Basil D'Oliveira: Cricket and Conspiracy: The Untold Story Hardcover – 17 Jun 2004
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It is an inspirational story and one which never fails to move this reader (Michael Parkinson, DAILY TELEGRAPH)
Oborne tells this remarkable story with the tautness of a thriller and the focus of a political tract. If you are at all interested in either cricket or humanity, I guarantee that you will read his book at one sitting. (Peter Wilby, NEW STATESMAN)
It is a masterpiece of research and reconstruction of the most significant sporting uprising of our times (DAILY MAIL)
As this stunning book makes very clear, principled people acting together can sniff out the essential truth and make the difference. Read it and risk being inspired to do the same. (IRELAND TRIBUNE)
* WINNER OF THE WILLIAM HILL SPORTS BOOK OF THE YEAR AWARD 2004
* Controversial and revelatory biography of the South African-born cricketer who played for England and was banned from touring his native country
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Top Customer Reviews
I am a little too young to remember the D'Oliveira affair clearly but this book does an excellent job of describing how he became an England cricketer and puts 'the affair' into the relevant political and cricket context.
The cricket first... as an ageing (now aged) cricket player and cricket fan I was struck by his amazing achievements on the cricket field. How in his thirties he came to England and was successful playing in the Lancashire leagues (having never played on a grass wicket before), how he made himself first a successful county player and then a successful test player at an age when most players have long since retired. I was also struck by the fact that we missed out on his best cricket years - if he had started his first class career when he should and given his ability to play under pressure, it is easy to believe that his achievements would be legendary. Furthermore, the book successfully explores and explodes the myth of South African cricket being a white only game. It is a tragedy (for cricket and South African sport in general) that D'Oliveira's contemporaries were denied the opportunity to play at the highest level.
The politics... the book does an excellent job describing the oppression in South Africa and the notion that sport and politics in South Africa could be separated is thoroughly debunked. A particularly chilling aspect of apartheid was how it brainwashed all its citizens, irrespective of race, into believing that it was normal.Read more ›
That he survived great traumas, in South Africa and England, is a testimony to a great sportsman and a man with great strength of character. Read this book and you will learn a lot - it is one of, if not the, best books about sport that I have read.
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.
His achievements were staggering as were the political machinations employed to ensure the cancellation of the MCC tour to South Africa once he was belatedly selected in 1968 after Tom Cartwright's convenient injury. The most telling fact was that Basil was really a contemporary of an earlier generation of cricketers such as Hutton, Compton and Bailey yet he made his name in his early to mid thirties long after they had disappeared from the scene.
This is a humbling story of greatness and prejudice expertly researched and told by an excellent journalist and writer.
D'Oliveira's story is more remarkable than I, for one, realised before reading this book. Oborne makes a good case for D'Oliveira to be classed as a great player - for a player to return a Test batting average of over 40 after making their debut at the age of 34 is quite remarkable, as is the fact that D'Oliveira is one of the few players to have a Test batting average higher than their bowling average. Oborne also rates his 158 in the last Test of the 1968 series as the greatest innings ever played, considering the pressure D'Oliveira was under and the political impact it had. For me this is debatable, but he puts the case well, and it's an interesting assertion worth thinking about.
There's an awful lot in this comparatively short book. There is a lengthy section on the early years in South African 'racial' cricket, and a good account of the role of John Arlott as a kind of Fairy Godmother, giving D'Oliveira the chance to start a career in England. And like others here I was very touched indeed to read of his wife, Naomi, and the confusion she felt at the absence of signs in Britain to denote the facilities that blacks were allowed to use, and her fear at entering 'white' shops in Middleton, and her tears when she was received with great affection and warmth. The towns of Middleton and Worcester can stand tall given the role they played in this story.
The meat of the book, though, is an account of the summer of 1968, when D'Oliveira at the last moment made it almost impossible for the MCC not to pick him for the 1968/9 tour of South Africa, which they knew would inevitably cause the South African Government to cancel the tour.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
How Sports & Politics should not mix, but we are not living in an ideal world, not then & certainly not now.Published on 21 Mar. 2014 by S.D.W.
As a cricket novel this has excellent detail. It also outlines the surrounding drama of the South African apartheid system in the sixties and seventies. Read morePublished on 10 Feb. 2014 by Derek Young
would appeal to cricket lovers and students of politics - it gives a detailed account of aparthteid in SOUTH AFRICA and its eventual separation from World Sport starting with... Read morePublished on 10 Feb. 2014 by RITA E. DREW
This is a wonderful account of Basil D'Oliveira's life, focussing primarily on his cricket career, and especially on the events of 1968, when he, born in South Africa and classed... Read morePublished on 29 Oct. 2013 by M. V. Clarke
I expected more from this auto/biography. D'Oliviera comes across as almost apologetic for his involvement in the MCC/Pretoria regime power struggle. Read morePublished on 13 Sept. 2013 by Milton
If you're a Basil D'oliveira fan, then this is the book for you. A present for my husband and likes it very muchPublished on 11 Jun. 2013 by Hull City supporter