11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
"We all know that he is uncouth ...", 18 Sep 2011
The resigned words of Sir William Worsley on his dealings with the professional firebrand Fred Trueman perfectly sum up the conflicts and tensions of the game that this book so enjoyably and lucidly encapsulates. Like all the best sports books and recent cricket documentaries such as 'Fire in Babylon' (well worth checking out), Fraser-Sampson's meticulous study informs us of the society of the time as much as the sport. Given the current three-way tussle for cricket's soul between the Test, 40 over and 20 over versions of the game, it's a very timely commentary on how three major events between 1967 and 1977 engendered the modern game. I suppose the main difference is that now players' financial decisions are based on achieving different levels of wealth whereas the era Fraser-Sampson forensically reveals sees players and administrators making financial decisions informed by class, morality and race. What's also refreshing is the author's style - academic but never didactic and witty rather than chortling - i enjoy the style of writing that has become pretty regulation for cricket ever since the onset of the Guardian's brilliant over by over commentary but it's very satisfying to read about this era in such elegant prose - it's the TMS of cricket writing rather than the Sky Sports version. So if you've ever wondered what made Brian Close such an indomitable and prickly character, worried about the English attitudes to race that were revealed by Dolly or sighed in a purist's frustration at the ludicrous garb of the one day game - then this book is for you!