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Duncan Hamilton - book author

Duncan Hamilton is the author of books: Provided You Don't Kiss Me: 20 Years with Brian Clough, For the Glory: Eric Liddell's Journey from Olympic Champion to Modern Martyr, Harold Larwood, A Last English Summer, Immortal, The Unreliable Life of Harry the Valet: The Great Victorian Jewel Thief, The Footballer Who Could Fly, Touch Wood, The Kings of Summer: How Cricket's 2016 County Championship Came Down to the Very Last Match of the Season, The Great Romantic: Cricket and the golden age of Neville Cardus

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Author Books

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01
Duncan Hamilton was there through all the madness, the success, the failures, the fall-outs, the drink, and the crumbling of Brian Clough's years as manager of Nottingham Forest. This is a tender portrait of one of football's most colourful characters.
02
The untold and inspiring story of Eric Liddell, hero of Chariots of Fire, from his Olympic medal to his missionary work in China to his last, brave years in a Japanese work camp during WWII

Many people will remember Eric Liddell as the Olympic gold medalist from the Academy Award winning film Chariots of Fire. Famously, Liddell would not run on Sunday because of his strict observance of the Christian sabbath, and so he did not compete in his signature event, the 100 meters, at the 1924 Paris Olympics. He was the greatest sprinter in the world at the time, and his choice not to run was ridiculed by the British Olympic committee, his fellow athletes, and most of the world press. Yet Liddell triumphed in a new event, winning the 400 meters in Paris.

Liddell ran--and lived--for the glory of his God. After winning gold, he dedicated himself to missionary work. He travelled to China to work in a local school and as a missionary. He married and had children there. By the time he could see war on the horizon, Liddell put Florence, his pregnant wife, and children on a boat to Canada, while he stayed behind, his conscience compelling him to stay among the Chinese. He and thousands of other westerners were eventually interned at a Japanese work camp.

Once imprisoned, Liddell did what he was born to do, practice his faith and his sport. He became the moral center of an unbearable world. He was the hardest worker in the camp, he counseled many of the other prisoners, he gave up his own meager portion of meals many days, and he organized games for the children there. He even raced again. For his ailing, malnourished body, it was all too much. Liddell died of a brain tumor just before the end of the war. His passing was mourned around the world, and his story still inspires.

In the spirit of The Boys in the Boat and Unbroken, For the Glory is both a compelling narrative of athletic heroism and a gripping story of faith in the darkest circumstances.
03
Harold Larwood is an England cricketing legend. During the MCC's notorious 19323 and its bitter aftermath, to his emigration to Australia, where he and his family found happiness. A moving recreation of the triumph, betrayal and redemption of a working-class hero, Harold Larwood will enthrall not only cricket fans, but all those who relish biographical writing of the highest quality.
04
Cricket is undergoing its most radical upheaval since the "Packer Revolution" of the late 1970s. Twenty20 and the Indian Premier League, seen as a short cut to riches by both players and administrators, threaten the future of Test cricket; the County Championship, the traditional—but increasingly moribund—nursery for England's Test players, struggles to reinvent itself; technology is eroding the authority of umpires. The age-old weave of the game is being slowly unpicked and rearranged for the modern, global age. 2009 may even be the last summer of cricket as we know it.  Against this backdrop Duncan Hamilton embarks on an elegiac odyssey in which he aims to capture the spirit and atmosphere of English cricket before its character is irrevocably altered. The stopping-points of his journey—and the framework on which he hangs his thoughts and observations—are 14 significant cricket matches played over the course of the 2009 season: from an Ashes Test match to a game of village cricket, from a brash Twenty20 encounter attended by thousands to a sleepy county game watched by five pensioners and a dog. He not only explores such issues as the future of the County Championship and the financial pressures faced by the wider game, but also creates vivid sketches of players, umpires, administrators, and the people who pay (and even suffer) to watch cricket. Combining reportage, anecdote, biography, history and personal recollection, The Greatest Game is an honest and passionate reflection on cricket's past, present, and future. A memorable and acutely observed portrait of one summer of cricket from an award-winning sports writer who has watched—and loved—cricket since he was a boy, it is essential reading for anyone who cares about the English game.
05
The two time winner of the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award on George Best, considered the greatest footballer of our time.

No other imposed himself so completely on to the romantic imagination. No other was so emblematic of the era during which he flourished. And no other will ever be as memorable as George Best.

On the field Best's skills were sublime and almost other-worldly. Off it, he had a magnetic appeal. He was treated like a pop icon and a pin-up; a fashion-model and a sex-symbol. Every man envied him and every woman adored him.

To mark the 50th anniversary of his debut for Manchester United, Duncan Hamilton examines Best's crowded life and premature death. But most importantly, Hamilton presents Best at his glorious peak - the precocious goals, the labyrinthine runs, the poise and balletic balance and the body swerves.

This is George Best: footballing immortal.
06
In October 1898, on route to Paris' Gare du Nord station, the Dowager Duchess of Sutherland's jewels were stolen from her train carriage. More than 40 pieces, worth nearly £2m today, disappeared that night and the perpetrator along with them.

