Fotheringham on Bernard Hinault, David Gower on his 50 best cricketers and Norman Giller on Muhammad Ali among latest titles



Bernard Hinault and the Fall and Rise of French Cycling, by William Fotheringham (Yellow Jersey)

The striking from the record of Lance Armstong's seven wins reinstated Bernard Hinault as the champion of multiple Tour de France victories, jointly with his French compatriot Jacques Anquetil, the legendary Belgian Eddy Merckx and Spain's Miguel Indurain, all of whom won the race five times.

Yet three decades on from his retirement, Hinault remains the last Frenchman to win the Tour. His victory in 1985 marks the turning point when the nation who had dominated the first eight decades of the race they had invented suddenly found they were no longer able to win it.

Hinault was a larger-than-life character from a working-class background.  Nicknamed the 'Badger' for his combative style, he led a cyclists’ strike in his first Tour and instigated a legendary punch-up with political demonstrators who brought the 1982 race to a halt.  Hinault's battles with team-mates Laurent Fignon and Greg LeMond provide some of the greatest moments in Tour history.

In Bernard Hinault and the Fall and Rise of French Cycling, the author and journalist author William Fotheringham, whose back catalogue includes a best-selling portrait of Eddy Merckz, unravels this fascinating character and explores the reasons why the nation that considers itself cycling’s home has found it so hard to produce another champion.

Fotheringham, who covers cycling for the Guardian and Observer, is the author of Merckx: Half Man, Half Bike as well as Fallen Angel: The Passion of Fausto Coppi and Put Me Back On My Bike: In Search of Tom Simpson, plus Roule Britannia: Great Britain and the Tour de France.


David Gower's 50 Greatest Cricketers of All Time (Icon Books)

David Gower, the former England captain and batting stylist, attempts to name his 50 greatest players of all time, a task he confesses what much more difficult even than he imagined.  it was, he says in the introduction, subject to several revisions, which should at least reassure the reader that he took the process seriously.

The list covers every era, not only his own, although his descriptions of his contemporaries benefit from some illuminating first-hand recollections and anecdotes. Who was the best of the great West Indian quicks? Have England heroes like Geoff Boycott, Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Flintoff made the cut? Who has been the greatest Australian batsman, post-Bradman? All is revealed in this lively and contentious celebration of cricket's true greats.

Pietersen does make the list, coming in somewhat further down the pecking order than some would put him.  Gower admits there were grounds for leaving him out over his behaviour but reckons it would have been unjust to do so, not least because the outrageous talent that many assume was a gift was actually developed through endless hours of practice.

Gower's top 10 reveals, not surprisingly, a bias towards batsmen.  It also contains four West Indians, three Englishmen, two Australians and one Indian. but that's where the clues end.


The Ali Files: His Fights, His Foes, His Fees, His Feats, His Fate, by Norman Giller (Pitch Publishing)

Although it is more than 30 years since Muhammad Ali last threw a punch, he remains probably the best-known sportsman of all time.  A whole generation now only know the legend of The Greatest, never saw him fight, and yet are in awe of the man, his fantastic feats and his unique character.

Norman Giller, the British journalist and author, became friends with Ali when he worked as his European publicist, and he has gathered many other intimate eyewitnesses, among them opponents, referees, trainers, sparring partners, celebrity fans and ringside reporters, to recall Ali's astonishing adventures in and out of the ring.

Millions of words have been written about ringmaster Ali, but few books have concentrated on the 61 professional contests that turned him into a sporting legend. The Ali Files will give you a ringside seat to the greatest boxing career of all time.


Athletics 2015: The International Track & Field Annual, edited by Peter Matthews (Sportsbooks)

Now in its 129th year, the 2015 edition of the athletics bible features French pole vaulter Renaud Lavillenie as its front cover star, following his 2014 achievement that many thought was impossible, namely to break the great Sergey Bubka’s world record. 

Not only that he had the nerve to better it in Bubka's hometown of Donetsk, Ukraine. He also claimed his third European title, won the overall Diamond League title and extended his unbeaten streak to 21 competitions before he failed to clear a height in Stockholm. As usual the annual is packed full of essential information for the track and field enthusiast, with results and reports from all major championships.

Motor Racing

Stirling Moss: My Racing Life, by Sir Stirling Moss with Simon Taylor (Evro Publishing)

In a book published to mark the 60th anniversary of Moss' famous win in the 1955 Mille Miglia road race in a Mercedes 300SLR, Stirling Moss guides the reader through his motor racing life with a fascinating, insightful and often amusing commentary to an unrivalled collection of over 300 photographs, many of which will be unfamiliar to even his most ardent fans.

