Beyond a Boundary

Latest edition:Duke University Press;50th Anniversary Edition (17 Jun. 2013)

“Great claims have been made for Beyond a Boundary since its first appearance in 1963: that it is the greatest sports book ever written; that it brings the outsider a privileged insight into West Indian culture; that it is a severe examination of the colonial condition. All are true.” Sunday Times

CLR James, was devoted to the game of cricket. In this classic summation of half a lifetime spent playing, watching and writing about the sport, he recounts the story of his overriding passion and tells us of the players whom he knew and loved, exploring the game’s psychology and aesthetics, and the issues of class, race and politics that surround it. Part memoir of a West Indian boyhood, part passionate celebration and defence of cricket as an art form, part indictment of colonialism, Beyond a Boundary addresses not just a sport but a whole culture to ask the question, ‘What do they know of cricket who only cricket know?’

Beyond a Boundary reached No.3 in the Observer Sport Monthly’s poll of the best fifty sports books of all time.

‘To say “the best cricket book ever written” is pifflingly inadequate praise’ Guardian

‘Anyone who has not encountered Beyond a Boundary should seize the chance now’ Sunday Telegraph.

Better babPictured left is a new edition published as part of the CLR James Archive Series by Duke University Press, to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of one of the greatest books on sport and culture ever written. These stunning quotes feature and sum the book up well.

Named one of the Top 50 Sports Books of All Time by Sports Illustrated

Beyond a Boundary . . . should find its place on the team with Izaak Walton, Ivan Turgenev, A. J. Liebling, and Ernest Hemingway.”—Derek Walcott, The New York Times Book Review

“As a player, James the writer was able to see in cricket a metaphor for art and politics, the collective experience providing a focus for group effort and individual performance. . . . [In] his scintillating memoir of his life in cricket, Beyond a Boundary (1963), James devoted some of his finest pages to this theme.”—Edward Said, The Washington Post

“A work of double reverence—for the resilient, elegant ritualism of cricket and for the black people of the world.”—Whitney Balliett, The New Yorker

Beyond a Boundary is a book of remarkable richness and force, which vastly expands our understanding of sports as an element of popular culture in the Western and colonial world.”—Mark Naison, The Nation

“Everything James has done has had the mark of originality, of his own flexible, sensitive, and deeply cultured intelligence. He conveys not a rigid doctrine but a delight and curiosity in all the manifestations of life, and the clue to everything lies in his proper appreciation of the game of cricket.”—E. P. Thompson, author of The Making of the English Working Class

Beyond a Boundary is . . . first and foremost an autobiography of a living legend—probably the greatest social theorist of our times.”—Manning Marable, Journal of Sport & Social Issues

The book is available to purchase here.


How Beyond a Boundary broke down the barriers of race, class and empire by

CLR James on cricket and humanity by Rob Harris

A classic turns fifty by Rob Steen

Beyond a Boundary by Kenan Malik

Beyond a Boundary by Mike Dibb (fantastic 1976 film)