The Green and Golden AgeStuart Wark |
Author: Gideon Haigh
Publisher: Black Ink.
Rating: 4 stars
There are writers and there are authors. A writer is someone who can successfully put words on a page and manage to convey the appropriate meaning to the reader. However, it is an author can bring words to life, and make them dance around inside your head. There are many successful writers in the world, but not many great authors. The sporting world is lucky that Gideon Haigh uses cricket as one of his mediums. Haigh is undoubtedly an author of the highest quality, but importantly for us, he is an author that choses to write about cricket. There are many journalists who can write about cricket, but very few authors who do so.
Haigh has written and edited in excess of twenty books about sport, business and general interest over the past two decades. He has written extensively for major newspapers including the Financial Times, Australian Financial Review, the Age and most major Australian broadsheets. His books include both analyses of business (The Battle for BHP, One of a Kind: The Story of Bankers Trust Australia, and Bad Company: The Strange Cult of The CEO) and cricket (The Big Ship : The Warwick Armstrong Story, The Cricket War: The Inside Story of Kerry Packer’s World Series, and Mystery Spinner: The Story of Jack Iverson). He has also edited many books, including the Australian Wisden Almanack and Endless Summer: 140 Years Of Australian Cricket in Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack. Haigh’s most recent book, The (Green and) Golden Age is a collection of his essays from the past decade.
The (Green and) Golden Age is, as most readers will realize from the title, focused on the last decade of cricket in which Australia has been largely dominant. It begins with a piece written about Mark Taylor on the day he announced his retirement, and then covers a diverse range of topics including the bookie scandals involving Mark Waugh and Shane Warne, the various Ashes triumphs and failures, book reviews, umpiring and injuries. Haigh also includes articles about less famous individuals such as the Western Australia stalwart Jo Angel and legendary batswoman Belinda Clark.
Haigh is able, through clever turn of phrase, to successfully review events and turn the mundane into the interesting. A small criticism of his work is that at times Haigh appears almost too verbose, but never to the extent of being pretentious. This issue is a minor one, as it does not distract the reader from their task, and is perhaps a demonstration of his mastery of the English language.
As with Silent Revolutions, The (Green and) Golden Age is a collection of previously published articles and pieces. It is a slight disappointment that Haigh does not produce more books focused on specific individuals or particular topics, and whilst this book is a great demonstration of an author at the top of his game, I am very keen to see his next full-length work. Until that time, however, collections such as The (Green and) Golden Age are still highly worth reading.