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Stroke of Genius - Gideon Haigh

Stroke of Genius

By: Gideon Haigh

Hardcover | 29 August 2016 | Edition Number 1

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Today Victor Trumper is, literally, a legend - revered for deeds lost in time, a hallowed name from the golden era from before the moving image began to dictate memories and Bradman reset the records.

In life, Trumper was Australia's first world beater - at his peak just after Federation, he was not just a cricketer but an artist of the bat, the genius of a new era, a symbol of what Australia could be. Crowds flocked to his club matches, English supporters cheered him on in Tests, and at his early funeral in 1915 - even amidst the grief of war - mourners choked the streets of Sydney.

Trumper lives on, not just as the name of a stand at the SCG, or a park near his former home ground. He lives in an image that captures him mid-stroke: a daring player's graceful advance into the unknown, alive with intent and controlled abandon. Reproduced countless times in cricket books and pavilions around the world, it conjures an era, an attitude - cricket's first imaginings of itself - and encapsulates the timeless beauty of sport like none other.

If Trumper is a legend, George Beldam's 'Jumping Out' has become an icon.

But that image has almost paradoxically obscured the story of its subject. Man and photograph have entranced Gideon Haigh since childhood, and in Stroke of Genius he explores both the real Victor Trumper and the process of his iconography. Together they inspired a profound moral and aesthetic revaluation of the game, and changed the way we think about cricket, art and Australia. In this inventive, fresh and compelling work of history, Haigh reveals how Trumper, and Beldam's incarnation of his brilliance, are at the intersection of sport and art, history and timelessness, reality and myth.

About the Author

Gideon Haigh has been a journalist for more than thirty years, contributed to more than a hundred newspapers and magazines, written thirty books and edited seven others. His book On Warne won the British Sports Book Awards Best Cricket Book of the Year Award, the Cricket Society and MCC Book of the Year Award, the Jack Pollard Trophy, and the Waverley Library Nib Award; it was also shortlisted for the Australian Book Industry Awards Biography of the Year, the Victorian Premier's Literary Awards, and the Adelaide Festival Awards for Literature. The Office won the NSW Premier's Literary Awards Douglas Stewart Prize for Non-fiction. Other recent titles include Uncertain Corridors: Writings on Modern Cricket, End of the Road? on Australia's automotive industry, and The Deserted Newsroom, about media in a digital age.

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