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Lead book review

Sport, for the English, has always been a defiant assertion of liberty

The history of English sport reflects a defiant people determined to protect their ancient prerogatives, says Alex Massie

22 August 2020

9:00 AM

22 August 2020

9:00 AM

This Sporting Life: Sport and Liberty in England 1760–1960 Robert Colls

OUP, pp.416, 25

Spirit of Cricket: Reflections on Play and Life Mike Brearley

Constable, pp.256, 20

The Breath of Sadness: On Love, Grief and Cricket Ian Ridley

Floodlit Dreams, pp.320, 13.99

The English cannot be understood without some appreciation of their attachment to their games, and yet this is an area of their story often overlooked by historians. Or perhaps it is simply considered beneath their interest. This is the central message of Robert Colls’s superb account of England viewed through the medium of its sports and pastimes.

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