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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 (London) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Forbidden Game: The Untold Story of French Rugby League (Hardcover)
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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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good book, 21 Aug 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Forbidden Game: The Untold Story of French Rugby League (Hardcover)
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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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible book!, 1 Oct 2006
By 
Mr. Jason Wilsher-mills (Lincolnshire, but heart still in Wakefield) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Forbidden Game: The Untold Story of French Rugby League (Hardcover)
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 it...it 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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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
By 
This review is from: The Forbidden Game: The Untold Story of French Rugby League (Hardcover)
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for all RL fans, 10 Jan 2014
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?
It would make a fantastic film however I imagine any attempt to show the establishmen's game in a bad lighr may suffer the same persecution French RL has had to endure.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic account of events that should not be forgotten., 11 July 2013
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Having been aware of this book for a while before finally reading it, I was not disappointed in the slightest. Superbly compiled with a well thought out discussion, it chronologically develops the growth of Rugby League in France and its constant struggles and crimes against it. Would recommend it to any sports fan and any individual with an interest in war time French propaganda. Amazing work!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A spotlight on a sordid point in sporting history., 23 Mar 2013
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Before purchasing this book, I already new a little about this terrible injustice perpetrated by one code of rugby(union) against another code(league).This shameful episode has been conveniently forgotten by the union code and perhaps some in league dont realise what went on and certainly might not know about rugby union collaborating with the nazis in order to crush rugby league. A truly shameful episode,that I for one will never forget or forgive.
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5.0 out of 5 stars ffr should hang their heads in shame, 26 Jan 2013
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.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Amazed, 7 Jan 2013
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.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A well researched book, 9 Mar 2012
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I wanted to understand what happened to the game in France and this book certainly filled in the gaps in my knowledge. It takes the reader through the hypocritical attitudes of the time and shows that the history of rugby in France is not a black and white story. Well worth a read for anyone who is interested in the oval ball game.
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The Forbidden Game: The Untold Story of French Rugby League
The Forbidden Game: The Untold Story of French Rugby League by Mike Rylance (Hardcover - 30 Nov 1999)
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