Greg Chappell’s cricketing career from the mid-sixties until 1984 coincided with developments affecting players, administrators and audiences which reoriented attitudes and expectations, causing schisms and bitterness. McGregor’s biography stresses three related themes: the growth of professionalism, the effects of commercialism and especially colour television, and the difficulties in a cricketer’s life caused by conflicting allegiances, and personal and family considerations. A fourth theme, the ascendancy of speed bowling, gets due attention, but more incidentally. It is a conscientious book: Chappell’s early life and the arc of his superb career are followed carefully, comprehensively, informatively, but too often a false note of the ‘excitement’ of it all is journalistically struck.
‘Magazines and newspapers in Australian literature’ is a more troublesome subject than it may at first sight appear. Within its scope lurk issues and problems that preoccupy and sometimes bedevil much Australian literary criticism and cultural commentary. Indeed, the method and content of this book provide a helpful approach to those perennial issues.