, The Legend of Mick the Miller, was a leading contender for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year and was short-listed for the NSC Sports Biography of the Year. He also has one volume of history to his credit and his debut novel, The Tinman's Farewell, appeared in 2010. In addition to authoring books he has contributed numerous features to various magazines and to Channel 4 Racing.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining book about a controlersial race 5 Jan 2014
By Peter Durward Harris #1 HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
While one reviewer suggests this is meticulously researched, I spotted one double-howler. I didn't notice any other errors and I'm hoping there aren't any. The howler is the sentence (at the bottom of page 43 in my hardback edition) saying that Signorinetta was the last filly to win a Derrby at Epsom for 68 years, when Empery won in 1976 and also won the Oaks that year. Oh dear. Tagalie won the Derby at Epsom, just four years after Signorinetta, and no other filly has done so since (at least up to 2013). Fifinella won a wartime substitute race at Newmarket in 1915, which the author implicitly acknowledges with his wording, but while Empery did indeed win in 1976, he was a colt. As such, he did not contest the 1976 Oaks, which Pawneese won. As Tagalie is mentioned on pages 54, 88, 89 and 217, the lack of her mention on page 43 is even more bizarre.

I hope that the above double-howler does not put anybody off this book. It is a thoroughly entertaining story about one of the most controversial races in sporting history, not just in horse racing but any kind of racing. That said, it may not even be the most controversial Epsom Derby ever, because the 1844 race has gone down in history for different controversies. You can read about that race in Gentlemen and Blackguards: Gambling Mania and the Plot to Steal the Derby of 1844, which is about gambling in the 19th century with the 1844 Derby as its focus, or In Search of Running Rein: The Amazing Fraud of the 1844 Derby, which I haven't read but appers to be more of a horse-racing book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Read 4 Jan 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I love horses (& racing) and history. This is the best book I have read that combines the two subjects of my fascination. I learned a lot about the first days of the suffragettes & the last days of a certain 'Aristocratic Britain'. The "racing pages" are superb, as I understand the langauge (my Mum & Dad ran a 'chaser in the 1950's - Bally was a luvly horse!).
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Suffragette Derby 9 July 2013
By John S
Format:Kindle Edition
This is a classic for those who like to follow sport, and in particular racing, in its broader socio-economic and historical context. Michael Tanner has the capacity to suck the reader into "being there". He does it in all his writing. The Suffragette Derby is a terrific read with a blending of the elements that still make the 1913 race today a fascinating complexity. John Shotton, from the Netherlands
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5.0 out of 5 stars Informative read 23 Jun 2013
The Suffragette Derby is an interesting and informative read with well researched facts that bring a new dimension to a story that many of us have heard in one form or another. The author has managed to successfully blend all of the elements that made the race a piece of sporting and social history, presenting them to the reader in an exciting and accessible form, allowing you to build a complete picture of this eventful race. Well worth a read!
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