AN ABOUNDING JOY Essays on Sport by Ian McDonaldProduct no.: HP233
Compiled, edited and annotated by Clem Seecharan
Ian McDonald (1933-), the eminent poet, thinker and public intellectual, has written more than 1,500 articles over the last four decades. Shortly after the founding of Stabroek News in Guyana, by his friend David de Caires in 1986, he commenced (and still does) a weekly column covering literature, politics, history, economics, philosophy and sport. Enriched by the astounding range of his reading spanning seven decades, McDonald’s elegant writing is permeated by the pursuit of beauty, a poetic sensibility, intellectual rigour and a hunger to comprehend and inform. His has been a life of the mind, sustained by the sanctity of learning, and the imperative to inculcate the habit of reading in order to foster critical thinking.
One of the best tennis players in the region in the 1950s-60s, McDonald captained Cambridge, as he did Guyana and the West Indies, in the Davis Cup. He also played at Wimbledon in 1952, 1953, 1954 and 1959. This book comprises 100 of his essays on sport, compiled, edited and vividly annotated by Clem Seecharan, the distinguished Guyanese historian. They cover tennis, squash, and boxing, but it is McDonald’s revered sport, cricket, that predominates in this collection. The latter encompasses the history of the game, including its place in the soul of the West Indian people, in addition to its contemporary problems and challenges. There are also beautifully crafted pieces on his ‘Uncle Bertie’ Harragin (who played against WG Grace in 1906), WG himself, Frank Worrell, Joe Solomon, Clive Lloyd, Viv Richards, Brian Lara, Shiv Chanderpaul and, his greatest hero of them all, the superb Guyana and West Indies batsman, Rohan Kanhai. The Guyana Olympic Association has honoured McDonald for his contribution to art and sport.
These essays sparkle with the erudition and lyrical energy of Ian McDonald, but they also endeavour to provoke – challenging readers to rethink. Easily accessible, they could be read randomly because they are self-contained. This is one of the most refined collections of writing on sport published on the Caribbean and beyond. It will be intoxicating to sport fans. It will give abounding joy to anyone who reads it.
CLEM SEECHARAN is Emeritus Professor of History at London Metropolitan University. He was born in Guyana and has lived in England since 1986. His books include Muscular Learning: Cricket and Education in the Making of the British West Indies; From Ranji to Rohan: Cricket and Indian Identity in Colonial Guyana, 1890s-1960s (Hansib); and Hand-in-Hand History of Cricket in Guyana (Hansib), two volumes of which have been published so far. His study of Jock Campbell was awarded the Elsa Goveia Prize 2005 by the Association of Caribbean Historians. He is completing a book on Cheddi Jagan and the Cold War. He received the Doctor of Letters from the UWI (Trinidad) in 2017.
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