Harold Larwood.

By Duncan Hamilton

Printed: 2009

Publisher: Quercus. London

Edition: First edition

Dimensions 17 × 24 × 4 cm

Language: English

Size (cminches): 17 x 24 x 4

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In the original dustsheet. Black cloth binding with silver title on the spine.

  • F.B.A. provides an in-depth photographic presentation of this item to stimulate your feeling and touch. More traditional book descriptions are immediately available.

Winner of the William Hill Sports Book of the Year, this is the first ever biography of Harold Larwood. Larwood, one of the most talented, accurate and intimidating fast bowlers of all time is mainly remembered for his role in the infamous Bodyline series of 1932-3 which brought Anglo-Australian diplomatic relations to the brink of collapse. Larwood was made the scapegoat – and despite the fact he was simply following his captain’s instructions, he never played cricket for England again. Devastated by this betrayal, he eventually emigrated to Australia, where he was accepted by the country that had once despised him. Acclaimed author Duncan Hamilton has gained unprecedented access to the late sportsman’s family and archives to tell the story of a true working-class hero and cricketing legend.

Review: Astounding book,fantastically researched and written. A great read to a time gone by when values were so different to today. You feel as if you’re actually viewing history through a book. Essential reading for cricket fans interested in Bodyline but it’s more than just that,it’s about Harold Larwood from upbringing,work life and his cricket career and life after cricket who is still revered 27 years after his death.


Harold Larwood MBE (14 November 1904 – 22 July 1995) was a professional cricketer for Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club and the England cricket team between 1924 and 1938. A right-arm fast bowler who combined extreme speeds with great accuracy, he was considered by many players and commentators to be the finest and the fastest fast bowler of his generation and one of the fastest bowlers of all time. He was the main exponent of the bowling style known as “bodyline”, the use of which during the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) tour of Australia in 1932–33 caused a furore that brought about a premature and acrimonious end to his international career.

A coal miner’s son who began working in the mines at the age of 14, Larwood was recommended to Nottinghamshire on the basis of his performances in club cricket, and rapidly acquired a place among the country’s leading bowlers. He made his Test debut in 1926, in only his second season in first-class cricket, and was a member of the 1928–29 touring side that retained the Ashes in Australia. The advent of the Australian batsman Don Bradman ended a period of English cricket supremacy; Larwood and other bowlers were completely dominated by Bradman during Australia’s victorious tour of 1930. Thereafter, under the guidance of England’s combative captain Douglas Jardine, the fast leg theory or bodyline bowling attack was developed. With Larwood as its spearhead the tactic was used with considerable success in the 1932–33 Test series in Australia. The Australians’ description of the method as “unsportsmanlike” soured cricketing and political relations between the two countries; during subsequent efforts to heal the breach, Larwood refused to apologise for his bowling, since he was carrying out his captain’s instructions. He never played for England after the 1932–33 tour, but continued his county career with considerable success for several more seasons.

In 1949, after years out of the limelight, Larwood was elected to honorary membership of the MCC. The following year he and his family were encouraged by former opponent Jack Fingleton to emigrate and settle in Australia, where he was warmly welcomed, in contrast to the reception accorded him in his cricketing days. He worked for a soft drinks firm, and as an occasional reporter and commentator on Tests against visiting England sides. He paid several visits to England, and was honoured at his old county ground, Trent Bridge, where a stand was named after him. In 1993, at the age of 88, he was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in belated recognition of his services to cricket. He died two years later.

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