Sunday, December 2, 2007

Book Reviews - Some Christmas Recommendations

Turn, Turn, Turn … Please by Kerry O’Keeffe

If you have read O’Keeffe’s previous book, “According to Skull”, you will know what to expect from this effort. It is a series of short and sweet pieces describing various events throughout his life, with a very light hearted spin. O’Keeffe has built up a cult following for his commentary on ABC radio, and this book is very similar to a O’Keeffe session in the commentary box. Entertaining, but often diverging from the original context, it is never dull.

O’Keeffe varies his topics from horse racing to cricket to the forced land of aircraft. Mixed into the humour, there remains enough insight and analysis to sustain the interest of both casual and more serious cricket lovers. Not high literature, but makes no apologies for that. It delivers what it promises – a fun read that is ideal for a lazy Boxing Day.

150 Years of NSW First Class Cricket by Colin Clowes

Clowes, one of the honorary Cricket NSW Research Librarians, wrote this book to celebrate, perhaps not surprisingly, the 150th anniversary of first-class cricket in New South Wales. It is a thick book, and with good reason. It details in excess of one thousand first-class cricket matches played by New South Wales to the end of last season. Clowes covers every first-class game that the Blues have played, with an analysis of the matches and description of individual performances.

This book is naturally aimed at New South Wales cricket supporters. However, there is a large amount of content that will fascinate readers who are simply interested in cricket in general. Great names of Australian cricket including the Gregory family, Victor Trumper, Don Bradman, Alan Davidson, Richie Benaud, Doug Walters and the Waughs are all integral parts of NSW’s history, but international players such as Imran Khan also contributed and are included here.

The book has a vast number of old photographs, scorecards, statistics and accounts of the players that made NSW the leading cricketing state in Australia. Not for the casual reader, this book is a treat for true cricket connoisseurs. Highly recommended.

The Whole Hogg by Rodney Hogg

This book is an interesting first attempt by Hogg. Unlike most autobiographies, it is not self-serving at all, and in fact, often seems to delight in portraying Hogg in the worst possible light. Some of his words are so unbelievable for a former test cricketer that you assume that they must be true. An example of this can be seen with Hogg’s recall of faking an injury so as to be made 12th man for a test match. “Being 12th man for Australia was a lot better than playing because you got the same money and could legally get on the drink every night.”

One of the most interesting pieces of information revealed was that Hogg came within one vote of taking over from Kim Hughes as test captain. Quite what Australia’s future would have been if Hogg, rather than Allan Border, had taken the reins hardly bears thinking about. Hogg also finally admits that he did try to punch Kim Hughes’ head off during a test match. Hogg’s part in the famous Dennis Lillee aluminium bat incident is also fascinating to read about. This book is certainly not your run-of-the-mill cricket autobiography – recommended but not for cricket purists.


Uncle J rod said...

Viva La Hogg.

Pay per head bookmaking said...

like I said in a previous book recommendation, I will pass on this recommendation because I have not finished to read the other books I want to read