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Book Review
Silent Revolutions: Writings on Cricket History
Published: 2006
Pages: 324
Author: Gideon Haigh
Publisher: Aurum Press Ltd
Rating: 4 stars
By Archie Mac
29 Nov 2006


Mr Haigh is a busy man; this is one of three cricket books he has released in the month of November.

Silent Revolutions is the only one that features the writings of the author, but even this is a collection of previously published works.

The articles are mainly drawn from his work for Cricinfo, The Wisden Cricketer, Wisden Asia and the Melbourne Age, so some readers may be familiar with some of the content. Regardless, the quality of the writing demands a second perusal.

The articles selected are mainly dedicated to cricket and cricketers of past eras, and this always seems to bring out the best from Haigh - certainly his writing is less cynical then when he covers modern topics such as the ICC.

Not that he is afraid to criticise; his section on book reviews is quite brutal, as he is unimpressed with almost every offering - even perennial public favourite Kerry O'Keeffe is not spared:
"O'Keeffe is no Ranji Hordern or Arthur Mailey, true artists of whimsical self-deprecation. His writing is an uneasy mix of silliness, scatology and sentimentality, and the effect is wearing off even now; his efforts to branch out into stand-up comedy are more painful than an over of long hops". Ouch!

Poor Skull is not the only one in the authors sights. Steve Waugh, Viv Richards, Ricky Ponting and almost everyone else who has published a tour diary or biography of recent times feels the wrath of Mr. Haigh. The usual response to such critics is; 'let's see you do better' but unfortunately this does not fly with Haigh as he 'does better' almost every time he puts pen to paper.

Most of the book is very positive with some great pen portraits of past players. Most of these are lesser lights and are very informative and entertaining. His description of idiosyncrasies displayed by the 'Aunt Sallies' of the game (wicket-keepers), just confirms what batsman and bowlers have always suspected; that is, they are a little different, is cricket writing at its best.

With a picture of Archie MacLaren on the front, and the best modern cricket writer at the top of his game how could you go wrong? A must have for all cricket fans.

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