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This lively and deeply researched history - the first of its kind - goes beyond the great names and moments to explain how British sport has changed since 1800, and what it has meant to ordinary people. It shows how the way we play reflects t just our lives as citizens of a predominantly urban and industrial world, but what is especially distinctive about British sport. Invators in abandoning traditional, often brutal sports, and in establishing a code of 'fair play', the British were also pioneers in popular sports and in the promotion of organized spectator events. Modern media coverage of sport, gambling, violence and attitudes towards it, nationalism, and the role of sport in sustaining male identity are also explored, and the book is rich in illuminating and entertaining anecdotes, which it combines with a serious historical understanding of a fascinating subject.
Richard Holt was Lecturer in History at the University of Stirling.