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The Cricket Society and M.C.C. Book Of The Year Award 2015
Please see the joint Cricket Society and M.C.C winner Press Release and short listed authors.

Journalist and historical novelist Dan Waddell has won the Cricket Society/MCC Book of the Year award for his book about an English cricket team's tour of Nazi Germany - Field of Shadows.

Waddell's beat-off strong opposition from five other books, including Peter Oborne's highly-regarded history of Pakistan cricket "Wounded Tiger" and two books about former England batsman Kevin Pietersen.

He walked away with a £3,000 award, presented by former award winner and Cricket Society President John Barclay during a Long Room dinner at the Home of Cricket on Tuesday 12 May.

The 2015 Cricket Society and MCC Book of the Year Award winner was Field of Shadows: The English Cricket Tour of Nazi Germany 1937 by Dan Waddell, Transworld Publishers

The tale of perhaps one of the most bizarre cricket tours ever to take place unfolds here from the pen of Dan Waddell. The Gentlemen of Worcestershire were invited to play cricket in Berlin by a cricket-mad German with the blessing of the Nazi regime in 1937. 'You couldn't make it up' as the saying goes but it really did happen and the story is one that both grips and astonishes the reader by turn. The author has researched extensively and where there are gaps, which is only to be expected, uses his skill as a journalist to logically continue the story. It is almost certainly true to say that there has never been a tour like it and we are fortunate that one man made it his mission to tell the whole story.

Please see shortlisted and longlisted nominees and those from previous years
2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010

The Cricket Society & M.C.C. are delighted to announce the Shortlist for the Book Of The Year Award 2015

in this joint Cricket Society & MCC press release.

Vic Marks chaired the judges for the 2015 competition. The two judges nominated by the Cricket Society are John Symons and Chris Lowe. The MCC nominated judges are David Kynaston and Stephen Fay.

Nigel Hancock is the awards Administrator and Chairman of The Cricket Society


Shortlisted books (alphabetically by author)

book imageWounded Tiger   Wounded Tiger - A History of Cricket in Pakistan
by Peter Oborne, Simon and Schuster
A daunting task for many would be to examine and chronicle the history of a troubled nation’s sport but Peter Oborne, the man who forensically examined the ‘D’Oliveira Affair,’ has broadened his range still further by detailing the birth of Pakistan and its history, both before and after partition. The book not only gives a well-written account of cricket but demolishes many myths and restores some overlooked characters to their rightful place in the history of the game. It is a history by a man who loves the nation, its people and its cricket and that respect and affection illuminates his book.

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book imageKP   KP The Autobiography
by Kevin Pietersen, Little, Brown
Like him or ......... well......... you simply can’t ignore Kevin Pietersen, as he tells his story with the able assistance of David Walsh, who has long, journalistic experience of controversial characters. Unafraid to name names or to give chapter and verse on recent history, the book gives a remarkable insight into what goes on behind the scenes of a cricket team, inside and outside of the dressing-room. Shivers of apprehension must have been felt in the corridors of power but the reader is compelled to follow the story to the end – if, indeed, it is the end!

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book imageThe Final Over   The Final Over - The Cricketers of Summer 1914
by Christopher Sandford, The History Press
A distinguished biographer of cricketers and others in differing fields, turns his attention to that last fateful summer before the world plunged into the abyss. The cricket season is laid out from optimistic start to chaotic end but along the way we follow the players as they march off to war – some never to return – some to return as shadows of their former selves and some to greater success, with the realisation that they were fortunate to be alive and therefore could treat the game as something to be enjoyed. There are all too many who never had the chance to find that cricketing rebirth and the book stands as a fitting epitaph to them.

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book imageField Of Shadows   Field of Shadows - The English Cricket Tour of Nazi Germany 1937
by Dan Waddell, Transworld Publishers
The tale of perhaps one of the most bizarre cricket tours ever to take place unfolds here from the pen of Dan Waddell. The Gentlemen of Worcestershire were invited to play cricket in Berlin by a cricket-mad German with the blessing of the Nazi regime in 1937. ‘You couldn’t make it up’ as the saying goes but it really did happen and the story is one that both grips and astonishes the reader by turn. The author has researched extensively and where there are gaps, which is only to be expected, uses his skill as a journalist to logically continue the story. It is almost certainly true to say that there has never been a tour like it and we are fortunate that one man made it his mission to tell the whole story.

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book imageField Of Shadows   10 for 10 - Hedley Verity and the Story of Cricket's Greatest Bowling Feat
by Chris Waters, Bloomsbury
"Do not underestimate the determination of a quiet man," was the quote from a passing politician of recent years and the players of Nottinghamshire in 1932 would be the first to have greeted it with a wry grimace. A previous winner of this award, Chris Waters, sets out the story of a remarkable match when the talented and self-effacing Hedley Verity stepped into history with an analysis that has never been bettered. There is much more within the book than just the bare details of wickets tumbling and the joy of that day is contrasted with Verity’s later, tragic death in Sicily in 1943 as a result of battle wounds.
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book imageOn Pieterson   On Pieterson
by Simon Wilde, Simon and Schuster
If an award-winning book hadn’t already used the title, Simon Wilde’s opus might well have been called – We Need to Talk About Kevin. A knowledgeable and serious look at a player who excites passions both for and against is divided into nine sections examining different aspects of the man and the player. It is a serious book that declines to take sides but rather sets out facts and opinions to give the reader the option of deciding on balance how KP should be seen in the context of modern cricket.
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Longlisted books (alphabetically by author)

