A Devilish Pastime (whose title is explained in the first chapter) tells the story of how the football-like games of the distant past and the sporting revolution of the 19th century led to the emergence of mass-audience sports that have become such a huge part of modern life:
Soccer | Rugby (union and league) | American and Canadian football | Australian Rules | Gaelic football.
A Devilish Pastime follows the evolution of the rules, playing styles and cultures of these sports, and how they have become popular in various parts of the world and different sections of society. As well as being a sporting history, it touches on the social, cultural and political histories of the lands where these sports have blossomed.
Along the way, you will come across a litany of visionaries, innovators and chancers, not to mention the odd eccentric; along with tales of courage, violence and tragedy. It’s a story littered with surprises – you might well find some preconceptions being challenged, and others being wiped out altogether.
While other books tell the stories of individual sports, A Devilish Pastime takes a radically different (and yet true-to-life) view – combining the histories of these inter-related sports into one.
The Kindle edition of A Devilish Pastime was originally published in 2012, and was updated, re-edited and otherwise enhanced in 2017.
To start reading A Devilish Pastime, just follow the ‘Click to look inside’ link above …