That Will Be England Gone
Included in the Financial Times best books of 2020 selection
‘For those who fear the worst for the sport they love, this is like cool, clear water for a man dying of thirst. It’s barnstorming, coruscating stuff, and as fine a book about the game as you’ll read for years’ Mail on Sunday
‘Charming . . . a threnody for a vanished and possibly mythical England’ Sebastian Faulks, Sunday Times
‘Lyrical . . . [Henderson’s] pen is filled with the romantic spirit of the great Neville Cardus . . . This book is an extended love letter, a beautifully written one, to a world that he is desperate to keep alive for others to discover and share. Not just his love of cricket, either, but of poetry and classical music and fine cinema’ The Times (best summer books)
‘To those who love both cricket and the context in which it is played, the book is rather wonderful, and moving’ Daily Telegraph
‘Philip Larkin’s line ‘that will be England gone’ is the premise of this fascinating book which is about music, literature, poetry and architecture as well as cricket. Henderson is that rare bird, a reporter with a fine grasp of time and place, but also a stylist of enviable quality and perception’ Michael Parkinson
Neville Cardus once said there could be no summer in England without cricket.
The 2019 season was supposed to be the greatest summer of cricket ever seen in England. There was a World Cup, followed by five Test matches against Australia in the latest engagement of sport’s oldest rivalry. It was also the last season of county cricket before the introduction in 2020 of a new tournament, The Hundred, designed to attract an audience of younger people who have no interest in the summer game.
In That Will Be England Gone, Michael Henderson revisits much-loved places to see how the game he grew up with has changed since the day in 1965 that he saw the great fast bowler Fred Trueman in his pomp. He watches schoolboys at Repton, club cricketers at Ramsbottom, and professionals on the festival grounds of Chesterfield, Cheltenham and Scarborough. The rolling English road takes him to Leicester for T20, to Lord’s for the most ceremonial Test match, and to Taunton to watch an old cricketer leave the crease for the last time. He is enchanted at Trent Bridge, surprised at the Oval, and troubled at Old Trafford.
‘Cricket,’ Henderson says, ‘has always been part of my other life.’ There are memories of friendships with Ken Dodd, Harold Pinter and Simon Rattle, and the book is coloured throughout by a love of landscape, poetry, paintings and music. As well as reflections on his childhood hero, Farokh Engineer, and other great players, there are digressions on subjects as various as Lancashire comedians, Viennese melancholy and the films of Michael Powell.
Lyrical and elegiac, That Will Be England Gone is a deeply personal tribute to cricket, summer and England.
Wonderful elegy to a game that, way more than any other, defines our shared identity . . . a timely reminder of what is missing from our lives in cricket's absence -- Jim White * The Oldie * It would perhaps be a mistake to regard this as purely a cricket book. Each excursion to a cricket ground is preceded and accompanied by extensive digressions elsewhere. But the digressions are not wandering from the point, but carefully crafted scene-setting as Henderson provides the social, artistic and historical context for the cricket he witnesses. Rather than purely a cricket book, this is an elegy for a vanishing world with cricket as its framework -- Richard Lawrence * The Journal of the Association of Cricket Statisticians and Historians * Erudite . . . genuinely beautiful * Wisden Cricket Monthly * All good sports books are about more than just sport, and this anti-modern elegy to an old rural England takes in countless bypaths from Vienna to Ken Dodd . . . Erudite and occasionally beautiful * Financial Times * Beautifully written piece of work . . . wonderful book - not just a sports book, which is why it is so good - is to be reminded, or even educated, of what it means to be English and of England's history * Yorkshire Post * One of my favourite writers about cricket -- Martin Samuel * Daily Mail * A travelogue and a love letter to the festival and spa towns of England and in particular to the places where county cricket is played . . . Henderson writes beautifully about Cheltenham and Chesterfield and Trent Bridge in Nottingham, his favourite Test ground. You do not need to love cricket to feel the point -- Philip Collins * The Times * In a work that now seems improbably prescient, that same sense of gazing at a disappearing world has been articulated with great skill and, most of all, great affection by Michael Henderson . . . The book - a paean to the sub-culture of county cricket, its supporters, its players, its observers, its writers, its pubs and its arenas - was completed before the coronavirus crisis struck but its premise seems more pertinent than ever -- Oliver Holt * Mail on Sunday * Englishness itself, as much as cricket, is the main theme of Michael Henderson's genre-melding That Will Be England Gone . . . extremely readable . . . often amusing . . . That Will be England Gone is part memoir, part sports book, part essay . . . Given that this may be a summer without leather and willow, and that coughing has become taboo, Henderson's book provides a much-needed literary-cricketing alternative: a beautiful clearing of the throat -- Daniel Rey * Spectator * It is about cricket but also about much more: landscape, place, poetry, music, national mythology . . . This is the book's authentic register, and it is haunted by loss -- Jason Cowley * New Statesman * To those who love both cricket and the context in which it is played, the book is rather wonderful, and moving -- Simon Heffer * Daily Telegraph * Lyrical . . . [Henderson's] pen is filled with the romantic spirit of the great Neville Cardus . . . This book is an extended love letter, a beautifully written one, to a world that he is desperate to keep alive for others to discover and share. Not just his love of cricket, either, but of poetry and classical music and fine cinema . . . A book that started out as an elegy for a changing game seems more poignant now -- Patrick Kidd * The Times * Charming . . . a threnody for a vanished and possibly mythical England -- Sebastian Faulks * Sunday Times * Admirers of Neville Cardus and A. E. Housman will warm to Michael Henderson's elegy for an ideal England. A rich roast dinner of cricket, music, topography, nostalgia and anecdote, washed down with prose as smooth and satisfying as a pint of Otter Ale * Sebastian Faulks * Philip Larkin's line "that will be England gone" is the premise of this fascinating book which is about music, literature, poetry and films as well as cricket. Henderson is that rare bird, a reporter with a fine grasp of time and place, but also a stylist of enviable quality and perception * Michael Parkinson * Michael Henderson is one of the most knowledgeable writers there is about the summer game. In this vibrant chronicle of the 2019 cricket season, he travels around England taking the temperature of the sport he loves. The result is pure gold . . . The book is also a love poem to an England fast disappearing . . . For those who fear the worst for the sport they love, this is like cool, clear water for a man dying of thirst. It's barnstorming, coruscating stuff, and as fine a book about the game as you'll read for years -- Michael Simkins * Mail on Sunday * Absolutely and completely loved this book by Michael Henderson - love letter, memoir, lament, polemic. Read, in place of cricket * Marina Hyde *
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