CLR James-Cricket's Philosopher King

CLR James - Cricket's Philosopher King
Dave Renton



Cyril Lionel Robert James (1901–89) was one of the leading black intellectuals of the 20th century, a Marxist theorist of the first rank, and also one of the finest writers on cricket, with his legendary book Beyond a Boundary. This seeming paradox is reflected in other areas of his life and work: the product of a British-style education and fanatical cricketer who never abandoned the values the sport inculcated in him, he was a Trotskyite expelled from the USA during the McCarthy era who was a friend and inspiration to a generation of leaders of newly-independent African countries such as Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana and Julius Nyrere of Tanzania. Described in his lifetime as ‘the black Hegel’ and ‘the black Plato’, his book on the 18th-century slave revolt in Haiti, The Black Jacobins, is one of the great historical works of the 20th century, yet he was never comfortable with the idea of ‘Black Studies’. In this fascinating new study of this seminal thinker, Dave Renton hopes to ‘persuade Marxists of the joys of cricket, and followers of cricket of the calibre of James and of ’Marxism’.

Non Fiction | ISBN: 9781908446039 | eBook


Dave Renton

Dave Renton is a barrister at Garden Court chambers, where he represents workers and tenants in employment and housing claims. Formerly a Visiting Professor in Sociology at Johannesburg University, and before that an official of the UCU trade union and the Trades Union Congress, he has been an activist in many anti-racist, legal justice and housing campaigns. He was one of the organisers of the Counter Olympics Protests at London 2012 and ran in the counter-Olympics unofficial torch relay. His other books include a biography of Leon Trotsky (Haus 2004).

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'Books about CLR James abound, but this is a particularly good one. It’s lucidly written, full of narrative interest and explores areas of the great Caribbean man’s life and struggles that have rarely been a point of focus.’
Chris Searle, The Morning Star
CLR James by Dave Renton illuminates a remarkable life. Apart from being one of the greatest writers cricket has known, James was a political activist,
an acclaimed historian, and an intellectual. He was also a Marxist, expelled from the USA for his Trotskyite leanings during the McCarthyite era. In addition, Renton explains how his support for colonial revolt inspired a generation of leaders in newly independent African nations. Who said sport and politics don't mix?'
The Observer

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