Top positive review
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Excellent insight into the personal qualities of captaincy
on 2 August 2001
When the Art of Captaincy first came out in 1985, memories of the swashbuckling capture of the Ashes in 1981 were still vivid in many people's minds. Although this is no longer the case, Brearley's work is equally applicable to the drive for success in any field and the man-management skills required of any successful leader.
Nonetheless cricket is its prime focus, and the characters of Brearley's age such as Botham, Willis and Gower still capture the imagination as brilliant competitors and, more importantly for Brearley, as leaders of the England side. Honest in his exposition of his contemporaries' flaws as captains, the author never belittles their integrity as individuals, helping his own objective analysis to be respected on its own merits. Whilst the revised edition pays no more than token regard to the current resurgence under Hussain and Fletcher, Brearley's expert psycho-analytical approach stands the test of time.
With helpful insight into man management of players and selectors alike, as well as a detailed background to the less glamorous administrative and logistical duties of a county captain, Brearley has much to offer to captains and players at all levels of the game.
The lucid and elegant prose makes for an extremely readable and readily digestible work, and the author's beguiling modesty and understated humanity widen its accessibility beyond the ordinary fanatic for our national game.