A Sporting Time

New York City and the Rise of Modern Athletics, 1820-70

The acclaimed study of how Americans went mad for sports in the 1800s

A classic of scholarship, A Sporting Time rewrites the narrative of how Americans embraced sports. Melvin L. Adelman argues that modern sports began its rise long before the close of the nineteenth century. Focusing on games like baseball and cricket, turf sports like horse and harness racing, and competitive activities ranging from rowing to billiards to boxing, Adelman shows how American athletics became increasingly organized and commercialized. He also traces the emergence of national standards and competition, specialized player roles, the growth of sports information systems, and the ideological sanctions that promoted the moral and social benefits of sport.

"The most important work on sports in nineteenth-century America since John R. Betts' classic America's Sporting Heritage. Adelman offers a major reinterpretation of the relationship between sports and urban life, well anchored by extensive research and perceptive analysis."--Jules Tygiel, author of Baseball's Great Experiment: Jackie Robinson and His Legacy

"Without a doubt this splendid book is one of the best studies yet completed in sport history."--Benjamin G. Rader, author of Baseball: A History of America's Game

"Must reading for anyone interested in mid-nineteenth century American social, cultural, and urban history."--Steven A. Reiss, author of City Games: The Evolution of American Urban Society and the Rise of Sports

Melvin L. Adelman was a sport historian at The Ohio State University.

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Edited by Maureen Smith