Cover for BAKER: Sports in the Western World. Click for larger image

Sports in the Western World

A wide-ranging survey of competitive sports history

"Human beings cannot live by bread alone. They dream and they strive. Not merely for warmth do they take fire from the altar of the gods; curiosity is their glory and their pain. They climb mountains, cross uncharted seas, and explore outer space for reasons other than material benefit. They thrive on challenges. Seekers of laurel, they especially measure themselves in competition with fellow humans. Where there is no contest, they create one. From deep within, and from millennia past, comes the impulse for athletic competition. This book is about the history of competitive sports in the Western world--from ancient religious ritual and simple tribal contests to highly organized modern spectacles."--From the introduction

"A complete sports history from Paleolithic times to the present. There's something revealing on almost every page of this fine effort."--Publisher's Weekly

"Lively narrative. . . . [I]ts virtues are rich detail, extended coverage, and a fluid writing style."--Historian

"Every . . . sporting even, from amateur Olympics to professional media hypes [is] presented in this thorough, well-composed chronicle."--Best Sellers

"[This] ambitious book examines the impulses behind the games that man has always played. . . . Entertaining throughout."--Kliatt

"An elegant book, which examines the rise of competitive sport in Western society from ancient times to the present. . . . The focus is on athletes, sporting patrons, spectators, and opinion makers. . . . Highly recommended."--Choice

William J. Baker is a professor emeritus of history at the University of Maine. He is the author of Jesse Owens: An American Lifeand coeditor of Sports in Modern America, Sports and the Humanities, and Sport in Africa: Essays in Social History.

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