No Helmets Required: The Remarkable Story of the American All Stars Hardcover – Illustrated, 1 May 2013
|New from||Used from|
- Choose from over 13,000 locations across the UK
- Prime members get unlimited deliveries at no additional cost
- Find your preferred location and add it to your address book
- Dispatch to this address when you check out
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
"An outstanding effort by Gavin Willacy. No Helmets Required should be a contender for the Sports Book of the Year award." --Martyn Sadler, editor League Express
"No Helmets Required is a terrific piece of work by Gavin Willacy. It is made especially relevant by the swashbuckling achievements of Terry Matterson's Tomahawks in the World Cup... Their on and off-field scrapes are recalled in fascinating style, with an enormous number of photographs and press cuttings bringing the story to life in vivid fashion." --Daily Mail rugby league reporter Neil Barraclough
"A fantastic book. An absolutely fascinating story with some great cameos, and real characters among them. It's a terrific book." --Dave Woods, BBC Radio 5 Live
"It's really exciting when a story comes from nowhere. This is movie material. I can't believe if Russell Crowe reads it he wouldn't be interested in making a film of it. A cracking read." --Paul Hawksbee, talkSPORT
"Brilliant. A superb book, highly recommended." --Gareth Walker, The People
"A superb book. Retold in a gripping and unique manner. Absolutely staggering... littered with fascinating and unique insights. Highly recommended for any rugby league fan and even non-followers of the sport could not fail to be captivated." --Rugby League World
"A fascinating story told in complete detail and with tremendous panache in a compelling new book. Willacy spent a decade researching one of rugby league's great forgotten stories. The result is an excellent account in a beautifully designed book which makes a thoroughly entertaining read." --Yorkshire Evening Post
"Gavin Willacy has produced a stunner of a book, one which I cannot praise enough for its originality and interest. A book which superbly tells of a unique and fascinating event. This true yet almost unbelievable story is told in detail. Any rugby league devotee will relish his tale and won't put it down." --League Weekly
"Brilliant. An amazing story of Mike Dimitro and US rugby league. A great story from any perspective. Damon Runyon meets Eddie Waring! Rugby book of 2013?" -Professor Tony Collins, RFL historian
"I've never seen a book like it." --Ian Ramsdale, BBC London
"I loved it. It's an amazing book, one of the most enjoyable I've read. It's sensational what these guys did." --Ray French, BBC Radio Merseyside
"Gavin Willacy has done a mighty job; the presentation is wonderfully unique and this book is as colourful as the uniforms of the All Stars. It is quite incredible to be now able to read about it, told first-hand by those members of the All Stars team who made that great adventure happen. There's no doubt that this book fills what was previously a huge gap in the telling of international rugby league history." --Harry Edgar, Rugby League Journal
There have been several candidates for the greatest rugby league story never told... for sheer off-beat fascination though, there is nothing to beat the story of the American All Stars of 1953, and Gavin Willacy has done them more than justice by shining a light into a dark corner. No Helmets Required took him ten years to research and write and it shows, because it is a magnificent piece of work. A fitting memorial to a gang of young men, Willacy tells their story vividly and makes it a satisfying read which I would recommend to any enthusiast. A word for the designer too it's a terrific looking tome." --Dave Hadfield, Forty-20 magazine
"No Helmets Required is an amazing story, one I've never heard before and I love it when that happens. It's a fantastic book." --Matt Williams, Simon Mayo Drivetime, BBC Radio 2
"It sounds like something straight out of Hollywood. Truly remarkable. The layout is absolutely beautiful: unlike anything I've ever seen in a sports book." --James Deighton, BBC Radio Leeds
"An outstanding effort by Gavin Willacy. No Helmets Required should be a contender for the Sports Book of the Year award." --Martyn Sadler, Editor League Express
About the Author
Gavin Willacy is the author of three previous sports books including Rugby League Bravehearts - The History of Scottish Rugby League. A sports reporter for 20 years, Gavin now works in sports management and writes freelance for titles such as Rugby League World, League Express, When Saturday Comes, The Sunday Times and The Independent.
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
Top customer reviews
I also thought I knew a fair bit about the history of the game but had no idea that a second, largely different USA team, also toured France.
They could make a film of the 1953 tour on its own. Mike Dimitro, a former sporting prodigy turned charismatic hustler/promoter, sold the Australian and New Zealand Rugby League administrators the concept of a tour by American Football players, without having either the funding or the players at the time. There followed a frantic scramble for dollars and bodies, and Dimitro only just made it. His assurances that he had plenty of players with Rugby League training were, to be frank, hogwash.
Upon arrival in Australia, the small, hastily-assembled squad were given a crash course in the rules of Rugby League. Some had had a little experience of Rugby Union, but none had ever played the 13-man game and few had even watched it. They were then thrown into a brutal non-stop itinerary and an almost vertical learning curve, but their athletic conditioning and willingness to put their bodies on the line saw performances improve as the tour went on. They even won a few matches, and enthralled the Antipodean public on and off the pitch.
In 1954, amazingly, Dimitro managed to put together an almost all-new All Stars squad and took them to play in France. The book covers this tour too, and the years following the two tours when attempts were made to get Rugby League off the ground in the US market. Incompetence, intransigence and plain bad luck knocked the plans back, and in the end, Rugby League did not get going in North America until the 1980s. This, then, is a timely publication, as the USA have qualified for the Rugby League World Cup for the very first time in the year of publication of this strange tale.
The author has got as many survivors as possible to help tell the tale. It is funny, inspiring and often frustrating, but anyone with an interest in the history of this most stubbornly Quixotic of sports. The book has an unusual visually-rich presentation, with photos, posters, period adverts and press clippings on almost every page, with the text of the book wrapped around them.
Whilst I was looking for something new to read I stumbled across the author discussing this book on Talk Sport. Having been a fan of the NFL and in particular the 49ers since the mid 80's then starting to follow NRL after attending a Brisbane Broncos game in 2012, it was as if this book was almost written for me.
It's really well researched via interviews and old press reports and tells a brilliant story of sporting adventure, which will probably never be matched again. Imagine taking a sporting team across the world to play a sport you had never even seen let alone played. In pre internet/Sky TV days there was no way the opposition could be researched or watched. These guys were going in blind against the Aussies and Kiwis - hardly Rugby League novices.
The book follows the All Stars tour through Australia and New Zealand then the follow up tour to France. There are reports on all the games and a stats table at the end of the book. It also details how the emergence of Rubgy League in the USA could have happned had it not been for all the bureacratic back and forth.
The worst thing about the book was the end!
You don't need to be a Rugby League or even sports fan to enjoy this book. It's one of adventure and escape which I'm glad I read. Also it's a bargain on the kindle!
Despite being an avid reader of sports history/ biography and a big RL fan, this was certainly news to me when I heard the author being interviewed on the radio. The book really drew me in. We get to learn about the characters involved, the trials and tribulations of getting the trip together, their experiences, their gruelling schedule, the generally warm welcome they received (especially from the local ladies!), how they competed to a remarkably high standard and ultimately about the lasting frienships which were formed by such an incredible experience these young athletes enjoyed. What is clear is that this meagre squad were exceptional athletes and they loved the new code of football they had discovered - or rather, had thrust upon them. And what a near-miss in terms of how this could have led to RL being established as a serious sport in the US!
The story is fluid, fast moving, immediate, engaging and presented beautifully with photos and newspaper cuttings on every page. It's like discovering a magical, long-lost scrap book.
Respect to the players, respect to their hosts in the RL communities of the time and respect to the author for bringing the story to life!
Most recent customer reviews
Look for similar items by category