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The Great Tamasha: Cricket, Corruption, and the Turbulent Rise of Modern India Hardcover – July 9, 2013

4.2 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

“Cricket is an Indian game accidentally discovered by the British,” writes Astill, the Economist’s South Asian bureau chief since 2007, quoting Bengali sociologist Ashish Nandy, who cites the game’s endless digressions and “slow-burning dramas,” the partiality of its victories and defeats, and its management of ambiguity and chaos, “the definition of all South Asian society.” But that was 1989, and that was the long-form version—international Test cricket—which has been all but shoved aside by its surlier, more profitable, more impatient progeny: the Indian Premier League, which plays a more amped-up, zero-sum, one-day version. Astill explores the history of these changes in India and draws a direct link between a corrupted, bowdlerized but vastly more financially successful game with like changes happening in Indian society at large. Nonfans of the game could get bogged down in the telling, but as Jacques Barzun said about understanding America through baseball, so Astill’s book gives an insightful take on modern India. --Alan Moores

Review

“The Great Tamasha is a book of breadth rather than depth. It buzzes with field trips and brisk interviews that sometimes bring insight, and more often momentum and freshness…His depiction is close-up and entertaining.” ―New York Times Book Review

“Ambitious...The combination of reporter's notebook, sporting history and a descriptive style makes The Great Tamasha compelling reading.” ―Financial Times

“A stirring study by an enthusiast of the game.” ―Kirkus Reviews

“Pensive… at turns historical, sociological, and journalistic.” ―Publisher's Weekly

“As Jacques Barzun said about understanding America through baseball, so Astill's book gives an insightful take on modern India.” ―Booklist

“Peppered with star-studded interviews and transcripts of historic matches, Astill's history is a boon for any fan of cricket or interested bystander. Combining supple narrative and hard-hitting journalistic styles, his prose is a pleasure to read, with frequent wry humor bringing tears to the eyes.” ―Shelf Awareness

“Energetic reporting and a fluent grasp of history…a compelling rendering of a cricket-mad country.” ―The New Yorker

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA (July 9, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1608199177
  • ISBN-13: 978-1608199174
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,119,099 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The present day rise and prospering of India is a phenomenon impacting much of the rest of the world. In "The Great Tamasha," James Astill focuses on India's most popular sport, Cricket, but, with his focus, also, in parallel, writes about India's current economic boom. His research and writing give attention to many aspects of India. Sections of the book focus on the big business practices in the subcontinent such as the creation and running of the Indian Premier League for Cricket and how it competes for television time with Indian soap operas. Other sections of the book focus on ordinary lives of India's citizens and what role Cricket and the current economic activity play in those lives both in big cities and small villages. In another section, he focuses on Cricket's role in India's rivalry with Pakistan as well as relations between Hindus and Muslims in both the sport and the country. To conclude, this is a very entertaining and insightful read for those interested in learning about the current goings on in India.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Enjoyable only if you are a member of the commonwealth of cricketing nations. South Asian cricket lovers and their diaspora world over will find this entertaining.
Having spent my youth in India, I think this is as real life as one can get.
The history of Cricket in the subcontinent makes for fascinating reading.
Some of the "villains" are now in the headlines in Indian news media.
Could not put my kindle down & read it on my last trip to India in 2 days
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Format: Hardcover
Written in lucid journalistic language, this book offers a quick, easy, fascinating account of rise of cricket from a "foreign game" imported by Britishers to a mega million sport coinciding the rise of India in global economy. Author's investigative journalism extends to cover a broad range of topics from politics to corruption, casteism and countryside. This makes the book an interesting read.

The breadth of topics however is at the expense of depth and often a hasty conclusion based on few data points reflecting author's viewpoint than facts. Overall, a good read for a cricket lover.
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Format: Hardcover
The best line is on Page 109.

An official of the [corrupt, aren't they all] Delhi State Association complains to the author that he has been grossly wronged by the system. ["Today you see before you a pained man!".] But he defends why he is still a part of the system.

'But now I recall what Lord Krishna said to Arjuna: "YOU'RE RUNNING AWAY FROM YOUR F'NG DUTY!"'

The essence of the Gita cannot be expressed better.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a very well written overview and a wonderfully rich depiction of the current state of cricket affairs. As someone who loved the game as a child but has lost contact with it since living in America, this book brought me up to speed with the sport in India. Very good, but you would want to know a bit about the sport before reading it.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Just wonderful reporting on the rise of the Indian passion for cricket.
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Format: Hardcover
It is a story of modern India, told by a descendant of a correspondent for The Economist. Uses cricket as a pivot point. The narrator is in New Delhi. It is a narrative book. For illustrated modern history of the Indian subcontinent.
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