He takes us from his childhood to the height of his fame as 'Mr Motor Racing' and then to the sudden end of his career with that crash at Goodwood in 1962. Along the way, the reader can dwell on his finest moments as well as the setbacks, including that 1955 Mercedes season and its twin highlights a winning the Mille Miglia and the British Grand Prix and his two brilliant Formula One seasons with the British team Vanwall, as well as his two celebrated Monaco Grand Prix wins for Rob Walker.

There is a foreword by 2014 Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton.



Field of Shadows, Dan Waddell's story of an English cricket tour of Nazi Germany, is Cricket Society-MCC Book of the Year for 2015

  • Novelist and genealogy expert pips strong field

  • Favourite Wounded Tiger misses out

  • Another 'snub' for Kevin Pietersen

Journalist and historical novelist Dan Waddell has won the Cricket Society/MCC Book of the Year award for his book about an English cricket team's tour of Nazi Germany - Field of Shadows.

Waddell traces the story of a three-match series played in Berlin in 1937 by a team called the Gentlemen of Worcestershire, a disparate collection of mavericks, minor nobility, ex-county cricketers, rich businessmen and schoolboys led former Worcestershire County Cricket Club skipper Major Maurice Jewell, who agreed to play in unofficial Test matches against Germany, whose Nazi sports minister, Hans von Tschammer und Osten, had hit upon the idea on a visit to Lords.

According to one reviewer, Waddell "maintains a deft balance between amiable cricketing encounters and the encroaching horrors of Nazi Germany in a narrative that blends the amusing, touching and chilling."

Waddell reveals that the Gents would acquit themselves as honourably on the battlefield as they did on the playing fields of Berlin. Peter Huntington-Whiteley, who took three wickets in the space of 10 minutes in one match, became an officer in the Royal Marines. He was killed, according to dispatches, while displaying outstanding bravery at Le Havre soon after D-Day, aged just 24.

The author has a diverse back catalogue that includes Who Do You Think You Are?, the book that accompanied the popular BBC TV series of the same name, and a couple of detective novels in which he draws on his interest in genealogy to bring an intriguing element to the crime solving process.

Field of Shadows, published by Bantam Press, found favour with the judges ahead of five other shortlisted books, including Peter Oborne's highly-regarded history of Pakistan cricket, Wounded Tiger, two books about former England batsman Kevin Pietersen and 10 for 10: Hedley Verity and the Story of Cricket's Greatest Bowling Feat, by previous winner Chris Waters.  A paperback edition of the winning title is due out next Thursday.

Waddell collected a £3,000 award, presented by former award winner and Cricket Society President John Barclay during a Long Room dinner at Lord's.

The competition, run by The Cricket Society since 1970 and in partnership with MCC since 2009, is for books nominated by members of both organisations and not publishers. It is highly regarded by writers and publishers, among whom former Wisden editor Scyld Berry hailed the award as "cricket’s seal of literary approval."

The five other books on the shortlist (alphabetically by author) were:

Peter Oborne's Wounded Tiger: The History of Cricket in Pakistan (Simon and Schuster)
Kevin Pietersen’s KP: The Autobiography (Little, Brown)
Christopher Sandford's The Final Over: The Cricketers of Summer 1914 (The History Press)
Chris Waters's 10 for 10: Hedley Verity and the Story of Cricket's Greatest Bowling Feat (Bloomsbury)
Simon Wilde’s On Pietersen (Simon and Schuster)

Buy Field of Shadows: The English Cricket Tour of Nazi Germany 1937, by Dan Waddell



Cross British Sports Book Awards: Bill Jones, Chris Waters, Stewart Taylor and Nick Townsend take on headline names

  • Triple nomination for Roy Keane bestseller

  • Bobby Moore: The Man in Full also named in three categories

  • Trueman author Waters in contention with 10 for 10

  • Townsend's The Sure Thing stands out among racing books

The shortlists for the 2015 British Sports Book Awards include some predictable nominations as well as some that did not make the bestseller lists but win some well deserved recognition.

Familiar titles include The Second Half, the memoir penned on Roy Keane's behalf by Booker Prize-winning novelist Roddy Doyle, which is nominated in three categories.

Other well-known names among this year's 10 categories include rugby stars Brian O’Driscoll, whose The Test is shortlisted for  Rugby Book of the Year and Autobiography sections, and Gareth Thomas, also nominated in Rugby and Autobiography for Proud, on which he collaborated with Michael Calvin, whose own book, The Nowhere Men, won the Football category and the vote for overall Sports Book of the Year in 2014.

Motorcycling champion and TV presenter Guy Martin, whose autobiography was one of the publishing sensations of 2014, makes the Autobiography shortlist along with Ryder Cup golfer Ian Poulter and two cycling champions, Tour de France winner Chris Froome and Olympic champion Nicola Cooke.

