Alfred James Gaston: A Study in Enthusiasm

Published: 1975
Pages: 11
Author: Rosenwater, Irving
Publisher: Private
Rating: 3 stars

Like so many of Rosenwater’s subjects Alfred Gaston’s name means little in the 21st century, except to those with an interest in cricketing memorabilia or, perhaps, Sussex devotees.

Gaston was born in 1854, and died in 1928, so almost a century ago now. In those circumstances Rosenwater can never have met Gaston but, clearly, regards him with a degree of affection albeit he is, in this biographical sketch, a little condescending about his writing and researching abilities.

Always a man of Sussex Gaston was involved in the book trade and, in his own right, dealt in cricket books and wrote on the game and it’s bibliography. There were no major books from Gaston, but he wrote a well known history of Sussex cricket that was published in 1923 and, under the byline of ‘Leatherhunter’, wrote many pieces that appeared in the local press in Sussex as well as producing a few pamphlets.

Despite not knowing Gaston personally Rosenwater clearly had access to at least some of his correspondence and would inevitably have known people who had been well known to Gaston. That he could have constructed a decent monograph just from Gaston’s cricketing activities I have no doubt, but somehow Rosenwater also managed to get chapter and verse on Gaston’s family and aspects of his life beyond his involvement in cricket.

Having read some of Gaston’s work I have to concede that the critique of Gaston’s work is entirely fair and the entire monograph is an entertaining look back at the life of a cricket lover who was very much ‘of his time’.

Alfred James Gaston: A Study in Enthusiasm was privately published in a limited edition of 50 signed and numbered copies, so there are copies available with the main dealers. For those who would be interested in learning more about Gaston without that outlay then the alternative if to get your hands on Issue 3 of Volume 7 of the Journal of the Cricket Society.

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