The Nottinghamshire bowler Harold Larwood was his country’s chief weapon in the notorious 1932-3 Ashes tour, when Larwood’s pace and hostility left Australia’s batsmen battered and brought England a 4-1 series victory. But the fury the use of so-called “Bodyline” tactics engendered brought Anglo-Australian relations to the brink of collapse and after the series Larwood was used as a scapegoat by the MCC, which demanded he apologise for his intimidatory bowling. Larwood refused and never played for England again, eventually emigrating to Australia in 1953.
The saga of Bodyline has been told before, but Larwood’s own tale, particularly his attitude to the 1932-3 series and his shoddy treatment by the establishment there-after, has not. Using materials provided by Larwood’s family, Duncan Hamilton charts the peaks and troughs of Larwood’s life: from his mining village upbringing, through his rise to stardom, the shock of Bodyline and its traumatic aftermath, to his emigration to Sydney, where he and his family found happiness.