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THE declaration of war against Germany on 3 September 1939 brought an end to the second (and as yet, final) Golden Age of English cricket. Over 200 first-class English players signed up to fight in that first year; 52 never came back. In many ways, the summer of 1939 was the end of innocence.
Using unpublished letters, diaries and memoirs, Christopher Sandford recreates that last summer, looking at men like George Macaulay, who took a wicket with his first ball in Test cricket but was struck down while serving with the RAF in 1940; Maurice Turnbull, the England all-rounder who fell during the Normandy landings; and Hedley Verity, who still holds cricketing records, but who died in the invasion of Sicily. Few English cricket teams began their first post-war season without holding memorial ceremonies for the men they had lost: The Final Innings pays homage not only to these men, but to the lost innocence, heroism and human endurance of the age.
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The accomplished Sandford orders his material with sensitivity and relates his terrible tale with elegance and dignity. Yet such is the nature of the catastrophe of 1914 that the horror seeps through every page. It is a work of genuine significance.
About the Author:
CHRISTOPHER SANDFORD is a regular contributor to newspapers and magazines on both sides of the Atlantic. He has written biographies of cricket legends Godfrey Evans, Tom Graveney and Imran Khan, as well as of Paul McCartney, Steve McQueen, Arthur Conan Doyle and Harry Houdini. More recently, he has written Union Jack (The History Press, 2018) a study of John Kennedy and Great Britain. The Final Over (The History Press, 2014), the predecessor to The Final Innings, was shortlisted for The Cricket Society and MCC Book of the Year Award.
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- PublisherThe History Press
- Publication date2019
- ISBN 10 0750988134
- ISBN 13 9780750988131
- Number of pages336