Review Blog

Dec 07 2009

A history of cricket by Catherine Chambers

cover image

Black Dog Books, 2009.
(Age 10 +) Today cricket is a highly organised, international sport but its origins lie in the villages of 14th century England. The journey has been rich in history, shadowing the British Empire which ensured the game's spread around the globe. It is a story of fascinating anecdotes, champions, humour, controversy, tradition and change.
Catherine Chambers has told that story in a book which resembles a paperback novel. A wealth of detail is carried along in a fast-paced narrative, driven rather than slowed by dot-points and brief biographies of famous players. Headings entertain with alliteration and rhyme. Quotes from those who were mystified by the game and those who loved it provide voices from the past. For the novice, there are explanations of the rules, technical terms and positions. Devotees can pore over the timelines, batting averages and match results. Everyone can enjoy the social history which influenced the sport's development. A comprehensive index is a welcome addition in a title which is tailor-made for both research and reading for pleasure.
The writing style is breezy and colloquial. The attempt to be entertaining is largely successful but is marred occasionally by cultural stereotypes. All the photographs are in black and white. Recent pictures of cricketers in action have been chosen for their drama and maintain their impact despite the absence of colour.
A history of cricket is a light-hearted, enjoyable and informative sequel to the author's previous title - Goal! How football conquered the world.
Elizabeth Bor

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