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The Forbidden Game

The Forbidden Game [Kindle Edition]

Mike Rylance
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

The phenomenal rise of Rugby League in pre-war France and its scandalous obliteration by the collaborationist Vichy government qualifies as one of the greatest stories never told. Corruption, brutality and shamateurism had plagued the world of orthodox rugby when Rugby League made its first appearance across the Channel, bringing with it open professionalism and a new, dynamic sporting spectacle which delighted the public. Only six seasons later le rugby à treize , the troublesome upstart, was wiped out by a conspiracy which counts as one of the most extreme examples of one sport's hostility towards another. A victim of the shadowy rugby union figures who stalked the newly-opened corridors of power at Vichy, Rugby League suffered a scandalous abuse of authority which has had repercussions up to the present day.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 394 KB
  • Print Length: 211 pages
  • Publisher: League Publications Ltd (3 Jan 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006X38B1I
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #40,110 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Mike Rylance has written extensively on rugby league, from national newspapers to magazines and yearbooks, both in Britain and France. The founding editor of the weekly 'League Express' newspaper, he continues to contribute to that title, as well as to Rugby League World magazine. He taught modern languages at Queen Elizabeth Grammar School, Wakefield for over thirty years and has an even longer association with the Wakefield Trinity Rugby League Club. His book, The Forbidden Game, an investigation into the fate of rugby league under the war-time Vichy government, received considerable acclaim. He has spoken on discrimination against rugby league at the European Parliament in Strasbourg and has taken part in radio and television discussions on the subject in Britain and France.

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Customer Reviews

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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A remarkable book, and not just for RL fans 26 July 2007
By W. Mann
The French Rugby Union's collusion with the Nazi-backed Vichy Government to ban Rugby League is one of the most shameful episodes in the history of sport, as a review of the cover says.
It all but destroyed a sport that was, at the time, threatening to overtake rugby union in popularity terms, even though league was only introduced to France six years earlier. Had league continued its meteoric rise, the map of world rugby - and I mean both codes - might today be very different.
Yet there is still a sense of denial about what happened to rugby league in France, and even today, the game is discriminated against - try asking the Catalans Dragons about their difficulties sharing a supposedly municipal stadium with union club Perpignan last season.
It's enough to make league men - treizistes in France - angry, very angry. Yet Rylance writes with a controlled passion, presenting the facts with great thoroughness, arguing with clarity, but also providing touches of colour and poetry along the way. Worth singling out is the parallel he draws between French rugby league and the massacre of the Cathars in 13th Century France - for daring to defy the might of the Catholic Church.
It is a shame the book has not come to wider attention. As one other reviewer says, it would make a great film or at least documentary.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible book! 1 Oct 2006
I did not know much about the dark days of French RL, when they were basically hounded out of existence, so this book filled in those gaps in my knowledge. It's an incredibly well researched book, that in parts reads like a thriller. I am surprised no-one has ever got hold of the rights for this book and tried to make a film from is that good.

For any student of the RL game, then this book is a must. It's a book that makes you angry, and then ultimately proud of the sport, as it has survived no matter what has been thrown at it; including the might of the German Army.

Highly reccomended!
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good book 21 Aug 2000
By A Customer
Well written and entertaining book about the history of RL in France. I very much enjoyed reading about the growth of the game dispite all the obstacles put in its path. Having watch the game in the French heartlands its great to see that it still is a intregal part of parts of Southern France.
Well worth buying.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A story to be told... and widespread 25 Dec 2009
What a shame this book was to be written by a british journalist ! Mike Rylance made a tremendous and thorough work that needs to be known by every french supporter of the truth ! Wonderfully written, clear and welle documented, this book places the actual situation of both codes of rugby in France in a historical perspective. Investigations and interviews of first rate witnesses make this document a fair report of events that have been relatively recently rediscovered among french public... And not enough referred to nowadays.
The details about the amount and the value of the french rugby league clubs and association money and properties unduly transferred to rugby union clubs and federation are recorded in the ministry of sports report that has still to be made public.
In the waiting, today"s clubs and federation of rugby league fight for a better part in the french media, not against rugby union but at its side, exactly like football or basketball do.
I tried for almost a year to find and buy this book, whose existence I knew of for many years. Let's hope its french version will be soon re-released in numbers. Thank you Mr Rylance.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting history 18 Sep 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Mike Rylance's book finally puts the meat on the bones of this long reported episode in France's rugby history. It is very well-researched, including late-in-life interviews with some of the former players but as with all history the, the writing has to be viewed in light of the relative bias of the author. Having finished reading the book last week, it struck me that the message the author was trying to portray (that the French Rugby Union itself actually colluded with the Vichy Government to ban Rugby League) didn't quite hit you in the face as hard as I thought it would, or was intended to. The book is litered with inferences that "rugby union" as a body worked to do so, however if the facts are taken as read then it is true to say that Colonel JEP Pascot, as director of the Vichy Regime's sports policy, was the key man who implemented the policy to ban Rugby League and confiscate its assets. But is it true to say that, because he was a union player, and that as his sympathies lay firmly with rugby union, rugby union was responsible? Jean Borotra was a former tennis player and the policy extended to tennis, jeu de paume, badminton, and, to an extent and for a limited time, to football. The book does not really touch , in great detail, on the effects and reaction suffered by those sports from the same regime.

Notwithstanding that, it does describe the clear hypocrisy of the FFR in its (false and self-protecting) idealogical fight against professionalism it must be true to say that French rugby union profited from the forced demise of Rugby League during the Vichy Regime.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great read.
Published 1 month ago by MARTIN R BURROWS
4.0 out of 5 stars French Rugby League.
Difficult to imagine that the French establishment could have outlawed a sport for its honesty in paying players and turning a blind eye to the 'dark side' that payed the but... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Reluctant gardner
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for all RL fans
A must read for all RL fans. What could've been had RL been allowed to develop in France from its inception in the 30's? Read more
Published 10 months ago by Mathew Lindop
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding book, a must for rugby league/sport history fans
I'm half way through reading this incredibly informative and interesting book and am loving it so far. The delivery was fantastic and the price was a bargain. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Paul Purcell
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic account of events that should not be forgotten.
Having been aware of this book for a while before finally reading it, I was not disappointed in the slightest. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Paul Wilson
5.0 out of 5 stars A spotlight on a sordid point in sporting history.
Before purchasing this book, I already new a little about this terrible injustice perpetrated by one code of rugby(union) against another code(league). Read more
Published 20 months ago by D. H. Johnson
5.0 out of 5 stars ffr should hang their heads in shame
a great book about a shameful subject. i really wish somebody else would write a book on the same subject as one book is not enough.
Published 22 months ago by Lawless1895
4.0 out of 5 stars Amazed
Never realised the depth of feeling that league vs union could lead to such an episode in French history. Only took 2 goes to read and enjoyed every part.
Published 22 months ago by tracey clough
4.0 out of 5 stars An episode of bigotry.
I had been meaning to get this book for a while but only managed to do it when I got my Kindle. I'd heard many reports about the book and knew what the theme of the book was about... Read more
Published on 12 Oct 2012 by Mr. A. P. Birch
4.0 out of 5 stars A well researched book
I wanted to understand what happened to the game in France and this book certainly filled in the gaps in my knowledge. Read more
Published on 9 Mar 2012 by Russell Purdam
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