It would become one of the most widely reported heists of the late Victorian era, but what no one knew was that the man who committed this most daring and well planned theft had already committed nine almost identical crimes.

A man who wore bespoke suits and handmade shoes; who used a dozen pseudonyms to dust over his tracks; who belonged to three smart London clubs and lived in the luxury of West End hotels; whose staple diet was champagne and whisky; who was pursued by London's top detectives for five and a half years and - by their own admission - 'proved smarter' than them; and who fell so much in love with a women who he would steal for and lie for but who would eventually betray him.

The true story of the most notorious Victorian Jewel thief, The Unreliable Life of Harry the Valet has all the hallmarks of the finest detective fiction, but has romance at its heart and a love story which endured on Harry's part for the rest of his life, despite ultimately destroying him.
07
'Without football,we were strangers under the same roof. With it, we were father and son.’

Longlisted for the 2012 William Hill Sports Book of the Year, Hamilton tells of how he was inspired by his father's devotion to Newcastle United and the heroes of yesteryear, such as Jackie Milburn, Bobby Charlton and Duncan Edwards, Hamilton recreates a distant, bygone age and charts the progress of post-war British football to the present day. From the hardscrabble 1940s and the ‘never-had-it-so-good' 50s, right through to how the dowdy-looking First Division of the 80s transformed itself into the slick, money-driven Premiership that is so familiar to us today. Hamilton writes about the some of its most sublime players, from George Best to Lionel Messi, and some of its most respected managers, from Bill Shankly to Sir Alex Ferguson.

But at the heart of The Footballer Who Could Fly, is Hamilton’s exploration of the bond between father and son through the Beautiful Game, and how football became the only live connection between two people who, apart from their love of it, were wholly different from one another.

From the two-time winner of the William Hill Sports Book of the Year comes a personal and affecting story that beautifully captures one of the most important three-way relationships in a man's life. Father and son and football.
08
Duncan Hamilton won the classic Le Mans 24-Hours race in 1953, co-driving his workcentered C-Type Jaguar with Tony Rolt. In 1954 the same pair finished second, losing to a much larger-engined V12 Ferrari and by the narrowest margin in years. In all, Duncan Hamilton competed in nine of those great Le Mans endurance classics. Having cut his racing teeth in such pre-war cars as the R-Type M.G and the Bugatti Type 35B, Duncan graduated to one of the immortal Lago- Talbot Grand Prix cars—which he subsequently mislaid in a French coal-hole. After a hugely eventful racing career—only Duncan could get himself fired by Jaguar for winning the Rheims 12-Hours race in 1956—he eventually hung up his racing helmet in 1958. As Earl Howe wrote in the original 1960 foreword to this book, though the drivers of this age were fiercely competitive, there were also "friends to meet, stories to tell and almost certainly a party to be enjoyed…" Duncan Hamilton was certainly a little larger than life, and this book tells the story of a man who wasn’t just one of the most successful drivers of the 1950s, but also the man who trespassed at Brooklands, who spent the war in the Fleet Air Arm accidentally trying to drown American Admirals, and who was once stopped for speeding on the Cromwell Road, rushing to take part in a TV program on road safety. It is a must for any classic car enthusiast’s bookshelf.
09
Six months on from the start of the season back in April, it all came down to the final afternoon of the very last match - at the Home of Cricket. The two sides, Middlesex and Yorkshire, went into the game first and second in the table. If neither managed to force a win, it would leave the County Championship title to third-placed Somerset. Late September was blessed with beautiful Indian-summer weather; the biggest crowd for a county match at Lord's for some 40 years turned up to watch, and four days of battling, attritional cricket, the balance swinging either way, culminated in an unbelievably tense run chase by Yorkshire. As the autumn shadows lengthened, an unforgettably gladiatorial contest was finished by the Middlesex fast bowler Toby Roland-Jones in the most memorable way of all: a hat-trick. Now, the award-winning sports writer Duncan Hamilton, who was at Lord's to watch every ball, re-lives this extraordinary, epic match, the finest advert for one of the most demanding competitions in any sport.
10
THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER

Neville Cardus described how one majestic stroke-maker ‘made music’ and ‘spread beauty’ with his bat. Between two world wars, he became the laureate of cricket by doing the same with words.

In The Great Romantic, award-winning author Duncan Hamilton demonstrates how Cardus changed sports journalism for ever. While popularising cricket – while appealing, in Cardus’ words to people who ‘didn’t know a leg-break from the pavilion cat at Lord’s’- he became a star in his own right with exquisite phrase-making, disdain for statistics and a penchant for literary and musical allusions.

Among those who venerated Cardus were PG Wodehouse, John Arlott, Harold Pinter, JB Priestley and Don Bradman. However, behind the rhapsody in blue skies, green grass and colourful characters, this richly evocative biography finds that Cardus’ mother was a prostitute, he never knew his father and he received negligible education. Infatuations with younger women ran parallel to a decidedly unromantic marriage. And, astonishingly, the supreme stylist’s aversion to factual accuracy led to his reporting on matches he never attended.

Yet Cardus also belied his impoverished origins to prosper in a second class-conscious profession, becoming a music critic of international renown. The Great Romantic uncovers the dark enigma within a golden age.