Hot off the press and delivered to DGA this morning are beautiful copies of Robert Winder's HALF-TIME: THE GLORIOUS SUMMER OF 1934. A fantastic account of an outstanding summer of English sport.
"Set against the backdrop of depression-era politics, 1934 was an annus mirabilis for English sport. Within just a few days of each other, Hedley Verity, Henry Cotton and Fred Perry all triumphed in their field. To a sporting audience still groaning through the quagmire left by the Great Depression, greedy for inspiring distractions, these heroic efforts made for a heady spectacle.
England's Ashes Test victory at Lord's (later known as Verity's match) saw Australia seeking revenge after the Bodyline series of 1932–33, but Verity bowled England to a famous innings victory, taking 15 wickets – 14 in one day! That same day, Cotton set out on the first qualifying round of the British Open. He went on to set a new Open record with a game so sparkling the Daily Express called it “the best round of golf ever played”. And within a fortnight, Perry had beaten Australia's Jack Crawford in the Wimbledon final. England had an extraordinary national hat-trick.
Together, these three contests and these three singular life stories weave a vivid portrait of an England that has faded from view. Half-Time celebrates a time of intense and rapid social and cultural change, a time that was both the last hurrah of the ancien regime and the stirring of something new. And moving through it, famous actors on a grand stage, are three very English heroes."
Pre-order the brilliant book, set for publication on 24th May, here via Wisden Sports Writing at Bloomsbury.