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William Clarke: The Old General (Lives in Cricket)
William Clarke: The Old General (Lives in Cricket)
by Peter Wynne-Thomas
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars The Kerry Packer of the nineteenth century, 15 Sept. 2014
William Clarke was one of the most influential people in the history of cricket, so it is a shame it has taken so long for a biography to be written about him. Peter Wynne-Thomas has rectified this, plotting Clarke’s personal life and cricket career. In setting up the All-England Eleven, Clarke genuinely changed the cricket world, showing that professional ‘players’ could band together and tour the country, earning money without the support of the gentlemen amateurs in the MCC and the cricket authorities. Although the All-England Eleven did not long outlive, the balance of power had shifted, and Clarke’s influence and philosophy would continue. Well-researched and detailed, if a little dry in places.


Basil D'oliveira: Cricket and Controversy
Basil D'oliveira: Cricket and Controversy
by Peter Oborne
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cricket star who changed the world, 8 Sept. 2014
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D’Oliveira found himself at the centre of a sporting and political controversy that made him arguably one of the sports stars who has had the biggest impact beyond the world of sport. His status as a ‘coloured’ person led him to leave his native South Africa during the Apartheid era to seek cricket elsewhere, where racial barriers could be overcome. He was so successful in England that he was chosen for the English national side, but the South African refusal to accept D’Oliveira on tour led to a wider sporting boycott against South Africa, making it a pariah state.

In this biography, Oborne draws upon state documents, together with D’Oliveira’s own reflections, to unpick the murky machinations of the British and South African governments and cricket authorities. It is accessibly written and draws sensible judgements. A brilliant sports book with wider themes.


The Flying Sportsman - A Biography of FNS Creek: The Life and Legacy of a Forgotten Sporting Hero
The Flying Sportsman - A Biography of FNS Creek: The Life and Legacy of a Forgotten Sporting Hero
by Peter Minto
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.50

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An amateur Dixie Dean, 1 Sept. 2014
This is a well-researched biography of FNS (Norman) Creek, an early twentieth-century footballer who I'd never heard of before spotting this book. Peter Minto delves into Creek's life as an amateur footballer, which saw him make one appearance for the full England team and five for England Amateurs. He also managed the amateur national side for sixteen years. There are a few gaps in the research, caused I'm sure by the lack of source material, and I'm not too keen on the rigid thematic structure (chapters on football, cricket, journalism, teaching etc) - I'd rather the biography stuck with the chronological approach. However, credit to Minto for uncovering the life of one of Britain's greatest amateur footballers.


The Father of Modern Sport: The Life and Times of Charles W. Alcock
The Father of Modern Sport: The Life and Times of Charles W. Alcock
by Keith R. Booth
Edition: Hardcover

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Father of modern sport, 26 Aug. 2014
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It’s fair to say that Charles Alcock is mostly forgotten except to historians of sport, but as the title of this book declares, he was the father of modern sport. As a footballer, he captained Wanderers to FA Cup success and refereed an FA Cup Final. He was also a captain of Middlesex at cricket. Yet it was off the field where he had the biggest impact, arranging the first cricket Test match in Britain at The Oval through his position of Secretary to Surrey CCC, and helping to organise the launch of the FA Cup through his position as Secretary of the FA. Alcock’s was a busy life, and Keith Booth has searched the archives to unearth as much information as possible, helping to preserve the memory of one of nineteenth-century sport’s most important characters.


A Life Without Limits
A Life Without Limits
by Chrissie Wellington
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Driven athlete, 18 Aug. 2014
This review is from: A Life Without Limits (Paperback)
You need huge strength of character to do what Chrissie Wellington did – compete in ironman triathlon competitions, where athletes spend some nine hours racing each other in the water, on bike and on foot. And strength of character is what Chrissie Wellington has. This book gives a good insight into her personality – she seems to display a lot of compulsive tendencies and might not always be the easiest person to live or work with, but I suppose that’s the grit and determination you need to succeed in high-level sport. There are some illuminating passages – how to go to the toilet when competing is particularly graphic! Even if you aren’t interested in ironman competitions, this is an interesting glimpse into the of endurance sport.


