Harold Larwood is an England cricketing legend. During the MCC’s notorious 1932–3 Ashes tour of Australia, his “Bodyline” bowling left Australia’s batsmen bruised and battered, halved the batting average of the great Don Bradman—and gave England a 4–1 series victory. But the diplomatic row that followed brought Anglo-Australian relations to the brink of collapse. Larwood was used as a scapegoat by the MCC, which demanded he apologize for bowling Bodyline. Arguing that he had simply obeyed the instructions of his captain, Douglas Jardine, Larwood refused. He never played for England again. The Bodyline saga has been told before, but Larwood’s story has not. Using materials provided by the fast bowler’s family, Duncan Hamilton has created an intimate and compelling portrait of Larwood’s life: from his mining village upbringing, through the trauma of 1932–3 and its bitter aftermath, to his emigration to Australia, where he and his family found happiness. A moving recreation of the triumph, betrayal and redemption of a working-class hero, Harold Larwood will enthrall not only cricket fans, but all those who relish biographical writing of the highest quality
Cricket has evolved a lot over the last 100 years with bigger bats, advanced technology and conditions that generally favor the batsmen. However when they face a bowler who bowls at speeds over 90mph they tend to face discomfort and have to concentrate.
In the 1930’s, when pitches were not covered at night bowlers generated more movement which made it harder for the batsmen to play. Enter Harold Larwood, whose pace bruised, shocked and scared some of the world’s best batsmen. A tiny man standing at 5’7, Larwood generated enough pace to trouble arguably the world’s greatest cricketer Don Bradman The book Harold Larwood depicts the story of one of the world’s most fearsome fast bowlers. An Englishman that grew up in the coals of Nottingham and worked over 14 hours a day in poor conditions who rose to the fast bowler that won England the famous Ashes versus Australia in Australia.
The author Duncan Hamilton talks about Larwood’s upbringing and early years to the famous Bodyline Series and aftermath. He was a man who was loved by everyone who knew him but feared hated by the Australians though he ironically ended up migrating there in his later years. Larwood was a man that embodied loyalty above all else to his captain Douglas Jardine who would stop at nothing to beat Australia because of his hatred for them. He bowled 220 overs in the Bodyline Series which was over 1000 deliveries in the sweltering Australian heat at lightning pace. He put his mind, body, and soul through hell for his captain and country and was later made a scapegoat for bitter relations between the England and Australian cricket boards. His career was never the same but his tale is legendary and Bodyline still remains famous to these days.
I highly recommend this book for any cricketing fan as it tells the story of a good man who was abandoned by his country for doing nothing more than obeying his captain and following orders.
As a cricketing fan myself, I’m upset I never got to see Larwood bowl on TV or live. He is a cricketer than inspires me and this book by Duncan Hamilton does great justice to one of cricket’s greatest.
READ AND REVIEWED BY DAIVIK
Daivik is our young guest blogger who loves reading. He has just finished his graduation in Economics and Environmental Science at Emory University, Atlanta and is currently looking to do some work experience before applying for a masters degree. He is an avid Indian cricket and Liverpool fan and enjoys craft beer