Tom Wills The insubordinate life of an Australian sporting legend

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Tom Wills The insubordinate life of an Australian sporting legend by de Moore, Greg, 9781761068546
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  • ISBN: 9781761068546 | 1761068547
  • Cover: Paperback
  • Copyright: 7/1/2023

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The updated edition of the definitive biography of the visionary sportsman who brought us Australian Rules football and was the greatest cricketer of his era.


This is the story of Tom Wills - flawed genius, sporting libertine, fearless leader and agitator, Australia's first great cricketer - and the man most often credited with creating the game we now know as Australian Rules football.

Sent to the strict British Rugby School in 1850 at fourteen, Tom returned as a worldly young man whose cricket prowess quickly captured the hearts of the colony. But away from the adoring crowds, in the desolation of the Queensland outback, he experienced first-hand the devastating effects of racial tension when his father was murdered in the biggest massacre of Europeans by First Nations people. Yet, five years later, Tom coached the first Aboriginal cricket team.

Tom Wills lived hard and fast, challenging authority on and off the field. But when his physical talents began to fade, the psychological demons that alcohol and adrenaline had kept at bay surged to the fore, driving him to the most brutal of suicides. He was forty-four and destitute.

Greg de Moore has carefully pieced together Tom's life, giving us an extraordinary portrait of the life and times of one of Australia's first sporting heroes, a man who lived by his own rules and whose contribution to Australian history has endured for more than 150 years.

This updated edition of the bestselling and authoritative biography of Tom Wills includes new research and addresses the most troubling of questions surrounding his spectacular yet tragic life.

'a towering figure [who] deserves de Moore's brilliantly written and researched book' - Peter Lalor, The Australian

'illuminating and intelligent' - Inside Sport
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