David Frith was born in London on 16 March 1937. His family moved to Sydney in 1949 when he was eleven. Early in his career he worked for the Daily Mirror and the Commonwealth Bank at Cronulla. He returned to England in 1964.
After working as freelance writer, he became the deputy editor and,in 1973, editor of The Cricketer. He founded Wisden Cricket Monthly and edited from June 1979 to February 1996.
Particularly specialising in Ashes Test Match history, Frith has written dozens of books, on both cricket in modern times and cricket of the past. His major works include My Dear Victorious Stod (a biography of A.E.Stoddart), Silence of the Heart (on cricket's suicides, an expansion of his earlier book 'By His Own Hand), The Fast Men, The Slow Men (about fast bowlers and spinners), Pageant of Cricket (illustrated by 2000 pictures), Caught England, Bowled Australia (autobiography), The Trailblazers (the first English tour of Australia, in 1861-62), The Archie Jackson Story (biography) and Bodyline Autopsy. He has also been involved in producing cricket videos, which have been extremely successful.
He famously commented that if the Indian Cricket Team won the 1983 World Cup then he would eat his words. With just a solitary win against minnows East Africa in the preceding World Cups in 1975 and 1979, it was never thought he would have to keep his promise. But, amazingly, India won an upset victory against reigning champions West Indies in a low-scoring final, and he promptly ate his words, devouring his magazine article, accompanied by some red wine.
In association with the National Film and Television Archive, he has presented an annual archive cricket film evening at the National Film Theatre in London since 1981.
In 2003 he became the first author to win the Cricket Society's Book of the Year award three times, and was also a finalist in the William Hill Sports Book awards for his Bodyline Autopsy. The book also won Wisden's book of the year and, in January 2010, it won Cricketweb's award for "book of the decade". In his assessment, Martin Chandler wrote:
"Autopsy" is a magnificent book possessing a vibrancy and objectivity that when I first read it I found quite remarkable. It is, without question, the CW "Book of the Decade" and were there any prospect of my being around to collect I would certainly place a large wager on whoever is writing this feature in 90 years time confirming it as CW "Book of the Century"