10 books like Sport and the British

By Richard Holt,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Sport and the British. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Harold Larwood

By Duncan Hamilton,

Book cover of Harold Larwood

Best start with a cracker. Harold Larwood was the best fast bowler England ever produced. Three times winner of the William Hill Prize, Duncan Hamilton has claim to be the best sports writer. In the famous ‘Bodyline’ tests with Australia in 1933, standing 5’ 7” and 11 stone wet-through, Larwood the Nottinghamshire coalminer intimidated Bradman, ‘The Don’, the world’s greatest batsman. Chapter one is called ‘Kicking Bradman Up the Arse’ but the writing, like the bowling, rises to the occasion: “At full speed, Larwood flowed like a bolt of pure silk”.

Harold Larwood

By Duncan Hamilton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Harold Larwood as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the William Hill Sports Book of the Year, this is the first ever biography of Harold Larwood. Larwood, one of the most talented, accurate and intimidating fast bowlers of all time is mainly remembered for his role in the infamous Bodyline series of 1932-3 which brought Anglo-Australian diplomatic relations to the brink of collapse. Larwood was made the scapegoat - and despite the fact he was simply following his captain's instructions, he never played cricket for England again. Devastated by this betrayal, he eventually emigrated to Australia, where he was accepted by the country that had once despised…


Pierce Egan's Book of Sports, and Mirror of Life

By Pierce Egan,

Book cover of Pierce Egan's Book of Sports, and Mirror of Life

Sub-titled ‘embracing The Turf, The Chase, The Ring and The Stage’ and published in 1832, this book gives you a real taste of what old-time ‘sport’ was all about. Anything amusing! Even better, because it was written by the first great sporting journalist, this is the book that takes you there. You can smell the stables and taste the claret. In the year of Rachael Blackmore, for instance, check out “The Gallant Spirited Race, at Knavesmire, in Yorks, 4 miles for 500 or 1000 guineas, between The Late Col Thornton’s Lady and Mr. Flint…a lasting moment of FEMALE INTREPIDITY”. Irresistible.

Pierce Egan's Book of Sports, and Mirror of Life

By Pierce Egan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Pierce Egan's Book of Sports, and Mirror of Life as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This work has been selected by scholars as being culturally important and is part of the knowledge base of civilization as we know it.

This work is in the public domain in the United States of America, and possibly other nations. Within the United States, you may freely copy and distribute this work, as no entity (individual or corporate) has a copyright on the body of the work.

Scholars believe, and we concur, that this work is important enough to be preserved, reproduced, and made generally available to the public. To ensure a quality reading experience, this work has been…


The Sweet Science

By A.J. Liebling,

Book cover of The Sweet Science

In a very British list, there has got to be something from the great American tradition. Liebling wrote for the elite New Yorker but as a New Yorker in every sense he liked to think of himself as a sort of Pierce Egan of the Bronx. So, in the heyday of American fighting, take a ringside seat at The Garden to see the fighter with a face like a worn penny, and see Jersey Joe Walcott take a fall like flour out of a chute.

The Sweet Science

By A.J. Liebling,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Sweet Science as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Take a ringside seat next to A. J. Liebling at some of the greatest fights in history. Here is Joe Louis's devastating final match; Sugar Ray Robinson's dramatic comeback; and Rocky Marciano's rise to heavyweight glory. The heated ringside atmosphere, the artistry of the great boxers and the blows and parries of the classic fights are all vividly evoked in a volume described by Sports Illustrated as 'the best American sports book of all time'.

'A rollicking god among boxing writers ... before Tom Wolfe and Hunter S. Thompson were out of diapers, Liebling was taking his readers on excursions…


Fever Pitch

By Nick Hornby,

Book cover of Fever Pitch

There has to be a football book in the list and it was a toss-up between this and the other This Sporting Life (1960), David Storey’s magnificent novel about northern rugby league. But Hornby edges it because he is writing about being a fan and god knows being a fan gets little enough attention in sport writing. Admittedly, it is about Arsenal but I’m just going to have to live with that because Highbury was a lovely ground and Hornby is smart enough to know that sport is about everything in life but money.

Fever Pitch

By Nick Hornby,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Fever Pitch as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book, chronicled from the perspective of a fanatical ten-year-old soccer fan, through disillusioned adolescence, to an adult "who should know better", examines the absurdities, idiosyncrasies and traumas of everyday life and football. While Chelsea were undoubtedly the football team at the heart of fashionable London in the late 1960s, it proved to be the quiet backstreets around Highbury and Finsbury Park which led a sombre schoolboy from Maidenhead into a 20-year obsession with football, and Arsenal FC in particular. Nick Hornby became hooked after seeing Arsenal beat Stoke City (1-0 from a penalty rebound) in 1968. 24 years later…


Mud, Blood and Poppycock

By Gordon Corrigan,

Book cover of Mud, Blood and Poppycock: Britain and the Great War

The shout line on the jacket is “This will overturn everything you thought you knew about…The First World War”, and it certainly delivers. No other conflict has been so misrepresented, and for most people, their idea of it comes straight from Blackadder Goes Forth. But men did not spend months at a time in the trenches; a whole generation did not die; the generals were not cowardly, incompetent fools.

When I first began to write about WW1 for my Morland Dynasty series, I knew as little as anyone, and what I thought I knew was all wrong! By the time I was researching for War At Home, I knew a lot more, but Corrigan opens my eyes to many more subjects. Informative, well-researched, but above all wonderfully readable, this book should be required reading for anyone who is interested in what really happened, not just the made-for-tv version.

