- Hardcover: 448 pages
- Publisher: John Murray (16 Jun. 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1848549830
- ISBN-13: 978-1848549838
- Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 2.8 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 46,289 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Mr Darley's Arabian: High Life, Low Life, Sporting Life: A History of Racing in 25 Horses: Shortlisted for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award Hardcover – 16 Jun 2016
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An excellent history . . . McGrath is one of the finest sportswriters of this generation . . . Brilliant (David Walsh SUNDAY TIMES)
A racing book like no other - a book of remarkable scope (Robin Oakley THE SPECTATOR)
Erudite, wry and astute . . . extraordinary horses and a rich seam of cultural history woven into a fascinating book (Melanie Reid THE TIMES, Book of the Week)
A vivid, sweeping history of impressive scope. McGrath's eye for a story and eloquent turns of phrase will delight (Nick Pulford RACING POST)
The introduction made my arms tingle as McGrath recalls Frankels's win at the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket in 2011... Racing life, social life and equine life are all neatly pulled together and expertly rendered into a compelling story. each chapter is a satisfying vignette of a Darley descendent, the jockeys, trainers, rakes and rank who were involved. Chance and Fortune, deals and dodging -- it's like Derby Day on the page (Alexandra Henton THE FIELD)
A racy gallop . . . a teeming, colourful survey [with] a great deal to inform and entertain (Nicholas Clee OBSERVER)
A dark horse contender (EVENING STANDARD)
Did I think I'd end up missing the whole of the Euro 2016 final in order to finish Chris McGrath's Mr Darley's Arabian? By no means, but I guess it's just that kind of book... Packed with the result of thousands of hours of painstaking research (the bibliography, in itself, is worth a read), the book never gets bogged down in any one horse or race and travels along at a pace that almost forces the turn of the next page. It also includes a quite ridiculous amount of sex, disgrace and utter debauchery. And unlike so many of the great betting coups related throughout, many of which quite spectacularly fail to deliver, it's an investment well worth making (Will Hayler SPORTING LIFE)
Meticulous research and engaging writing... a book to be savoured, Mr Darley's Arabian is a triumph (Richard Fahey RACING POST)
A good story . . . from an award-winning journalist . . . [McGrath is] at his best when he is conveying his love of racing (Patrick Scrivenor LITERARY REVIEW)
Truly gripping...a finely crafted tome that insists on your uninterrupted attention from the start...A fascinating tale of horses and those who owned, trained and traded them. the story is peppered with enough scandal and adventure to fill the trashiest novel. Fortunately, Mr Darley's Arabian is very well written, its narrative racing along effortlessly - as you might expect of a thoroughbred author (Pete Sharkey BIRMINGHAM POST, Sports Book of the Month)
A high-quality history of our sport, drawing on a cast that takes in aristocrats and nouveaux riches, playboy industrialists, Smithfield meat salemen and the rulers of Dubai (GUARDIAN)
A colourful and engaging tale of scandals, adventures and fortunes lost and won (HORSE MAGAZINE)
A real thoroughbred.. a three century gallop through 25 generations of champions (IRISH MAIL)
Entertaining and informative... a remarkable journey through three centuries, many countries and most of all 25 horses to trace the history of horse racing... [written with] a wonderful light touch. (Bill Spence RYEDALE GAZETTE & HERALD)
The thoroughbred among new writers (OXFORD TIMES)
A sprawling, colourful read, McGrath is an excellent writer and this is an ambitious and well-researched project... [Its readers] are on to a winner (SPORT)
A brilliant read... excellent...if you have any interest in horse racing at all, this book is a must read (BOOKBAG)
Brilliant...Mr Darley's Arabian has rightly received rave reviews (Lee Mottershead RACING POST)
Extraordinary (WILTSHIRE VIEW)
To the sound of pounding hooves, royalty and aristocrats, obsessive jockeys and trainers jostle with rogues and rascals. The author's understanding of breeding, racing and human foibles is thorough, his prose elegant. (SUNDAY TIMES, BOOKS OF THE YEAR)
An enthralling cultural history of humans as much as horses (THE TIMES, BOOKS OF THE YEAR)
A sporty stunner... great (COACH)
A picaresque chronicle of horse racing . . . ingenious storytelling... a pleasure (GUARDIAN, BOOKS OF THE YEAR)
McGrath is an excellent writer and this is an ambitious and well-researched project (Sport)
The most comprehensive and entertaining history of racing (DAILY TELEGRAPH)
Brilliantly realised . . . The depth of the research McGrath has undertaken is evident on every page but the difficult balance between being definitive and keeping the reader entertained is cleverly maintained . . . There could be no better way for a newcomer to racing to absorb its rich history or a devotee to discover fresh depths (Observor, 'The Sports Books that Made Our Writers' Year')
McGrath's book is erudite, his style wry and his descriptions astute (The Times)
Excellent history of thorough-bred racing . . . immense attention to detail (Sunday Times)
The story of racing told through the bloodline of twenty-five exceptional horses.See all Product description
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Top Customer Reviews
McGrath tells the story of Thomas Darley who had spent 18 years in Aleppo before returning to his Yorkshire home in 1704. He arranged for the stallion Darley to be sent to Engaland in order to please his father. Unfortunately, he died from chest injuries as the result of a fall from a horse shortly before returning home. The Arabian was to sire numerous winners.
McGrath relates another less attractive side of horse racing. Some owners like Dennis O'Kelly had a prison background. He became involved in a prostitution racket . He bought Eclipse, a descendant of the Darley Arabian. It proved to be the most celebrated racehorse of his generation. Many other shady characters are examined in this delightful book. It is a detailed account of horses that won and those who passed on their genes.
It is said that all men are equal in only two places: on the turf and six feet under it. The book is replete with vignettes. Thirty of the thirty seven winners of the 2000 guineas prior to the repeal of the Corn Laws were owned by landowners. Since 1940, the peerage has only won two. The Darley Arabian never raced. It produced only a score of foals once in Yorkshire. Yet he united the lineage of 19 out of 20 thoroughbreds lining up for any race, anywhere in the world. He was, says the author, 'the daddy of them all'.
There is a useful glossary, a picture section and a select bibliography.Read more ›
Well he did and well done. I am not familiar with McGrath's journalistic writings but I am wondering how much the old fashioned script of his research material has infected his writing style as it sounds rather victorian. But I am not complaining. I do however find it difficult to remember whose name is which person, or horse, or whether it is a horse or a person, there are such a lot, I have to keep re-reading.
I have read countless (so called) autobiographies of jockeys and trainers and gratefully sup up interesting nuggets of information - in books that are otherwise a bit samey, but Mr Darley's Arabian is a veritable cornucopia, a delicious feast of information and pictures of other times. In fact it has greatly enhanced my limited knowledge of British history. Apart from the fascinating history of the Thoroughbred this book covers the political and social mores of the time and is invaluable at putting nearly three centuries into perspective and giving them context.
I really enjoyed reading this book and would go as far as to say it is an important book, a forever book, on this particular subject.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Interesting approach to racing history-interestingly not being stocked at the National Horse Racing Musum Newmarket as of last weekPublished 8 months ago by Xmusman
great book as we are given an insight into horse racing history but my big surprise was that out there is a certain big family of horses which gave humans unbelievable... Read morePublished 10 months ago by gp
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