Joe DiMaggio: The Hero's Life (Touchstone Book)
Joe DiMaggio: The Hero's Life (Touchstone Book)
by Richard Ben Cramer
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.84

5.0 out of 5 stars Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?, 11 Aug. 2014
Even if you know nothing about baseball, Joe DiMaggio is likely to be one of two players you have heard of (Babe Ruth will be the other). This biography fills in the void of knowledge. A player who spent his entire career with the New York Yankees at a time when they dominated baseball, DiMaggio is one of the most successful players ever. Richard Ben Cramer explores his playing career well, going through the peaks and slumps. However, DiMaggio is almost as well known for his exploits after retiring, notably his marriage to Marilyn Monroe. Cramer shifts emphasis to DiMaggio off the field in the second half of the book, trying to explain DiMaggio's difficult struggle to achieve happiness. It is sad that DiMaggio, who seemed obsessed by people taking advantage of him, was ultimately screwed over (in the author's opinion) by Morris Engelberg, and Cramer goes at Engelberg with both barrels. One of the best baseball biographies.


The Inside Track: Paddocks, Pit Stops and Tales of My Life in the Fast Lane
The Inside Track: Paddocks, Pit Stops and Tales of My Life in the Fast Lane
Price: £6.99

4.0 out of 5 stars F1 from behind the camera, 28 July 2014
Jake Humphrey spent three years as the presenter of the Formula One coverage on the BBC. In this book, a combination of stories about his life in Formula One and his views on the sport, we get a decent overview of F1. Nothing goes particularly deep - after all, Humphrey can only comment on the basis of his three years' experience behind the camera and did not have particularly intimate access into the veiled goings-on of the F1 garage - but we do hear about how the teams prepare for F1 races and how they strive for success. Of more interest is Humphrey's stories about the BBC coverage and his relationship with David Coulthard and Eddie Jordan - who sounds like quite a character!


The Summer of Beer and Whiskey: How Brewers, Barkeeps, Rowdies, Immigrants, and a Wild Pennant Fight Made Baseball America's Game
The Summer of Beer and Whiskey: How Brewers, Barkeeps, Rowdies, Immigrants, and a Wild Pennant Fight Made Baseball America's Game
by Edward Achorn
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £20.59

5.0 out of 5 stars Superb early baseball history, 21 July 2014
This might be something of a niche interest – a history of the 1883 season of the American Association baseball league – but Edward Achorn writes so well that it is easy to forget that this is not a mainstream topic. What could have become a dry and overly factual narrative oozes with stories and anecdotes about the early years of professional baseball, especially in Philadelphia, Cleveland and St Louis. True, you’ll need to have an interest in baseball and baseball history to make this worthwhile, but if you do, this is a superb piece of work.


The Rookie [DVD] [2002]
The Rookie [DVD] [2002]
Dvd ~ Dennis Quaid
Price: £4.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A tale of two happy halves, 21 July 2014
This review is from: The Rookie [DVD] [2002] (DVD)
This is a fun movie telling the story of Jim Morris, a high-school baseball coach who tries out for the major leagues and becomes the oldest player to debut in MLB at the age of 35. It’s a heart-warming story, although it doesn’t really begin until halfway through the film – prior to that, Morris’ high school baseball team plays in their own championship (and, as befits a Disney film, the team comes from nowhere to win). The two halves merge to make an easy-to-watch, jovial family film.


Brilliant Orange: The Neurotic Genius of Dutch Football
Brilliant Orange: The Neurotic Genius of Dutch Football
by David Winner
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant book, 14 July 2014
The Dutch football team are liked by almost everybody - they play a style of football that is entertaining, coupled with their status as perennial bridesmaids who never quite make it to the top (three times World Cup runners-up, twice semi-finalists). David Winner explores aspects of Dutch football, from the swift rise of the side in the Cryuff-era to the Van Basten-era European Champions and on. It's not a chronological history, but more thematic. Winner has selected the issues that interest him and give him the scope to explore the Netherlands on a broader scale. It's an approach which pays off - great writing.


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