‘His Captain’s hand on his shoulder smote’: The incidence and influence of cricket in schoolboy stories


Written by Eric Midwinter
This book is the sixth in the highly acclaimed Cricket Witness series. For a hundred years, from the 1850s to the 1950s, schoolboy stories, either in book or ‘comic’ form, were voraciously read by the vast majority of boys and a high proportion of girls.

This text seeks, first, to describe the sheer weight and longevity of cricket in this type of literature and the background and beliefs of its major creators that, in itself, will be of interest to many readers, not least from a nostalgic stance. But, second, it also analyses the cultural and social impact of this intense volume of schoolboy cricket tales. The author’s controversial conclusion is that, in brief, it was good for cricket but bad for the nation’s education system.

Here is a book, then, that will appeal not only to cricket fans but to those interested in children’s literature, social history and the development of today’s schools.

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