In this first definitive history of a great sporting institution, Simon Wilde charts the turbulent story of a team that, in its early days, lacked a home or controlling body before being appropriated by a private club, the MCC, and deployed overseas as virtually a diplomatic arm of empire. He traces the historic tensions between amateurs and professionals, and the team's modern battles for independence from the counties and control of players tempted to put cash-rich Twenty20 leagues before country.
"This book, indispensable to any serious cricket lover, is an important work of scholarly synthesis which establishes Wilde as one of our foremost cricket historians".
Peter Oborne, The Spectator
"Another wonderful sports book on the shelves this summer is a brilliantly presented history of English cricket written by Simon Wilde. Not only does it cover all the major matches, issues and controversies of our national summer game, it is also speckled liberally with fascinating lists and statistics . . . The book is simply a treat".
Jim Holden, Sunday Express
"An impressive and comprehensive gem . . . superbly researched and brilliantly delivered. It is going to . . . be indispensable. It needs to be read, and it deserves to sell well"
Huw Turbervill, The Cricketer
"Fellow [cricket] tragics will love this book, issued in the summer of England’s 1,000th Test match. Even the title – England: The Biography – deserves a round of applause for presuming that the nation is synonymous with cricket . . . The book’s greatest joys are its footnotes"
Francis Wheen, Mail on Sunday
"An astonishing work of research, detail and revelation. Bulging with information, packed with nuggets".
John Etheridge, Sun
"[A] superbly researched piece of work ... His eye for detail never wavers; he never cuts any corners. It’s a pleasure to read but also works as a reference book".
Vic Marks, Observer