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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars14
4.6 out of 5 stars
Format: Hardcover|Change
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on 13 July 2013
Excellent history of Wisden with strong context to its inception and how it became an establishment icon. First World War particularly poignant
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on 9 July 2013
I bought this book for a cricket fanatic as a birthday present. The book is full of interesting facts about the Wisden Almanach!
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on 5 May 2015
Wisden is a name synonymous with cricket, and this book charts the history of the annual Wisden Cricketers’ Almanacs. It starts at the beginning, with the career of John Wisden, the man who first published it, and moves right through the decades to the contemporary situation, where Wisden has to compete with the internet and redefine its role. I found the early chapters particularly interesting, but like the Wisden Almanacs themselves, every reader will have a favourite section.
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on 2 August 2013
Now we do. It's actually so much more interesting than anyone would imagine a book about to book to be.
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on 3 February 2014
The person I bought it for is delighted,in fact,bowled over. He has been deep in it ever since Christmas,so I know it was the right book for him.
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on 5 May 2014
It's interesting that four of the seven reviews already here are written by people who gave the book as a present. Perhaps those who received it share my frustrations with it. The book is clearly the product of enormous research and is full of interesting information and interesting sections, but overall I thought it missed its mark as a history of Wisden and also found it a real hard slog to reach the end.

At 400 pages it feels very flabby. The author has a habit of writing twenty words where ten would do, and tends not to draw the boundaries of his story sufficiently tightly often straying into a general account of some cricket issue or another rather than confining himself to how Wisden covered it. Perhaps a limit of 300 pages would have focused everyone's attention on how the story should be told and forced some tough decisions.

On p.315 the author confesses that his account is guilty "for storytelling reasons" of emphasising the role of Wisden's editors over the editorial support staff. I thought this was quite an admission in a book that claims to be history and wondered what other topics had the same treatment. It certainly doesn't feel like a definitive account, being unreferenced and a little shaky when it ventures beyond cricket into the general historical or publishing backgrounds, but that may not have been the intention anyway.

Above all I wish the author had resisted the temptation to sound funny or clever. It's a while since I've read a book where I was so aware of the author's voice interjecting between me and the story. The humour often feels forced and the erudition misplaced. For me at least, the reference to a Luis Borges short story (p391), a Lytton Strachey anecdote (p.349), and the "paradigms" and "dichotomies" on p.254 were just too much, and if it really is necessary to use Festschrift in a cricket book (p.120) someone should have checked its meaning (and how it differs from Gedenkschrift).

Having said all that, the book does contain a vast amount of interesting information about the history of Wisden. I suspect the way to enjoy it best is by dipping in and out of individual sections, perhaps reading twenty pages or so at a time.
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on 2 February 2014
I bought this for my brother in law for Christmas. He loved it and seemed very happy with it all round.
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on 15 March 2015
Good price, well packed and prompt delivery - what more would you want?
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on 6 January 2015
If you're a fan of the yellow bible this is a fantastic read
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on 21 May 2013
As a history of the first 150 years of Wisden this book is factually interesting but it is written in a style that makes it like watching a Geoffrey Boycott innings-hard going.The book itself is in the form of past Wisdens with very few illustrations which makes it a collectors item rather than a good read.I cannot help thinking that had Bloomsbury produced a glossy covered paperback at a more appealing price they could have sold a lot more copies.Nevertheless as a cricket lover it will take a prominent place on my bookshelves to dip into now and again especially during the depths of a winter evening.
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