I won’t deny that I wondered whether it was necessary to publish another book about cricket when Malcolm Knox’s Bradman’s War came my way. After all, cricket is one of (if not the) most documented and analysed sports around. But Knox combines comprehensive research and assured storytelling in his take on the first Test match team to go undefeated in a tour of England (AKA one of the greatest cricket teams of all time). In the midst of this was the captain Donald Bradman, a complex and competitive man that history has held up as a national hero. Knox finds the colour in the historical records and threads together Bradman’s and others’ tales to give a richer and more objective examination of the tour, the times, and the significance of the team’s ‘invincibility’. He quotes commentator John Arlott to illustrate the heightened anticipation of the matches after the war-induced extended break: ‘No cricketer is to blame for the fact that this year people will try to make cricket something other than a game.’ So the answer is yes, it is necessary to publish another book about cricket when it is written by someone as skilled as Knox.
Fiona Crawford is a freelance writer, editor, blogger, social media manager and sports fanatic. This review first appeared in the August/September issue of Bookseller+Publisher Magazine. View more pre-publication reviews here.