More Than A Game: The Story of Cricket's Early Years

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9780007183647: More Than A Game: The Story of Cricket's Early Years

The former Prime Minister examines the early history of one of the great loves of his life in a book that sheds new light on the summer game’s social origins.

All his life John Major has loved cricket. In ‘More Than a Game’ he examines it from its origins up to the coming of the First World War. Along the way he considers the crucial role of the wealthy patrons who gambled huge sums on early matches; the truth behind the legends that have grown up around the famous Hambledon Club; changes in rules and techniques, including the transition from underarm to overarm bowling; the long-standing, but often blurred, distinction between 'gentlemen' and 'players'; the coming of the MCC and its role as the supreme arbiter of the game; the spread of cricket throughout the British Empire; and the emergence of the county game and international competition.

It is a story rich in anecdote and colourful characters. Many of the great names from the 'Golden Age' of cricket – C.B. Fry, Ranjitsinhji, 'Demon' Spofforth and of course the towering figure of W.G. Grace – are still well-known today. But long before then the game already had its stars: men like the Kentish innkeeper's son 'Lumpy' Stevens, who played at the highest level until he was nearly sixty; 'Silver Billy' Beldham, who was taught how to play by a gingerbread baker; the notoriously avaricious and ill-tempered Lord Frederic Beauclerk, a direct descendant of Charles II and Nell Gwynne; and the mighty 'Lion of Kent' Alfred Mynn.

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Review:

'I cannot imagine a better guide – authoritative, graceful and always with an eye to bringing out the quirky characters who have made cricket “more than a game”…(Major's) fascination with human behaviour makes lively reading…as a readable and likeable historian of what he loves, he takes some beating. He knows the beauty of the game and makes it live.' Daily Mail

'Expertly compiled and beautifully produced…it's a book full of insight, wisdom and dry humour and, most important of all, unquenchable enthusiasm which will be appreciated by everyone who shares it.’ Sunday Times

'Passion flows through every page…it's likely that as a work of reference "More Than a Game" will supplant its predecessors…long after all the self-serving political memoirs have been utterly forgotten, "More Than a Game" will still be settling arguments and giving pleasure across the civilised, cricket-loving world.' Sunday Telegraph

‘Major's passion illuminates a beautifully produced and engaging account of the game's history from its origins to the first world war.’ Sunday Times

'It's a spectacular achievement. I can't think of anyone else who could have given such an authoritative inner and overview of the game and have the ability and knowledge to put it in the context of cultural, commercial, historical and social happenings at the same time. But more than that, it is a personal book and, even with the extraordinary amount of information, thoroughly readable…a startlingly good book. John has done a marvellous job, and I think, for the first time ever, we have both the reasonably well-known and the unknown facts about cricket put in a social and historical context and in a readable and concise fashion.' David Rayvern Allen

From the Publisher:

Former Prime Minister, John Major shares with us one of his great lifelong
passions - the game of cricket.

Richly entertaining and thoroughly researched, Major traces the history and
development of cricket from its early beginnings up to 1900.

The National Sporting Club, Annual British Sports Book Awards 2008 - WINNER: BEST CRICKET BOOK

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Book Description Harper Collins, UK, 2007. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. 1st Edition. An excellent first edition, first impression copy, signed by John Major to the title page. The former Prime Minister examines the early history of one of the great loves of his life in a book that sheds new light on the summer game¿s social origins. All his life John Major has loved cricket. In ¿More Than a Game¿ he examines it from its origins up to the coming of the First World War. Please visit my on-line store at Analectabooks!. Signed by Author(s). Bookseller Inventory # 000177

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