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About the book
  • Published: 13 August 2015
  • ISBN: 9781448182312
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 368

Fire in Babylon

How the West Indies Cricket Team Brought a People to its Feet


Fire in Babylon tells the full extraordinary story of the West Indies cricket team that brought the world to its knees and a people to its feet

Inspired by the Stevan Riley film.



'I doubt there will be a better book written about this period in West Indies cricket history.'
Clive Lloyd

Cricket had never been played like this. Cricket had never meant so much.

The West Indies had always had brilliant cricketers; it hadn’t always had brilliant cricket teams. But in 1974, a man called Clive Lloyd began to lead a side which would at last throw off the shackles that had hindered the region for centuries. Nowhere else had a game been so closely connected to a people’s past and their future hopes; nowhere else did cricket liberate a people like it did in the Caribbean.

For almost two decades, Clive Lloyd and then Vivian Richards led the batsmen and bowlers who changed the way cricket was played and changed the way a whole nation – which existed only on a cricket pitch - saw itself.

With their pace like fire and their scorching batting, these sons of cane-cutters and fishermen brought pride to a people which had been stifled by 300 years of slavery, empire and colonialism. Their cricket roused the Caribbean and antagonised the game’s traditionalists.

Told by the men who made it happen and the people who watched it unfold, Fire in Babylon is the definitive story of the greatest team that sport has known.

  • Pub date: 13 August 2015
  • ISBN: 9781448182312
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 368

About the Author

Simon Lister

Simon Lister is a cricket writer and senior BBC news producer. His first book, Supercat – the authorised biography of Clive Lloyd – was short-listed for the British Sports Book of the Year award. It was, said the Guardian, ‘beautifully written’. He has been a contributor to the Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack and has covered the county game for the Sunday Telegraph. For ten years, his magazine column, Eyewitness, appeared in The Wisden Cricketer and its successor The Cricketer.

Praise for Fire in Babylon

“I doubt there will be a better book written about this period in West Indies cricket history”

Clive Lloyd

“Outstanding... Lister's book works magnificently not just because he tells a great story with unfussy clarity and journalistic rigour but because - like the best sports books - it is not content to stick to sport. ”

Richard Whitehead, The Times

“A perceptive and comprehensive account that more than cricket knows”

Gideon Haigh

“Calm and fair, but with pace and bounce, the story of the most feared team cricket has ever seen”

Matthew Engel

“As near definitive as you could want...expert and knowledgeable”

Danny Kelly, Observer

“The best cricket book since Beyond A Boundary by CLR James. I am completely intrigued by the fact that it is set in a historical and social context over an extended period and brings to the fore, so many of the thoughts I had as a young man in pre and post-independent Jamaica. It should be obligatory reading for every West Indian but especially those young aspiring West Indian cricketers”

Pat Rousseau, former President, West Indies Cricket Board

“One of the best sports books I've read in years”

Simon Kuper

“The chapter on fast bowling in Fire In Babylon is the best thing you'll read this year. If you read it. Please do read it.”

Rob Smyth, Guardian/Daily Telegraph sportswriter

“[Lister's] analysis of the...team's fast bowling attack shows him as perceptive a judge of technique as he is a cultural historian”


“A compelling book”

Western Morning News

“Lister’s phenomenal research is thoroughly entertaining”



Chris Maume, Independent

“This book is a wonderful tribute to one of the greatest sporting teams that ever existed.”

Mark Gallagher, Daily Mail

“This is the definitive written history and celebration of one of sport’s most socially influential and thrilling episodes”

Nick Pitt, Sunday Times

“Evokes times when West Indian cricketers were…dominant”

Huw Richards, Guardian


Andy Bull, Observer

“One of the areas in which Lister really does a fantastic job is balance of opinion. The author has his own views, some more common sense than others, but he gives column inches to all sides of a story and allows everyone a chance to state their case… here's an excellent balance between sport and life. It gives great insight into some fascinating individuals and doesn't shirk the big issues. It's comprehensive, an easy read and never overstays its welcome… This book is a must read for the cricket fan out there, full of interesting stories, tales from the tour and a really close look at one of the best sporting outfits of all-time.”

Wexford People

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