The Great Romantic
Cricket and the golden age of Neville Cardus
By Duncan Hamilton
An intimate and revealing portrait of the revolutionary journalist who changed sports reporting forever.
Neville Cardus described how one majestic stroke-maker 'made music' and 'spread beauty' with his bat. Between two world wars, he became the laureate of cricket by doing the same with words.
In The Great Romantic, award-winning author Duncan Hamilton demonstrates how Cardus changed sports journalism for ever. While popularising cricket - while appealing, in Cardus' words to people who 'didn't know a leg-break from the pavilion cat at Lord's'- he became a star in his own right with exquisite phrase-making, disdain for statistics and a penchant for literary and musical allusions.
Among those who venerated Cardus were PG Wodehouse, John Arlott, Harold Pinter, JB Priestley and Don Bradman. However, behind the rhapsody in blue skies, green grass and colourful characters, this richly evocative biography finds that Cardus' mother was a prostitute, he never knew his father and he received negligible education. Infatuations with younger women ran parallel to a decidedly unromantic marriage. And, astonishingly, the supreme stylist's aversion to factual accuracy led to his reporting on matches he never attended.
Yet Cardus also belied his impoverished origins to prosper in a second class-conscious profession, becoming a music critic of international renown. The Great Romantic uncovers the dark enigma within a golden age.
Duncan Hamilton is a journalist who has won two William Hill Sports Book of the Year Prizes. He has been nominated on a further four occasions. He has also claimed two British Sports Book Awards and is the only writer to have won the Wisden Cricket Book of the Year on three occasions. His biography of the Chariots of Fire runner Eric Liddell, For the Glory, was a New York Times bestseller. He most recently collaborated with Jonny Bairstow on the cricketer's autobiography, A Clear Blue Sky.
He lives at the foot of the Yorkshire Dales.
- Other details
- Publication date:
25 Jul 2019
- Page count:
Hodder & Stoughton
Praise for Going to the Match — :
Hamilton is steeped in the history and traditions of football and communicates his knowledge lightly and with wit and intelligence. Above all, though, this is a fan's-eye view that brilliantly expresses the passion that millions like him, in pursuit of happiness and belonging, feel for the beautiful game. Simply magnificent. — Mail on Sunday