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The journey started on a fabulous night at Cook's Garden, Wanganui, where a youthful Norman Harris from the New Zealand Herald was the only national media witness to Peter Snell's world-record mile. That launched a wave of exciting writing, typically described by reviewers as "fresh" or "vivid". Abroad, the young journalist was acclaimed for "perhaps the finest writing on athletics in the English language". But Beyond Cook's Gardens goes beyond athletics. Along the journey we meet some surprising characters - from Jack Nicklaus to Kiri Te Kanawa, from Glenn Turner to Benjamin Britten. We learn of threats and blackmail by sports officials in New Zealand; and assualt by a notorious All Black; a cloak-and-dagger encounter in Moscow; and the coining of a brand new word, Jogger. Through many years in the UK, the writer remained close to New Zealand sport, and recently produced "Scottie", an acclaimed drama about a maverick athlete. But wherever his stories are set, the telling always seems to come from a fresh, intriguing angle. So it is now in a memoir notable for its wry humour, a sense of humanity and, above all, a fascination with the magic of words.