Mud, Blood and Poppycock

By Gordon Corrigan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mud, Blood and Poppycock as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The true story of how Britain won the First World War.

The popular view of the First World War remains that of BLACKADDER: incompetent generals sending brave soldiers to their deaths. Alan Clark quoted a German general's remark that the British soldiers were 'lions led by donkeys'. But he made it up.

Indeed, many established 'facts' about 1914-18 turn out to be myths woven in the 1960s by young historians on the make. Gordon Corrigan's brilliant, witty history reveals how out of touch we have become with the soldiers of 1914-18. They simply would not recognize the way their generation…


Mysterious Britain

By Janet Bord, Colin Bord,

Book cover of Mysterious Britain: Ancient Secrets of the United Kingdom and Ireland

One of the inspirations for Mystical France was this classic published in the 1970s, a guide to the earth mysteries and traditions of the British Isles by two photographers fascinated by standing stones, UFOs, and ley lines. It’s a matter-of-fact assembly of all the strange things they could find. The images are in black and white but this only adds to the aura of the places described. The text mainly consists of extended captions making it easy to pick up and flick through without having to commit to reading hefty chapters. As in the best-illustrated books, the words explain the pictures and the pictures explain the words with nothing superfluous.

Mysterious Britain

By Janet Bord, Colin Bord,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mysterious Britain as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Creased spine and page edges tanned, corner of cover creased. Shipped from the U.K. All orders received before 3pm sent that weekday.


The Men Who Lost America

By Andrew Jackson O'Shaughnessy,

Book cover of The Men Who Lost America: British Leadership, the American Revolution and the Fate of the Empire

The vast majority of books on the Revolutionary War are written by Americans, and they predictably focus on the conflict from the Patriot side. But throughout the war, the strategic initiative rested with Britain, not the United States. Through a series of brilliant biographical chapters, O’Shaughnessy traces the history of the war and the evolution of British strategy, and its ultimate failure, from the imperial side.

The Men Who Lost America

By Andrew Jackson O'Shaughnessy,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Men Who Lost America as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The loss of America was a stunning and unexpected defeat for the powerful British Empire. Common wisdom has held that incompetent military commanders and political leaders in Britain must have been to blame, but were they? This intriguing book makes a different argument. Weaving together the personal stories of ten prominent men who directed the British dimension of the war, historian Andrew O'Shaughnessy dispels the incompetence myth and uncovers the real reasons that rebellious colonials were able to achieve their surprising victory. In interlinked biographical chapters, the author follows the course of the war from the perspectives of King George…


Hugh Dalton

By Ben Pimlott,

Book cover of Hugh Dalton: A Life

This is a remarkable book which took an overlooked figure and showed how he was central to the story of Labour politics for across several decades. Dalton was most famous as the Chancellor who resigned after accidentally leaking details of his Budget in 1947, but he was also an important thinker who helped keep his party on a moderate track during its crisis period in the 1930s. As the editor of Dalton’s diaries Pimlott was well placed to tell the tale, which reveals Dalton as an unhappy and even tragic figure. It’s a mark of the book’s success that nobody has written a biography of Dalton since.

Hugh Dalton

By Ben Pimlott,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Hugh Dalton as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A biography of Hugh Dalton, who is a figure in Labour Party history.


Brit(ish)

By Afua Hirsch,

Book cover of Brit(ish): On Race, Identity and Belonging

Afua’s father is from a Jewish refugee family, her mother is Ghanian. She grows up in an affluent middle-class suburb of London. As she explores her Black and Ghanian identity she looks at what it means to be British; the political heritage, race, and identity from the inside of a loving mix raced family. It is an important commentary on her experience of being in more than one place at the same time.

Brit(ish)

By Afua Hirsch,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Brit(ish) as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From Afua Hirsch - co-presenter of Samuel L. Jackson's major BBC TV series Enslaved - the Sunday Times bestseller that reveals the uncomfortable truth about race and identity in Britain today.

You're British.

Your parents are British.

Your partner, your children and most of your friends are British.

So why do people keep asking where you're from?

We are a nation in denial about our imperial past and the racism that plagues our present. Brit(ish) is Afua Hirsch's personal and provocative exploration of how this came to be - and an urgent call for change.

'The book for our divided…


A World on Fire

By Amanda Foreman,

Book cover of A World on Fire: Britain's Crucial Role in the American Civil War

This story captured my attention because of the period, and drama that explodes in and behind the scenes. It intertwines the lives and sagas of ordinary families and ordinary lives. I love to read and write about characters that have depth, believability, and the all-time favourite, coincidence. I found myself immersed immediately.  

The world is at war. I learned how middle-class Harry Chase and his working-class girlfriend Lois Bennett fought against the Blackshirts, that was until Harry headed to Warsaw as a translator. Lois is busy with her factory work, whilst managing her pacifist father. Harry promises to write but soon finds himself conflicted as he has a Polish sweetheart, Kasia. What becomes of Lois? I was delighted when this book was turned into a drama production by the BBC. Though great, I stand by the book. It is a great read. 

A World on Fire

By Amanda Foreman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A World on Fire as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

10 BEST BOOKS • THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW • 2011
 
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
The Washington Post • The New Yorker • Chicago Tribune • The Economist • Nancy Pearl, NPR • Bloomberg.com • Library Journal • Publishers Weekly
 
In this brilliant narrative, Amanda Foreman tells the fascinating story of the American Civil War—and the major role played by Britain and its citizens in that epic struggle. Between 1861 and 1865, thousands of British citizens volunteered for service on both sides of the Civil War. From the first…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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