"Can I recommend a rather unusual cricket book? The Ascent of Mount Hum.' —Lawrence Booth, Guardian website's coverage of England Test Match cricket
“Lingers on its subject with a dedicated fascination. The team’s exploits should raise a smile of recognition from anyone who has ever been on a cricket tour but the book’s real interest lies in the historical detail of an island which served as Tito’s secret HQ during the war and remained off-limits for 40 years afterwards.” —Wisden Cricketer
How on earth did an English pub team end up playing cricket on a remote Croatian island?What linked their booze-fuelled exploits to the British legacy of the Second World War and the Napoleonic era?This book tells the story of how a group of distinctly average cricketers became unlikely sporting ambassadors and, quite by accident, helped re-introduce an island to its forgotten past.Lying some thirty miles off the Dalmatian coast, the Croatian island of Vis has a long and dramatic history bound up with various European empires, from Ancient Greece and Rome through the Venetian Republic and Austria-Hungary to fascist Italy and Nazi Germany in the twentieth century. For forty years in the latter half of that century it was a closed military base. Today the island’s 4,000 inhabitants try to strike a balance between their traditional agricultural livelihood and the pressures and temptations of European tourism in an age of globalization. The Ascent of Mount Hum tells the eventful and often hilarious story of how Vis’ quiet Adriatic idyll was rudely shattered by the arrival of a rag-tag team of pub cricketers from Cambridge, who went intending to play the first cricket match on Vis in nearly two hundred years. What followed included a series of fortunate coincidences and near-disasters, an almost heroic cricketing encounter, improbable cultural exchanges and the discovery of unexpected links to British history stretching back beyond the Second World War to the time of Napoleon.
Steven Haslemere has been playing cricket badly for longer than he cares to remember. He is secretary of the St. Radegund pub’s cricket team, and a co-founder and editor of its annual magazine Witless Cricketers’ Almanac . He is married and lives in Cambridge.
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