Beyond a Boundary
Why this book?
Arguably the greatest sports book ever written, it would be impossible to exclude James’ classic study for many reasons. Firstly, assuming you discount the broader sweep of Richard Hoggart’s Uses of Literacy (1957), it was the first book to cite sport as an important realm of historical enquiry.
James weaves personal biography and the development and organisation of cricket in the West Indies, to demonstrate how these reflected the colonialism and racial hierarchies that shaped life in the West Indies. Cricket is, therefore, inherently political: As James states himself, the game had "plunged me into politics long before I was aware of it. [And] when I did turn to politics I did not have too much to learn." An essential book for anyone with an interest in class, race, and society.