book imageCrickets Bounty   Cricket's Bounty - by Hubert Doggart, Phillimore Book Publishing
England’s third most senior cricketer, both in years and Test appearances, provides a pot-pourri from his extraordinarily rich life. A melange of journalism, memories, celebrations, MCC, University and much, much more all tied together with his deft poetry demonstrate the breadth as well as the length of a wonderful life. Anyone who appears in the book will be proud of their inclusion by this legend of English cricket, although Ricky Ponting might just be a sole dissenter!
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book imageGordon Smith   Cricket’s Mystery Man, The Story of Sydney Gordon Smith - by Bill Francis, The Cricket Publishing Company
We do love a 'mystery' in cricket. Whether it’s a mystery spinner; a mystery ball; the mysterious case of the selection committee who didn’t bark in the night or anything else – just the word mystery sets the pulses racing. Bill Francis had often noticed the name of S G Smith near the top of most New Zealand cricketing records and set out to find the truth about the man. The story is a remarkable one, covering three countries and putting an overlooked talent into its rightful context with skilful writing and diligent research.
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book imageFriths Encounters   Frith's Encounters - by David Frith, Von Krumm Publishing
David Frith's particular ability has always been to mix a desire for accuracy with a passion for cricket, to produce definitive books on topics such as ‘Bodyline’ but here we find the quest for knowledge tied in with a desire to reach out to the human beings behind the sporting façade. A tangential benefit is to enable heroes of yesteryear to tell their story and to confirm (or not) stories that would otherwise have died with them. Although many of the profiles have been published before, there is a wealth of new material to delight the reader.
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book imageCountry House Cricketer   The Country House Cricketer - by Pete Langman, The CURE Parkinson's Trust
Not country-house cricket as it is usually told with Edwardian 'mashers,' belted earls and belting blacksmiths peopling a long-lost world of wealth and endless summer but a look at how the game is now played through a club cricketer’s eyes against a backdrop of grandeur. Pete Langman, afflicted with Parkinson’s Disease but determined not to let that get in the way of some serious cricket, decided that he would investigate this different world and we journey with him as he marvels at great houses and lands while struggling with the more pressing and important task of where the next run might be coming from.
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book imageW E Astill   W .E. Astill - by Antony Littlewood, ACS Publications
The sub-title of A. R. Littlewood’s study of Ewart Astill is 'All-rounder debonair' and this biography is an admirable reminder that great cricketers can sometimes be left in the shadows while others, who have only an equal talent, can dominate cricket history through a single innings or a purple patch in a much shorter career. One of only nine players to score over 20,000 first-class runs and take over 2,000 first-class wickets, this book serves its subject well and restores a fine cricketer to his rightful place in cricket history.
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book imageTouched by Greatness   Touched by Greatness: the story of Tom Graveney - by Andrew Murtagh, Pitch Publishing
An affectionate memoir of a player still revered as one of cricket's great stylists. Andrew Murtagh, a former player with Hampshire and Eastern Province, uses his knowledge and experience to profile a man whom he both respects and admires. Tom’s life and career was not without incident but the story is told with sympathy and in an even-handed manner, culminating in his becoming the first professional cricketer to become President of MCC.
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book imageSussex CC   A Pictorial History of Sussex County Cricket Club - by Roger Packman, Nicholas Sharp, Phil Barnes and Jon Filby, Sussex Cricket Museum and Educational Trust
A single county but an extraordinary profusion of history, scorecards, profiles and photographs of great and less-remembered players, grounds, souvenirs, cartoons, advertisements - to say nothing of the cat. It is a more than a story of a cricket club, it is the life of a county and its players and spectators over the course of one hundred and fifty years. And the cat? It is of course, Peter the Lord’s cat, here being unceremoniously removed by Les Lenham from the field during the 1964 Gillette Cup Final. If only the caption had been Putting The Cat Out – the book might have scaled even greater heights!
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book imageThe Champion Band   The Champion Band, The First English Cricket Tour - by Scott Reeves, Chequered Flag Publishing
Cricketers today complain if their hotel is not five-star and the air journey is not first-class. Scott Reeves reminds us that for the pioneers of cricket tours, survival was a bonus and the 1859 tour to the USA and to Canada was fraught with danger, discomfort and the perpetual fear that life and limb might have been risked while someone ran off with the cash. A fitting tribute to a tour that opened cricket's eyes to new horizons and possibilities.
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book imageWisden on The Great War   Wisden on The Great War - by Andrew Renshaw, John Wisden
"The death of one man is a tragedy. The death of millions is a statistic." That glib quote from Joseph Stalin is disproved here as Andrew Renshaw uncovers the stories that Wisden, through no fault of its own, was unable to tell fully at the time. Here we find many, far too many, cricketers young and old, who laid down their lives for no other reasons than duty and honour. Famous men and some who were no more than boys who had only just begun to play with cricket and with life stand side by side in the book as they did in life and death in the trenches and elsewhere. "Lest we forget."
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book imageCourt and Bowled   Court and Bowled: Tales of Cricket and the Law - by James Wilson, Wildy and Sons Ltd
"The law is a ass – a idiot" said Mr Bumble and while that may or may not be true, it can provide rich entertainment for both onlookers and participants. James Wilson leads us gently through some of cricket's most famous and not so famous brushes with the law from many centuries ago to the present day. Although much fun can be had, there is a serious side to many cases and the author uses his expert knowledge to examine both cases and their conclusions, as well as the implications and results.
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