* WINNER OF THE WILLIAM HILL SPORTS BOOK OF THE YEAR AWARD 2004* Controversial and revelatory biography of the South African-born cricketer who played for England and was banned from touring his native country
There have been innumerable biographies of cricketers. Peter Oborne's outstanding biography of Basil D'Oliveira is something else. It brings together sport, politics and race. It is the story of how a black South African defied incredible odds and came to play cricket for England, of how a single man escaped from apartheid and came to fulfil his prodigious sporting potential. It is a story of the conquest of racial prejudice, both in South Africa and in the heart of the English sporting establishment.
The story comes to its climax in the so-called D'Oliveira Affair of 1968, when John Vorster, the South African Prime Minister, banned the touring MCC side because of the inclusion of a black man. This episode marked the start of the twenty-year sporting isolation of South Africa that ended only with the collapse of apartheid itself.
It is an inspirational story and one which never fails to move this reader - Michael Parkinson, DAILY TELEGRAPH
Oborne tells this remarkable story with the tautness of a thriller and the focus of a political tract. If you are at all interested in either cricket or humanity, I guarantee that you will read his book at one sitting. - Peter Wilby, NEW STATESMAN
It is a masterpiece of research and reconstruction of the most significant sporting uprising of our times - DAILY MAIL
As this stunning book makes very clear, principled people acting together can sniff out the essential truth and make the difference. Read it and risk being inspired to do the same. - IRELAND TRIBUNE