Since its inception in 1987, the rugby union World Cup has gone from being a cheerful, amateurish kick-about to one of the world´s premier sporting events, third only to the football World Cup and the Olympics in terms of global reach. Along the way it has mirrored the sport´s occasionally painful march into the professional era, with commensurate advances in the standard of play but also, some would argue, a loss of innocence as the marketing men have moved in on an increasingly lucrative property. But the competition is still - mostly - about the game itself. And Real Men Drink Aftershave is the real tale of the rugby World Cups - the players´ stories - the funny, the irreverent, the real, and the fascinating tale of the history of the competition from the perspective of those who took part. From the players who got drunk all the way through the 1987 World Cup to the high-level training programmes and sophisticated tactics of 2003 - here is the full story. Written by one of the game´s foremost insiders and observers, Real Men Drink Aftershave is destined to become the definitive history. 1. Language: English. Narrator: Adrian James. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/acx0/137232/bk_acx0_137232_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
An entertaining look at one of sport´s greatest rivalries - the Ashes - by former England spin bowler Graeme Swann. Graeme Swann leads us on a compelling adventure through one of world sport´s most engrossing rivalries. He knows as much as anybody about the heat of England vs. Australia battles, having played in three series wins and also the whitewash defeat of 2013-14, when its intensity ended his international career. However, it brought out some of his best displays in Test cricket. But he is just one of dozens of colourful characters to have added their chapters to this great tome. The mock obituary of English cricket in the Sporting Times of 1882 was the forerunner of summers and winters of heaven and hell, depending on which side of the divide you were situated on. When it comes to on-field relations, nothing quite compares to the over-my-dead-body feel of the Ashes. From Grace to Sir Don, the most graceful of them all. From the foulest play to the fairest - contrast the 1932-33 Bodyline series affair to the image of Andrew Flintoff hunched over a distraught Brett Lee in 2005. From Ray Illingworth´s famous walk-off in the ´70s, when an England teammate was assaulted by a spectator, to Steve Waugh´s hugely emotional lap of honour when he retired a quarter of a century later. Swann´s book reveals the magic of a series that first gripped him in his front room in Northampton as an aspiring spin bowler in the mid-1980s. 1. Language: English. Narrator: Graeme Swann. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/hodd/001268/bk_hodd_001268_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
In the spirit of Flashman, and in the inimitable George MacDonald Fraser style, comes a rousing story of prize fighting in the 19th century. Reissued in a stunning new package, Black Ajax will attract a new generation of fans. When Captain Buck Flashman sees the black boxer catch a fly in midflight, he realizes that he is in the presence of speed such as the prize ring has never seen. Tom Molineaux may be crude and untutored, but if ´Mad Buck´ knows anything (and, like his notorious son, the archcad Harry Flashman, he has an unerring eye for the main chance), this ex-slave from America is a champion in the making, on whose broad shoulders the ambitious captain can climb to sporting and social fame. Under his patronage the ‘Black Ajax´ is carried on a popular tide of sporting fever to his great dream: to fight the invincible, undefeated champion of England, the great Tom Cribb. The story of Molineaux and his eventual battles with Cribb is told through a series of superbly original and individual voices - colourful, powerful and funny. Together they create a magnificent picture of Regency England and a portrait of a flawed hero who surmounted the barriers of ignorance, poverty and race hatred to bring the prize ring a lustre it had never known before and may never again. 1. Language: English. Narrator: Colin Mace. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/hcuk/002183/bk_hcuk_002183_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
Full of adventure, mishaps and audacious attempts at cheating, the first Tour de France in 1903 was a colourful affair. Its riders included characters like Maurice ´´The White Bulldog´´ Garin, an Italian-born Frenchman whose parents were said to have swapped him for a round of cheese in order to smuggle him into France as a 14-year-old; Hippolyte Aucouturier, who, with his jersey of horizontal stripes and handlebar moustache, looked like the villain from a Buster Keaton movie; and amateurs like Jean Dargassies, a blacksmith who had no idea what he was letting himself in for. Cyclists of the time weren´t enthusiastic about this ´heroic´ race, dreamed up to revive a struggling newspaper, through roads more suited to hooves than wheels, with bikes weighing up to 20 kilos, on a single fixed gear, for three full weeks. Assembling enough riders for the race meant paying unemployed amateurs from the suburbs of Paris, including a butcher, a chimney sweep and a circus acrobat. There was no indication that this ramshackle cycling pack would draw crowds to throng France´s rutted roads and cheer the first Tour heroes. But they did, and all thanks to a marketing ruse, cycling would never be the same again. Acclaimed cycling writer Peter Cossins takes us through the inaugural Tour de France stage by stage to see where the greatest sporting event of all began. 1. Language: English. Narrator: Joseph Kloska. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/rhuk/002811/bk_rhuk_002811_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
Delve into the murky world of Formula One, a world where money, fame and power rule - but for how long? Formula One is speed, glamour, danger - and eye-watering wealth. Driven: The Men Who Made Formula One tells how a small group of extraordinary men transformed Formula One from a niche sport played out on primitive tracks surrounded by hay bales and grass verges into a £1 billion circus performing in vast theatres of entertainment all over the world. Led by Bernie Ecclestone, the billionaire ringmaster, this clique started by scraping a living to go racing and ended up creating space-age cars and turning drivers from amateur gladiators into multimillion-pound superstars, like Ayrton Senna and Lewis Hamilton, while the names of Ferrari, McLaren and Williams are now as familiar around the world as Manchester United or Real Madrid. For 20 years, Kevin Eason watched how these men operated like a sporting Mafia, protecting each other while squabbling over the vast wealth pouring into the sport. As motor racing correspondent for The Times and then with The Sunday Times, Eason was privileged to have a ringside seat as this cabal of wealthy characters ruled and then were pushed out of the sport they created. This colourful and compelling account of the extraordinary flourishing of Formula One explores the quirks and extravagances of the men who converged - in one generation - to shape their sport - disparate characters with a common impulse: they were racers - and they were driven. 1. Language: English. Narrator: Kevin Eason. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/hodd/002098/bk_hodd_002098_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
In this hilarious follow-up to the Sunday Times best seller Tuffers´ Cricket Tales, ex-England cricketer, TV personality and Test Match Special commentator Phil Tufnell offers his unique take on the whole Ashes experience. Drawing on incidents from his own colourful career and the reminiscences of great English and Aussie cricket characters, both past and present, Tuffers highlights all the elements that make for a truly memorable Ashes series, on and off the pitch. Heroic performances, personal ‘Cat-astrophes´, bonkers selections, cultural clashes between Poms and Ockers, slanderous sledges, dubious tactics, odd superstitions, touring high jinks and nail-biting finishes are all on the agenda as he delves into the 131-year history of a unique sporting institution. Along the way, Tuffers, who played in five Ashes series without ever getting close to getting his hands on the famous urn, aims to discover the key to winning what is the ultimate prize for any English or Australian cricketer. Shot through with his love and knowledge of cricket, Tuffers´ Alternative Guide to the Ashes is written with the characteristic cheeky charm which made Phil Tufnell a firm favourite of England´s Barmy Army (and a target for good-natured abuse from fans Down Under). 1. Language: English. Narrator: Phil Tufnell, Jonathan Keeble. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/head/000240/bk_head_000240_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.