×

Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

Sports: An Illustrated History
     

Sports: An Illustrated History

by David G. McComb, Greg Wozney (Other)
 

Sports are such an integral part of human culture that it is hard to imagine a newspaper without a sports section or a television news program without a sports commentator. Sports have become a multinational megabusiness. Professional athletes are paid enormous sums of money and fans proudly wear the jerseys of their heroes. Cities risk bankruptcy to construct

Overview

Sports are such an integral part of human culture that it is hard to imagine a newspaper without a sports section or a television news program without a sports commentator. Sports have become a multinational megabusiness. Professional athletes are paid enormous sums of money and fans proudly wear the jerseys of their heroes. Cities risk bankruptcy to construct stadiums and nations subsidize athletes to carry their colors in international competition. Major sporting events draw record numbers of TV viewers and electrify sports enthusiasts from every walk of life, income bracket, and ethnic identity.
Athletic competition may be as old as humankind. Throughout history, sports have exerted a forceful influence on almost every facet of life, from politics and war, through culture and the arts, and on to issues that literally concern life and death. The ancient Greeks, by universal accord, ceased all wartime activities for the duration of the Olympic games, while historians believe that players of the ancient Mexican game "ollama" may have been executed at the end of each competition.
Sports: An Illustrated History is an engrossing and lively account of the evolution of sports through various civilizations around the world. Historian David McComb uses sports history as a window into world history and society. This lavishly illustrated volume is not limited to the sports we know well and often play in our backyards, on school teams, or playgrounds. McComb describes the ball games of Mesoamerica, Sumo wrestling in Japan, martial arts in China, wrestling in ancient Egypt, the Olympic Games of classical Greece, and the gladiator fights in ancient Rome. He brings to life medieval tournaments and peasant ballgames, tracing the roots of modern sports.
The histories of cricket, soccer, rugby, baseball, football, basketball, hockey, golf, tennis, bicycle racing, skiing, and other contemporary sports are covered in depth. The author introduces us to the greatest sports personalities over the centuries: legendary Greek wrestler Milo of Croton, decathlete and baseball player Jim Thorpe, mile-runner Roger Bannister, soccer magician Pele, boxing champ Muhammad Ali, tennis great Billie Jean King, and many others. Woven into the narration are stories about the role of women in athletic competition, the participation of African Americans and other minorities in sports, violence in sports, media coverage, and the sharpening distinction between professional and amateur sports. Following the thread of McComb's fascinating narrative, we visit the great stadiums of the world, become familiar with the strongest and fastest athletes, visit with championship teams, and learn how and why the international sports organizations and competitions were put together. The book concludes with a discussion of the growth of international competition and the modern Olympics.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"It seems that for every student who chooses sports as a term-paper topic, there is a teacher urging him/her to relate the subject to broader issues. This book is an excellent tool for helping students do just that. It examines the ways in which sport has, at various times, intermingled with religion, politics, nationalism, and terrorism and warfare.... McComb examines these issues in a thoughtful, balanced manner, eschewing easy, conventional interpretation.... The overall quality of the information presented should ensure a spot for this title in every library that serves young adults."—School Library Journal

"[In] this encyclopedic look at sports...historian McComb unfolds a thoughtful chronology of the games—both gory and genteel—and discusses the society each game reflects. He provides enough sports lore to interest fans while connecting the playing field to broader themes of politics, technology, and the role of women... Plenty of illustrations."—Booklist

"The true sports enthusiast will enjoy this book... I would recommend [it]."—VOYA

"A fine history of sports that should be useful collateral reading for world or U.S. history."—Christian Schools International

VOYA - Kevin S. Beach
This book attempts to tackle an enormous topic in a rather small volume. The preface wrestles with the question of what the term "sports" means: here it is defined as any competitive activity involving rules and athletic prowess. The strength of the book lies in its first chapters, which cover the earliest roots of sport. The Greek tradition of long-distance running has the distinction of being the first truly organized sport. Physical activities of many other past civilizations around the world, mostly associated with religious practices or preparation for war, are also covered. Much attention is given to the ancient Olympic games. What follows is basically a history of the growth of sports in Western civilization and the gradual acceptance of women as competitors.

Pages on memorable sports events such as Roger Bannister's sub-four-minute mile and the U.S. loss of yachting's America's Cup are interspersed throughout the book. While many of these stories are interesting, the overall history glosses over or omits many great athletes and events. A scanning of the chronology in the appendix reveals that from 1984 to 1997, only Jack Nicklaus winning his sixth Masters golf tournament is noteworthy. The true sports enthusiast will enjoy the book, but many readers may be disappointed in the slight coverage of their favorites. Based on the strong, early history chapters and the fact that there are few sports history titles to choose from, I would recommend this book. However, it certainly cannot do justice to the greatest moments in every sport, so keep stocking the individual sport histories. Index. Illus. Photos. Further Reading. Chronology.

VOYA Codes: 3Q 2P M J S (Readable without serious defects, For the YA reader with a special interest in the subject, Middle School-defined as grades 6 to 8, Junior High-defined as grades 7 to 9 and Senior High-defined as grades 10 to 12).

School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-It seems that for every student who chooses sports as a term-paper topic, there is a teacher urging him/her to relate the subject to broader issues. This book is an excellent tool for helping students do just that. It examines the ways in which sport has, at various times, intermingled with religion, politics, nationalism, and terrorism and warfare. It demonstrates that while it has been used to foster democratic ideals, it has just as often been used to impose the customs and values of a conquering people on its subjects; that it has been a vehicle for the promotion of both racial equality and racist ideology; and that it has appealed to our highest sentiments as well as our basest emotions. McComb examines these issues in a thoughtful, balanced manner, eschewing easy, conventional interpretation. He admits, for example, that the meaning and purpose of sport in human history is difficult to determine and that it is not always legitimate to assume that sports reveal something significant about the character of the society in which they are played. Of particular interest are those sections dealing with the politicization of the Olympics, and with the influence a subset of the leisure class known as "the fancy" on late 19th-century sport. While the one-page epilogue does not do justice to the issues raised throughout the book, the overall quality of the information presented should ensure a spot for this title in every library that serves young adults.-Richard Luzer, Fair Haven Union High School, VT

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195100976
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
12/01/1998
Series:
Oxford Illustrated Histories (Y/A) Series
Pages:
144
Product dimensions:
8.60(w) x 10.90(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

David G. McComb is professor of history at Colorado State University, where he teaches sports history. He holds an M.A. from Rice University, an M.B.A. from Stanford University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin. He is the author of over 100 articles and several books, including Texas: An Illustrated History (Oxford University Press, 1995). He competed in age-group swimming in junior high school, high school, college, and at the master's level, cementing his life-long interest in sports both as a participant and a spectator. Like many of us, David McComb reads the sports pages first.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews