English take on epic Scottish triumph hailed as one of finest books on rugby


After John Carlin’s Playing The Enemy proved that a book about rugby could find an audience beyond the sport’s traditional fans -- and provided the inspiration for the movie Invictus -- Tom English repeated the trick with The Grudge.
The story of the 1990 Calcutta Cup, an epic match that not only decided the Grand Slam in Scotland’s favour but came to be symbolic of the political climate of the time, brought acclaim for English and a place on the long list for the 2010 William Hill Sports Book of the Year award.
It might have made the shortlist, too, had Brian Moore’s Beware of the Dog not taken pole position as the year’s outstanding rugby book.  Moore, ironically, is one of the key characters in The Grudge.
As it is, The Grudge is re-released in paperback with no shortage of endorsements.
Stephen Jones, rugby correspondent of the Sunday Times, hailed it as “the finest book written on the tournament” praising English for “an absolutely outstanding work, weaving in the strands of history, politics, sociology, dislike and tactical nous, which makes the game probably the most remarkable ever played in the grand old tournament.”
The Glasgow Herald said it was “superb ... a fantastic drama“ encapsulating the political backdrop, centred on Scottish fury at English Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher‘s imposition of the poll tax, that “gave the occasion its power, its glory and its ultimate significance.”
The Scottish Review of Books called it “a marvellous book, in its way as gripping as that season and the match itself.”
Tom English is actually an Irishman, born in Limerick in 1969. He began his career at the Sunday Times in London but is now chief sports writer for Scotland on Sunday. In 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 he was named Scottish Sports Feature Writer of the Year. 

The Grudge: Two Nations, One Match, No Holds Barred is published by Yellow Jersey Press. Click on the link to order from Amazon.



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