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Beyond A Boundary Paperback – January 1, 1993


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 291 pages
  • Publisher: Duke University Press Books; Reprint edition (January 1, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0822313839
  • ISBN-13: 978-0822313830
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #290,630 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Everything James has done has had the mark of originality, of his own flexible, sensitive, and deeply cultured intelligence. He conveys not a rigid doctrine but a delight and curiosity in all the manifestions of life, and the clue to everything lies in his proper appreciation of the game of cricket."—E. P. Thompson

About the Author

C. L. R. James (1901–1989), historian, novelist, cultural and political critic and activist, was born in Trinidad. He is the author of numerous books, including his well-known study of the Haitian Revolution, The Black Jacobins (1938).


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Customer Reviews

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To someone who follows cricket will come away with much more from reading this book.
Sarah Sammis
The best blurb endorsing Beyond a Boundary is "To say `the best cricket book ever written' is piffingly inadequate praise."
Richard Kleinman
He possesses the clarity of thought and the prose to convey this love and appreciation to the reader.
John E. Davidson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 34 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 29, 1999
Format: Paperback
It doesn't matter what he writes about, this bloke has the goods. James was a real rennaisance man -- political, intellectual and physical. I've never read anyone who wrote about cricket with such depth and understanding. James makes the quantum leap from writing just about the game to writing about the different cultural forces in each country that shape the way the game is played. Want to know why such different, national brands of cricket are played in the Windies, England, Australia, Pakistan, South Africa, India or New Zealand? Then read this book. The chapter on W.G. Grace is a particular treat.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Paul Ortiz on May 3, 2002
Format: Paperback
James's "Beyond a Boundary" is one of the finest literary works of the twentieth century. It asks questions that go to the heart of the human condition: where do democratic ideas come from? How does one strive towards self-emancipation in a totalitarian world? What tools may dismantle colonialism and neo-colonialism? What is the relationship between art and everyday life? Oh, and there's the social and cultural analysis of cricket, and how this endeavor fits into the larger picture. "Beyond a Boundary" is often referred to as the founding text of postcolonialism. It is more, far more. A caveat is in order, however. One cannot rush through this book. Take time to digest the ideas. A background in the history of the West Indies is also helpful
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By John E. Davidson on December 1, 2005
Format: Paperback
Beyond a Boundary reached number 3 in the UK Observer Sport Monthly's poll of the best fifty sports books of all time. It is burdened with enormous praise; amongst the quotes included on the cover are: `To say "the best cricket book ever written" is pifflingly inadequate praise' and `Great claims have been made for [Beyond a Boundary] since its first appearance in 1963: that it is the greatest sports book ever written; that it brings the outsider a privileged insight into West Indian culture; that it is a severe examination of the colonial condition. All are true.'

The praise is justified. The only way that this is not the best cricket book ever written is if you do not consider it as a cricket book. It is beautifully crafted, transcending the genre: an engaging combination of cricket book, personal memoir and political and cultural commentary. There are other very good books about cricket but this is something more than that. It is a cricket book, a history book, a sociology book and more.

CLR James is a fascinating man: widely travelled, spending long periods in England and the USA as well as Trinidad, an important writer and journalist, a politically active Marxist, instrumental in getting Frank Worrell appointed captain of the West Indies team. The book covers a wide range of subjects including his childhood in Trinidad; great cricketers he has known and watched; Caribbean politics amongst others. For cricket lovers one of the beautiful things about the book is that James loves cricket, he appreciates it as an art form. He possesses the clarity of thought and the prose to convey this love and appreciation to the reader.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 31, 2000
Format: Paperback
James' excellent volume takes the reader on a wild ride through the history of cricket and, in particular its influence on West Indies social and political development. I say a wild ride since the reader is never sure where the book is headed as it weaves through autobiographical, biographical, historical, sociological, humanist and political arenas as it proceeds to its, finally, satisfying conclusion. James' thesis of cricket as a determining factor in the development of the West Indian psyche is interesting and well presented. As an overview of cricket's spot in the world's firmament, it takes a valuable place.
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Richard Kleinman on September 11, 2003
Format: Paperback
The best blurb endorsing Beyond a Boundary is "To say `the best cricket book ever written' is piffingly inadequate praise." It succinctly conveys this is a great book, is about cricket, is about other things as well, and is written in language you don't use that often. Beyond a Boundary was published in 1963, but was written over most of the previous 35 years or so. The author, CLR James, was a West Indian Cricket fan, journalist, and patriot. The book is organised according to his reminisces of other Cricket players, most significantly better players than James (although it sounds like James was a quality player, just not an international class player). Now, any American thinking about reading this book already knows there is no such thing as a "famous cricket player". These people may be national heroes in other places, but one of the most famous cricket players, WG Grace, was to me just a name that reminds me of a floor wax company. So be forewarned that James is prone to using phrases like "the story of which is known to all" when for me little was known.
It is either fortunate that there is so much else beside cricket in this book or unfortunate that there is so much cricket in this book. There are many chapters where James goes on about the role of cricket in a boy's life, role of cricket in society, and the role of cricketers in society. These are the best parts of the book, especially if one is able to substitute the word "sport" for "cricket". These chapters do not dwell on the detailed points of the game, but simply need the reader to acknowledge that cricket is a game that people care about. Any sports fan should be able to make that leap. He does a great job describing how sport got organised in the West Indies, and the meaning of that organization.
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