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Cricket in the First World War (Hardback)

Play up! Play the Game

Hobbies & Lifestyle > Sport P&S History > Social History WWI

By John Broom
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 272
Illustrations: Integrated black and white illustrations
ISBN: 9781526780133
Published: 17th March 2022

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As Europe descended into war over the summer of 1914, cricket in England continued as it had for the preceding few decades. Counties continued with their championship programme, clubs in the North and Midlands maintained their league and cup rivalries whilst less competitive clubs elsewhere enjoyed friendly matches. However, voices were soon raised in criticism of this ‘business as usual’ approach – most notably that of cricket’s Grand Old Man, W.G. Grace. Names became absent from first-class and club scorecards as players left for military service and by the end of the year it was clear that 1915’s cricket season would be very different.

And so it would continue for four summers. Rolls of honour lengthened as did the grim lists of cricket’s dead and maimed. Some club cricket did continue in wartime Britain, often amidst bitter disputes as to its appropriateness. Charity matches were organised to align the game with the national war effort.

As the British Empire rallied behind the mother country, so cricket around the world became restricted and players from far and wide joined the sad ranks of sacrifice.

Cricket emerged into the post-war world initially unsure of itself but the efforts that had been made to sustain the game’s infrastructure during the conflict ensured that it would experience a second golden age between the wars.

This wonderful book is the perfect gift for a cricket fan who is also interested in the First World War.

Read the full review here

Fascinating Facts Of The Great War

This book, John Broom’s follow up to last year’s excellent Cricket in the Second World War: The Grim Test, has been in the schedules for a while. It follows a number of books on the subject of cricket and the Great War that have emerged since the 2014 centenary of the beginning of that appalling conflict.

4.5 stars

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Cricket Web

Review as featured: 'Cricket generation wiped out by war'

Highlight: The book is smoothly written and well illustrated, and it would not surprise if the research and general effort left the author somewhat exhausted.

The Cricketer

There is a nice Memoriam section at the back of the book that feels quite fitting, I should also say that there is an excellent sources section too that spans the globe, ideal for those interested in further reading. This book has been very well researched and written and I really enjoy a John Broom cricket book.

Read the full review here

The History Fella

What I liked about this book was the descriptions of what happened to individual players, where they served, and how service affected their playing careers, Including the lad who lost an arm, yet still managed a first class cricket career after the War.

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Arrse

'As with The Grim Test, Play Up and Play the Game! is highly recommended.'

Read full review here

Martin Chandler

As featured in

The Bookseller

As featured in

The Bookseller

A very good account of cricket in the Great War that is supported by excellent sources. The outcome is a comprehensive narrative that skilfully blends the story of individuals with the overall context for cricket and the arguments for and against its continuation in wartime. Another reviewer has suggested that collating all this information must have exhausted the author however this is certainly not an exhausting read. It flows wonderfully and anybody with an interest in cricket will value it.

Michael McCarthy. Battlefield Guide

Michael McCarthy
 John Broom

About John Broom

After graduating in History from the University of Sheffield in the early 1990s, JOHN BROOM pursued a career in teaching, firstly in his chosen subject and latterly with children with autism. He has been awarded a PhD on Christianity in the British Armed Services by the University of Durham. John has a wide-ranging knowledge and interest in social, sporting, industrial and military history, and is the author of eight published books: Cricket in the First World War: Play Up! Play the Game (Pen & Sword, 2022), Cricket in the Second World War: The Grim Test (Pen & Sword, 2021), Reported Missing in the Great War: 100 years of searching for the truth (Pen & Sword, 2020); Faithful in Adversity: The Royal Army Medical Corps in the Second World War (Pen & Sword, 2019); Opposition to the Second World War: Conscience, Resistance and Service in Britain, 1933–45 (Pen & Sword, 2018); A History of Cigarette and Trade Cards (Pen & Sword, 2018); Fight the Good Fight: Voices of Faith from the Second World War (Pen & Sword, 2016); Fight the Good Fight: Voices of Faith from the First World War (Pen & Sword, 2015).

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