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A novel based on the life of Tom Wills, who brought VFL to Victoria and coached the first all Aboriginal cricket team in Australia. In charting the history of one man's life, it takes the reader to the birth of sport in the country and to the persisting horrors of racial struggle.
Hardcover, 188 pages
Published December 31st 1998 by Allen & Unwin Academic
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I'm not sure what I wanted this book to be, but it wasn't quite what I thought. It wavered between being a biography of Wills and a historical rumination on early colonial victoria, sport, and race relations. I wish it had been a bit more forensic or a little more ruminant, because in the end I felt it lacked focus. I'm not sure if it was because the historical records were thin or Flanagan didn't want to talk on boring stuff, but I wanted to hear more about football, especially the ...more
Story (a historical novel I guess but where does fact end and fiction begin?) of TW Wills, early brilliant cricket player in Melbourne, and the story of the beginnings of the colony of Victoria and its establishment families. And the creation of football. Also involving the sad story of attitudes and behaviour of colonialists towards Aborigines. Slaughter on the one hand and at the same time recruiting of Aborigines ( the dying race) to play in the first 'native' cricket team to play in England. ...more