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" Armagnac" (England)

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The Greater Game: Sporting Icons Who Fell in the Great War
The Greater Game: Sporting Icons Who Fell in the Great War
by Clive Harris
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £19.99

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Greater Game, 11 Aug. 2008
It's always refreshing to come across a book which explores relatively new ground and "The Greater Game" certainly falls into that category. While it would be fair to say that most cricket or football fans with any interest in history will have already heard of Colin Blythe and Donald Bell, it's very unlikely that the name of rower Frederick Septimus Kelly would ring many bells, and even the keenest student of the First World War would hardly have been aware of the fascinating work of the Army Gymnastic Staff. This is one of the strengths of the book-a willingness to stray from the mainstream, which leaves the reader eager to learn more.

As professional battlefield guides, the authors are fully conscious of the value of a rattling good story and they have cast their net wide in search of suitable subject matter. Less familiar sports such as ice hockey and Aussie Rules are provided with the necessary context and a fine balance is maintained throughout between the sporting and military aspects. The end result is an extremely enjoyable collection of essays on individual sportsmen who paid the ultimate price in the service of their country.

The book is well written and contains many evocative photos of those whose stories are covered. I'm sure that this study has only scratched the surface and that there are many more sporting icons still awaiting discovery; perhaps "The Greater Game" might turn out to be only a first instalment. Overall then a most welcome addition to the Great War library-highly recommended for the sports fan and anyone with an interest in the First World War.

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