This Sporting Life: Sport and Liberty in England, 1760-1960
Published : Thursday 9 July 2020
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This Sporting Life offers an important view of England's cultural history through its sporting pursuits, carrying the reader to a match or a hunt or a fight, viscerally drawing a portrait of the sounds and smells, and showing that sport has been as important in defining British culture as gender, politics, education, class, and religion.
Why did killing a fox mean liberty? What did parish revels have to do with the Peterloo Massacre? What did animal cruelty have to do with the English constitution? What did the Factory Acts mean for modern football? In This Sporting Life, Robert Colls explains sport as one of England's great civil cultures. The lived experiences of people from all walks of life are reclaimed to tell England's history through its great sporting cultures, from the horseback pursuits of the wealthy and politically connected, to the street games in working-class neighbourhoods which needed nothing but a ball. It observes people at play, describes how they felt and thought, carries the reader along to a match or a hunt or a fight, draws out the sounds and smells of humans and animals, showing that sport has been as important in defining British culture as gender, politics, education, class, and religion.