Jonathan "Aggers" Agnew, England's voice of cricket, showcases some of the very best writings on the noble game, from the 1930s to the present day.
In this wide-ranging and beautifully-produced anthology, Test Match Special's Jonathan "Aggers" Agnew, chooses a wide variety of writings on the sport that has consumed his life, from the 1932/33 Ashes (Bodyline) series right up to the present day.
In a series of carefully considered, thematically organised reflections, he examines the importance of their contribution to our understanding and appreciation of cricket. With input from several eminent cricketing historians, including the librarian at Lord's, the book contains a fascinating range of material, from renowned classics to books that have hardly seen the light of day in the United Kingdom (e.g. The Hanse Cronje Story by Garth King); from overseas fiction to modern day autobiographies (Marcus Trescothick, Simon Hughes, Mike Brearley etc.) that have attained classic status.
With 75 seminal cricket images, original line drawings and a comprehensive index, this book is a must-have for any self-respecting cricket fan.
©2013 Jonathan Agnew (P)2013 HarperCollins Publishers Limited
Anyone who could pronounce words and names correctly. e.g. lieutenant (pronounced the American way when referring to someone in the British army), Greenidge, Belvoir, etc. as well as those of sub-continetal players.
The part written by Basil D'Oliveira
As above. The narration was ridiculous.
There were some very interesting sories but my enjoyment was spoilt by not knowing when "jonathan Agnew" was telling the story or when it was written by someone else.
It would have been better if JA (or somebody other than Nick Taylor) had narrated all of his bits and Nick Taylor had just read the extracted stories.
Nick Taylor has a clear voice but due to the fact this is non fiction he did not consider "characterising" any of the persons stories
If only Jonathan Agnew had narrated this himself. He is excellent in all respects for test match special, always thoughtful and lucid and with pleasing delivery. Alas, the narrator chosen is dreadful. His voice, for a start, is completely characterless (why not a narrator with a solid accent: Lancashire, Yorkshire, Gloucestershire, anywhere but Nowhereshire?). Then the delivery itself is plonking, far too slow in pace. He makes the material sound as interesting as a child's Ladybird book. Then there are the mispronunciations everywhere, as though he's not that familiar with cricketing (and indeed historical and geographical) material. In an early chapter, for example, he oscillates between two pronunciations of D'Oliveira.
The material itself is not as enthralling as I had expected. Because of Jonathan's background and reputation I had expected insights and interesting detail. Instead, some of the material is very superficial. Early in the anthology is coverage of the bodyline tour. None of this material comes across as fresh or is palpable with the immediacy of the strong feelings expressed at the time. Instead, we hear a rather dull reminder of the issues and the key figures, as though this is history to be logged dutifully rather than enjoyed. Unfortunately, the dismal narration exacerbates these weaknesses in material.
The introduction to this book claims that it will be of particular interest to the cricket fan however such is the appalling pronunciation of some very well known cricketers' names by the person reading it, one is constantly distracted from enjoying the full content. Also I found the book to be a little repetitive, covering the same topic on many occasions.
This is hugely enjoyable but the ineptitude of the narrator's pronunciation is remarkable - how can you mispronounce fracas, desultory, inter-necine, to list but a few? One might forgive the occasional lapse but this is like publishing a book with spelling errors on every page - I would love to watch Jonathan Agnew listen to this and wince every other minute at the crassness of some of the narration ("why did I not take 20 minutes to vet the narrator?").
Playing cricket with mispronunciations - 4 for a name mispronounced ("Green-idge"! "Cardus"). 6 for an utterly normal word oddly stressed or Manuel-ised. Nick Taylor is surely not from Barcelona - and don't call him Shirley.
The policeman from Allo, Allo? The Two Ronnies?
The English Patient or Murder Most Foul
Buy the book - if only because Jonathan Agnew is a fine man and the book is otherwise really rather marvellous
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