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An important contribution to the literature that exposes cricket to essential critical self-examination and reflection
In Cricket, Capitalism and Class: From the Village Green to the Cricket Industry (Routledge) Chris McMillan argues that not only is the story of cricket inescapably entwined with that of capitalism, but that the game provides a unique lens with which to understand the history and development of capitalist political economy. Our reviewer Russell Holden finds, a few critical points notwithstanding, that McMillan’s study is highly relevant and that the book will find itself a slot on any bookshelf entitled Cricket in the 21st century.
Jeremy Wilson’s Beryl: In Search of Britain’s Greatest Athlete (Profile Books) chronicles the life and pursuits of Britain’s foremost female cyclist, Beryl Burton (1937–1996). The book won the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award 2022 and the Sunday Times Sports Book of the Year 2023. It also ranks highly amongst the best sport books that our reviewer, Russell Holden has read for some time. His review includes Maxine Peake’s 2012 play Beryl: A Love Story on Two Wheels, adding extra dimensions to Burton’s complex personality.
Diego Maradona: A Socio-Cultural Study, edited by Pablo Brescia & Mariano Paz (Routledge), looks at representations of Maradona across a wide variety of media, including literature, cinema, popular music, printed and online press, and radio. Russell Holden has read this first English-language Maradona study, and he is fascinated and delighted – as an academic, as a football fan, as a Maradona admirer. He also finds that the book offers a template for the study of other major historical sporting figures.
Adopting a socio-political approach, Russell Holden’s Cricket and Contemporary Society in Britain: Crisis and Continuity (Routledge) investigates the declining status of cricket within contemporary British society after the high-water mark of England’s Ashes victory in 2005. We asked a keen observer of English cricket, journalist and broadcaster Daniel Norcross, for a review, and he lauds Holden’s wide ranging and detailed examination of why cricket in the UK has failed so many of its different social and ethnic communities.
The 159th edition of the most famous sports book in the world contains some of the world's finest sports writing, and reflects on a year when Azeem Rafiq forced the sport to examine its attitude to racism, but also gave a huge boost to the women's game. Our foremost expert cricket reviewer, Russell Holden, has perused the 1,536 pages of the Wisden Cricketers' Almanack 2022 (Bloomsbury), and it becomes obvious why this is an unmissable tome for any and every cricket buff.
Cricket is defined by the characters who have played it, watched it, reported it, ruled upon it, ruined it and rejoiced in it. In Cricketing Lives: A characterful history from pitch to page, Richard H. Thomas tells the story of the world’s greatest and most incomprehensible game through those who have shaped it. Russell Holden does not find cricket incomprehensible, very much to the contrary, and so we’re happy to present his knowledgeable, appreciative but not uncritical review; indeed a meeting of cricket lovers.
Through the prism of sport and conversations with its legends, including Thierry Henry, Michael Johnson and Naomi Osaka, Michael Holding explains how racism dehumanises people; how it works to achieve that end; how it has been ignored by history and historians; and what it is like to be treated differently just because of the colour of your skin. Russell Holden is our reviewer of Holding’s Why We Kneel, How We Rise (Simon & Schuster), and he recognizes and appreciates the significance of Holden’s message.
Call for Participation | Sport, Globalisation and Identity – Recent reflections on our publication | Webinar, November 24, 2020, 18:00 CET
Sport can be a vehicle for the expression of identity, and also a factor in the shaping of identity. In Sport, Globalisation and Identity: New Perspectives on Regions and Nations, edited by Jim O'Brien, Russell Holden, Xavier Ginesta, the complex interrelationships between nations, regions and states in the landscape of contemporary international sport, with a particular focus on identity, is explored.
The edited collection Cricket and Society in South Africa, 1910–1971: From Union to Isolation by Bruce Murray, Richard Parry & Jonty Winch (Palgrave Macmillan) is a fascinating exposé of the role of cricket in the checkered twentieth century history of South Africa. In his review, our resident cricket aficionado Russell Holden is obviously both impressed and delighted.
Rafaelle Nicholson’s Ladies and Lords: A History of Women’s Cricket in Britain (Peter Lang) offers the first ever academic study of the history of women’s cricket in Britain. Our resident cricket expert is Russell Holden, and he is thoroughly appreciative of Nicholson’s effort, which provides a vital contribution to the existing literature on cricket, but equally has much to offer those in engaged with sport history, sport sociology and leisure studies.
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