The astonishing feats of Sir Jack Hobbs continue to resonate more than a century after he first played Test cricket. During his long career that stretched from the age of W.G. Grace to the era of Don Bradman, he scored more first-class runs and centuries than any player. Even today, he remains England's greatest run-maker in Ashes Tests. He changed the art of batting with his elegant style, and transformed the status of professional cricketers through the strength of his quiet, dignified personality. Despite his significance in the game, there has never been a comprehensive biography of Hobbs. Now Leo McKinstry, the acclaimed author of a best-selling life of Geoff Boycott, has remedied that. Based on a wealth of new material, including interviews with the Hobbs family, the book provides fresh insights into every aspect of his story, from his poverty-stricken upbringing in Cambridge to his central role in some of Test cricket's most explosive series. It is a tale full of controversy, such as the previously unknown row over his actions in the First World War, when he was accused of 'scandalous behaviour' by the cricket establishment.
Other dramatic episodes include a bitter dispute over the England captaincy in the 1920s, as well as and two occasions when he came close to death. With its colourful detail, historical context and readable style, this ground-breaking book is an important addition to sports literature.
Leo McKinstry, born in Belfast in 1962, writes regularly for the Daily Express, the Daily Mail and the Spectator. He has written nine books, including a life of Geoff Boycott, which was recently named one of the finest cricket books written in a Wisden poll. His biography of Jack and Bobby Charlton was a top-ten bestseller and won the Sports Book of the Year award, while his study of Lord Rosebery won Channel Four Political Book of the year. Most recently he has written a trilogy about the RAF in the Second World War.
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