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Five for Father’s Day

The Sports Bookshelf offers some timely advice for anyone stuck on what to give the sports-loving man/boy in their life on June 20 with a selection of five sports books new in the shops. Follow the highlighted links to buy.

No Holding Back: The Autobiography(Michael Holding; W&N)

The former West Indies fast bowler wrote about his career in cricket in his 1993 autobiography Whispering Death.  In this new look back, Holding retraces his time on the field but devotes equal priority to his views on many issues in the game from his position as respected media commentator.  He is particularly forthright on Sir Allen Stanford’s ill-fated involvement with England and the West Indies, on illegal bowling actions, on the decline of cricket in his native Caribbean and on the consequences of Twenty20’s seemingly unstoppable growth.

Why England Lose: And other curious phenomena explained(Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski; Harper Collins)

Written by a football writer (Kuper) and an economist, this is a fascinating book that seeks to explain not only the question posed by the title but many others for which no one seems yet to have found a convincing explanation.  In doing so it challenges many a tired assumption or age-old cliché, using data analysis to support many fresh but entirely plausible ways to look at football and show that the seemingly inexplicable is often all too easy to predict.

Anyone for Tennis?: The Telegraph Book of Wimbledon (Daily Telegraph; edited by Martin Smith)

In the 133 years since the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club launched its Championships, what we now know as Wimbledon has become the most prestigious tennis event on the world calendar
and, some would argue, Britain’s biggest sports and social festival.  In this new history, former Daily Telegraph assistant sports editor Martin Smith has trawled the archives and skilfully assembled some of that newspaper’s best writing on tennis to present a wonderful portrait of the Championships from 1877 to the present day.

Boy Racer (Mark Cavendish; Ebury)

Just out in paperback, Boy Racer tells the story of the British cyclist who has stormed to fame through the Tour de France over the last couple of years, winning four stages -- unprecedented for a British entrant -- in 2008 but eclipsing that feat by winning six in 2009.  Regarded as the fastest sprint cyclist in the world, Cavendish is favourite to take the Green Jersey at this summer’s event.

Death or Glory! - The Dark History of the World Cup (Jon Spurling; Vision Sports Publishing)

Spurling, hitherto known as the author of several books about Arsenal football club, has gone well beyond north London to research a dramatic and disturbing tale of political involvement in the world’s greatest football events, and how both recognisable despots and more covert political manipulators have used the tournament to further their own dishonourable aims.

For more sports books visit The Sports Bookshelf Shop.

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