Cover image for The tented field : a history of cricket in America
The tented field : a history of cricket in America
Melville, Tom.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Bowling Green, OH : Bowling Green State University Popular Press, [1998]

Physical Description:
vii, 280 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
GV928.U6 M45 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Tom Melville presents a well-documented history of cricket playing in America, focusing on its period of growth in the 1840s and its periodic revivals. Cricket failed to take on, or resisted, an American identity, but the sport had considerable appeal both as a sport and as an activity that fostered sportsmanship, control, public manners, and decorum. Cricket found acceptance mainly in the upper class but also appealed to working-class people.

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

Cricket is not a game synonymous with North America. The only two books published on the game in the United States are by cricket player and teacher Melville. Far more than a chronological record, this study examines a sport that resisted change in a society accustomed to fast-paced, professional, profit-generating athletics. In an attempt to determine the reason for its lack of popularity here, Melville presents a thematic history of American cricket, focusing not only on past trends but specific cultural influences. Although well researched, this is not easy reading. Libraries would be better to purchase Melville's first book (Cricket for Americans: Playing and Understanding the Game, Popular Pr., 1993) for more relevant information about the fundamentals of the sport. Not a necessary purchase for public libraries. (Bibliography and index not seen.)‘Larry Robert Little, Penticton P.L., BC (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

The focus of this work covering the early 1800s through WWI is the development, and later decline, of cricket as a major participant/spectator activity on the American sporting scene. Following a thematic, historical approach and using extensive contemporary sources, Melville presents a highly documented narrative of the story of cricket. During the antebellum years, cricket had organization (clubs), playing rules, international matches, a large spectator following, and a supportive press. It was played in cities and towns by gentlemen, clerics, laborers, and students. But fervor for the sport flagged after the Civil War. Despite revivals of interest in the 1880s and 1890s brought about by more skilled players, improved facilities, attempted game modifications, and character-building emphasis, the game could not be sustained, and it disappeared from the sporting milieu following WWI. Unlike baseball, with which Melville draws comparisons, the playing structure of cricket appeared to be unsuited to America's sporting culture, which never fully identified with the game. According to Melville, cricket failed because it never established an American character. All reading levels will be able to take something from this book. E. English; St. Bonaventure University