No surprise either to see Matt Dickinson's excellent biography Bobby Moore: The Man in Full nominated in the Biography, Football and Outstanding General Writing categories, or for Peter Oborne's Wounded Tiger: The History of Cricket in Pakistan, to make the Cricket section.
Pleasingly, there are several authors in the running whose books did not attract such attention but are no less worthy of their place among the candidates.

These include Chris Waters, cricket correspondent of The Yorkshire Post, who won Cricket Book of the Year in 2012 for his excellent biography of Fred Trueman and is shortlisted in that grouping for 10 for 10: Hedley Verity and the Story of Cricket's Greatest Bowling Feat.

Bill Jones, who was Best New Writer in 2012 for Ghost Runner, is nominated in the Biography and Outstanding General Writing lists for Alone: The Triumph and Tragedy of John Curry.

John Carlin, a fine journalist with expertise in politics and sport and an intimate knowledge of Spain and South Africa, is nominated in the Biography category for his portrait of Oscar Pistorius, from his remarkable rise to his dramatic fall.

The Biography nominations also include the late Jonathan Rendall's posthumously published Scream: The Tyson Tapes, based on a manuscript for a full biography of world heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson that he never completed, which was discovered in a bin bag of his possessions after his death.

David Goldblatt's The Game of Our Lives is another that stands out among those put forward in the Outstanding General Writing category.  Goldblatt presents a history of football in post-Thatcher Britain, based on his own personal observations as well as much detailed research, in what is a superbly crafted analysis of the game, where it has been and where it is now, set in a socio-economic as well as sporting context.

Special mention needs to be made, too, in the Horse Racing category of Nick Townsend's The Sure Thing: The Greatest Coup in Horse Racing History, in which he tells the story of renowned gambler Barney Curley, who took the bookmakers for £300,000 with a famous coup in 1975, and who decided 35 years later he would plan another spectacular event, this time collecting close to £4 million.

And last but not least there is Stuck in a Moment: The Ballad of Paul Vaessen, the Arsenal player who scored one of the most famous goals in the club's history at the age of 18 but then suffered a career-ending injury, which forced him out of the game and into a life of drug addiction and petty crime that led to his death, penniless, at just 39.  Stewart Taylor's superbly researched and beautifully written portrait puts him in the running for New Writer of the Year, in which Night Games, which won the 2014 William Hill Sports Book of the Year prize for Australian author Anna Klein, is also a contender.

For the first time in the awards’ 13 years history there will be an award for Cycling Book of the Year, recognising the huge rise in sports writing in this area. Among the contenders for this award are Richard Moore’s Étape, Ned Boulting’s 101 Damnations, and The Race Against the Stasi by Herbie Sykes.

The awards have a new sponsor this year in Cross, the makers of high quality writing instruments.  Winners will be announced at a ceremony hosted by BBC Cricket Correspondent Jonathan Agnew at Lord’s Cricket Ground on Wednesday, June 3.  An hour-long highlights show will be shown on Sky Sports after June 7.

The shortlists in full:


Guy Martin: My Autobiography, by Guy Martin (Virgin Books)
No Limits: My Autobiography, by Ian Poulter (Quercus)
Proud: My Autobiography, by Gareth Thomas (Ebury Press)
The Breakaway: My Story, by Nicole Cooke (Simon & Schuster)
The Climb: The Autobiography, by Chris Froome (Viking)
The Second Half, by Roy Keane with Roddy Doyle (W & N)


Alone: The Triumph and Tragedy of John Curry  by Bill Jones (Bloomsbury)
Bobby Moore: The Man in Full, by Matt Dickinson (Yellow Jersey)
Chase Your Shadow: The Trials of Oscar Pistorius, by John Carlin (Atlantic Books)
One Day as A Tiger: Alex Macintyre and the Birth of Light and Fast Alpinism, by John Porter (Vertebrate Books)
Scream: The Tyson Tapes, by Jonathan Rendall (Short Books)
Shadows on the Road: Life at the Heart of the Peloton, from US Postal to Team Sky, by Michael Barry (Faber & Faber)


Bobby Moore: The Man in Full, by Matt Dickinson (Yellow Jersey)
I Don't Know What It Is But I Love It: Liverpool's Unforgettable 1983-84 Season, by Tony Evans (Penguin)
The Boy in Brazil: Living, Loving and Learning in the Land of Football, by Seth Burkett (Floodlit Dreams)
Fergie Rises: How Britain's Greatest Football Manager Was Made At Aberdeen, by Michael Grant (Aurum Press)
The Second Half, by Roy Keane with Roddy Doyle (W & N)
Thirty-One Nil: On the Road With Football's Outsiders, by James Montague (Bloomsbury)
In Search of Duncan Ferguson: The Life and Crimes of a Footballing Enigma, by Alan Pattullo (Mainstream)


