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More Than a Game

On sale

9th November 2023

Price: £25

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Selected: ebook / ISBN-13: 9781529363296

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A TIMES BEST SPORTS BOOK OF THE YEAR

‘Superb . . . Deserves to become a classic of sporting literature’ DAVID KYNASTON


‘Absolutely fascinating and completely eye-opening – every page contains a gem’ MARINA HYDE

‘A sparkling history’ MATTHEW ENGEL

The story of how the British shaped sport, and sport shaped the British.

Sport is an enduring element of British life and culture. In all its variety, it touches on so many significant aspects of past and present: national identity, class, gender, the relationship between country and town, the rise of commerce, the evolution of ethical debate. Our sporting arenas have witnessed triumphs and heartbreaks that have become part of the national narrative.

For a country so obsessed with the invention, playing and watching of sport, the story of how it has come to reflect us remains untold. David Horspool tracks each game as a driver of social change: horse-racing’s obsession with blood and money turned an aristocratic pastime into a national sport; boxing promoted opportunity for ethnic minorities, while simultaneously enforcing a regime of discrimination; golf rehearsed a perennial battle over Britain’s landscape; the football fan created an exuberant, often troubled culture at the centre of British life; and the Empire and Commonwealth Games emerged as an unexpected response to the end of the imperial story.

The history of Britain in sport is a history of popular heroes and pantomime villains – independence fighters, suffragettes, Jewish bare-knuckle boxers – all sharing and contesting loyalties, passions, winning and losing. More Than a Game captures these seminal stories, revealing how sport cemented its place as the ultimate theatre of Britain’s past, and its present.

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Reviews

David Kynaston
A superb historical overview of the eternally close and often symbiotic relationship between British sport and British society. Capacious, full of telling detail, unfailingly readable and, perhaps above all, imbued with rock-solid judgment, it deserves to become a classic of sporting literature
Jonathan Wilson, author of INVERTING THE PYRAMID
A fascinating insight into how sport is both driven by and a driver of societal change
Matthew Engel, author of ELEVEN MINUTES LATE
A sparkling history that makes the reader keep murmuring "I never knew that"
Michael Taylor, author of THE INTEREST
An elegant, richly-textured history
Marina Hyde, author of WHAT JUST HAPPENED?!
Absolutely fascinating and completely eye-opening - every page contains a gem. I loved it
Sunday Telegraph
Horspool places sport at the heart of Britain's story . . . A joy . . . More Than a Game observes the grand sweep of British sporting history playing out as a set of eye-opening facts
Guardian
Thoughtful and entertaining
The Times, Best Sports Books of the Year
More Than A Game brilliantly and evocatively details the way we shaped this obsession and how it came to shape us and, indeed, our landscape
Literary Review
Horspool writes briskly and clearly . . . if you like to watch sport while thinking politics, this is the book for you
Dominic Sandbrook, Sunday Times
He has a lovely eye for memorable details . . . The most powerful theme of Horspool's book, though, is his attention to women's sport, so often marginalised in older accounts
Leo McKinstry, The Spectator
Highly original . . . lively, rich and readable . . . the range of Horspool's knowledge is impressive
Daily Telegraph
Fascinating . . . More Than a Game observes the grand sweep of British sporting history playing out as a set of eye-opening facts
Times Literary Supplement
Illuminating . . . [Horspool] has a lovely eye for the informative detail