This book is quite breathtaking in ambition and scope - and more remarkably still, it succeeds admirably. Taking the developments in cricket and intertwining them with the ongoing changes in political, economic and social history (esp. the "old empire"), Mr Birley has produced a book that deservedly won Sports Book Of The Year in 1999. I read this book in four days, and still go back to it every now and again. Never dry, always interesting, often very funny - indispensable.