Beyond the Horizon: Extreme Adventures at the Edge of the World, by Richard Parks (Sphere)
Behind the Rose: Playing Rugby for England, by Stephen Jones and Nick Cain (Arena Sport)
The Test: My Autobiography, by Brian O’Driscoll
Proud: My Autobiography, by Gareth Thomas (Ebury Press)
The Secret Life of Twickenham: The Story of Rugby Union's Iconic Fortress, The Players, Staff and Fans, by Chris Jones (Aurum Press)
Undefeated - The Story of the 1974 Lions, by Rhodri Davies (Y Lolfa Cyf)


10 for 10: Hedley Verity and the Story of Cricket's Greatest Bowling Feat, by Chris Waters (Wisden)
Britain's Lost Cricket Festivals: The Idyllic Club Grounds that Will Never Again Host the World's Best Players, by Chris Arnot (Aurum Press)
Field of Shadows: The English Cricket Tour of Nazi Germany 1937, by Dan Waddell (Bantam Press)
The Final Over: The Cricketers of Summer 1914, by Christopher Sandford (History Press)
Wisden on the Great War: The Lives of Cricket's Fallen 1914-1918, edited by Andrew Renshaw (Wisden)
Wounded Tiger: A History of Cricket in Pakistan, by Peter Oborne (Simon & Schuster)


Burrough Hill Lad: The Making of a Champion Racehorse, by Gavan Naden and Max Riddington (Chequered Flag Books)
Cheltenham et AL: The Best of Alastair Down, by Alastair Down (Racing Post Books)
If Horses Could Talk, by Gary Witheford (Racing Post Books)
McCoy: In the Frame, by Edward Whitaker (Racing Post Books)
The Sure Thing: The Greatest Coup in Horse Racing History, by Nick Townsend (Century)
William Hill: The Man & The Business, by Graham Sharpe with Mihir Bose (Racing Post Books)


Climbs and Punishment, by Felix Lowe (Corgi)
Etape: The untold stories of the Tour de France's defining stages, by Richard Moore (HarperSport)
Gironimo!: Riding the Very Terrible 1914 Tour of Italy, by Tim Moore (Yellow Jersey)
Great British Cycling: The History of British Bike Racing, by Ellis Bacon (Bantam Press)
The Race Against the Stasi: The Incredible Story of Dieter Wiedemann, The Iron Curtain and The Greatest Cycling Race on Earth, by Herbie Sykes (Aurum Press)
101 Damnations: Dispatches from the 101st Tour de France, by Ned Boulting (Yellow Jersey)


Alone: The Triumph and Tragedy of John Curry, by Bill Jones (Bloomsbury)
Bobby Moore: The Man in Full, by Matt Dickinson (Yellow Jersey)
The Second Half, by Roy Keane with Roddy Doyle (W & N)
O, Louis: In Search of Louis van Gaal, by Hugo Borst (Yellow Jersey)
The Game of Our Lives: The Meaning and Making of English Football, by David Goldblatt (Penguin)
The Race Against the Stasi: The Incredible Story of Dieter Wiedemann, The Iron Curtain and The Greatest Cycling Race on Earth, by Herbie Sykes (Aurum Press)


Driven, by Toby Vintcent (Moreton Street Books)
Finding My Feet: Claire Lomas, by Claire Lomas (Claire Lomas)
Night Games: Sex, Power and a Journey into the Dark Heart of Sport, by Anna Krien (Yellow Jersey)
Salt, Sweat, Tears: The Men Who Rowed the Oceans, by Adam Rackley (Viking)
Sol Campbell - The Authorised Biography, by Simon Astaire (Spellbinding Media)
Stuck in a Moment: The Ballad of Paul Vaessen, by Stewart Taylor (CGR Books)


The Age of Innocence. Football in the 1970s, edited byReuel Golden (Taschen)
The Arsenal Shirt: The History of the Iconic Gunners Jersey Told Through an Extraordinary Collection of Match Worn Shirts, by James Elkin and Simon Shakeshaft (Vision Sports Publishing)
The Art of Sports Photography, by Marc Aspland (Prestel)
Formula One Circuits From Above, by Bruce Jones (Carlton Books)
Golf’s Royal Clubs, by Scott Macpherson (R & A)
Parkrun: A Celebration, by Paul Warrington, Rob Kemp, Julian Ward and Paul Duke (Parkrun Press)