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Squash: A History of the Game [Hardcover]

George Plimpton , James Zug

RRP: 38.99
Price: 28.74 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

1 Sep 2003
The first comprehensive history of squash in the United States, Squash incorporates every aspect of this increasingly popular sport: men's and women's play, juniors and intercollegiates, singles and doubles, hardball and softball, amateurs and professionals. Invented by English schoolboys in the 1850s, squash first came to the United States in 1884 when St. Paul's School in New Hampshire built four open-air courts. The game took hold in Philadelphia, where players founded the U.S. Squash Racquets Association in 1904, and became one of the primary pastimes of the nation's elite. Squash launched a U.S. Open in 1954, but its present boom started in the 1970s when commercial squash clubs took the sport public. In the 1980s a pro tour sprung up to offer tournaments on portable glass courts in dramatic locales such as the Winter Garden at the World Trade Center. James Zug, with access to private archives and interviews with hundreds of players, describes the riveting moments and sweeping historical trends that have shaped the game. He focuses on the biographies of legendary squash personalities: Eleo Sears, the Boston Brahmin who swam in the cold Atlantic before matches; Hashim Khan, the impish founder of the Khan dynasty; Victor Niederhoffer, the son of a Brooklyn cop; and Mark Talbott, a Grateful Dead groupie who traveled the pro circuit sleeping in the back of his pickup. A gripping cultural history, Squash is the book for which all aficionados of this fast-paced, exciting game have been waiting.

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Since time immemorial, ball games have been a balm to the human condition. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars  12 reviews
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Like golf on TV... 5 Nov 2003
By John Nixon - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
...if you've never played golf, it's darn near unwatchable. If you've never played squash, I'm not sure this book is all that readable, save in small chunks. However, for a player such as me it's a great book. Most interesting are Zug's efforts at unravelling the origins of the game from the morass of legends, myths and speculations surrounding that whole English prison/public school debate; and his thoughts on the fairly recent conversion of the North American countries to the international softball game. He mourns, as I do somewhat, the loss of the quirky games and personalities that the American hardball game produced.
If I had one quibble it would be the author's dwelling on the stories and athletes with ties to the Ivy League's perennial squash powers. I could have used a little less history of Harvard's stars of the 1920's and a little more on some less well-known squash luminaries. For example, Heather McKay, the Australian, won the British Open 16 consecutive years, didn't lose a single game in a tournament for nine straight years, etc., etc., but merits two paragraphs?
Overall an impressive accomplishment for Mr. Zug. Well written, thoroughly researched, and heartfelt. Thanks!
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sports Brought to Life! Amazing Characters...Great History 8 Sep 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Take your pick: Whether you're a sports nuts or a fan of history, you'll love this book. Zug catches you right away and pulls you into this fun, quirky, elite, competitve world. Even if you've never seen a squash game, this is a great read. You'll be delighted by the memorable characters and refreshing writing. A GREAT read!!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Great Read 6 Oct 2004
By Jalper - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
"Squash: A History of the Game" was a very interesting read, and I especially recommend it for all players of Squash. Although dense at points, this book really gives a great history of how squash came to be. James Zug takes us through the transformation from a game named fives, first played against a kitchen chimeny wall, to raquets made from bamboo sticks, to the regulation size courts and oversized hyper titanium raquets we know today. It even explained why "Squash" is called squash, the mysterious question that nobody on my team seems to know the answer to. Im not going to tell you however, you'll have to read it on your own. Like I said before, I belive this book is more enjoyable for squash players. This is just my opinion however, so if you don't play squash I still suggest you try reading this book.

Well anyway thats my 2 cents. Altogether I think this book is definitly a great read, and definitly very useful as a reference if you are writing an essay on the history of squash. Four star material.

-Jalper
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Instant Classic of a Mine Unworked 14 Jan 2004
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This book, as the forward by the late George Plimpton indicates, is the first comprehensive history of American squash, and it is a hard act to follow. As such it is pretty much assured "instant classic" status.
Problems with the book: 1) The title does not indicate that it is a history of squash in America. Except for the very early history of squash in England, do not expect to find much outside the U.S. and Canada. 2) It is written for the squash player, and will be difficult to read for outsiders--except perhaps as a reference.
Good things about the book: Everything else.
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting History, Way Too Long 17 Mar 2014
By a knitter - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
Lots of detail, but very repetitive. Desperately needed more editing. Gives every squash enthusiast a real history of the game.
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