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Floodlights and Touchlines

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Shortlisted for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award - an enthralling history of sport, its enduring appeal, and how it has enriched people's lives around the world.

Table of Contents

Introduction: It's Only Bats And Balls (But We Like It) - Why Spectator Sport Matters More Than It Did (And More Than It Should) 1.The Sound (And Fury) Of The Crowd: Sport and Spectators 2.Class Wars: How Spectator Sport Began 3.Odds and Sods: Sport and Gambling 4.Ringmasters Inc: Sport and Governance 5.Sport and Professionalism I From "Gentlemen" to Shamateurs II Pride and Prejudice 6.Well-Paid Slaves: Sport and Players' Rights 7.The Us Syndrome: Sport and Internationalism 8.Reluctant Partners: Sport and Politics 9.No Normal Sport In An Abnormal Society: Sport and Race I - Disunited States II - For the Common Wealth 10.The Grass Ceiling: Sport and Sexuality

About the Author

Rob Steen is a sportswriter and co-leader of the BA (Hons) Sport Journalism course at the University of Brighton. He has written for the Guardian, the Independent, the Financial Times, the Melbourne Age, the Hindustan Times, the Sunday Telegraph and Sunday Times, where he was deputy sports editor. Winner of the 1995 Cricket Society Literary award and the UK section of the 2005 EU Journalism Award for 'diversity, against discrimination', runner-up for the 1991 William Hill Sports Book of the Year, he has published over a dozen books and written for a multitude of magazines, including the Observer Sports Monthly, The Cricketer and India Today, and is also a longstanding columnist for Cricinfo.


In his deftly-written and engrossing new book, Rob Steen reminds us again why, beneath the floodlights and along the touchlines, sport has consumed so many of us for so long. It's as compelling as your favourite sporting memory - and more informative and amusing. -- Don McRae, The Guardian
I believe that you will never fully understand the game behind the game without reading Floodlights and Touchlines. Rob Steen is the perfect guide to take you through this remarkable history. -- Dr John Carlos, 1968 Olympian, medal stand protester
Rob Steen's intoxication with sport's dramatic qualities, his familiarity with the sporting scene on both sides of the Atlantic and his writing verve all shine through in this penetrating study. -- Nick Pitt, The Sunday Times
Rob's obstinate belief that sport and thought are not incompatible is an inspiration to us all. -- Simon Barnes, Chief Sportswriter for The Times
Floodlights and Touchlines is a triumph. People who dismiss sports as mindless entertainment need to read this. People who love sports but find their ardor doesn't extend beyond the numbers, need to read this as well. The sports world is better for its publication. -- Dave Zirin, Sports Editor of The Nation and author of Brazil's Dance with the Devil
Rob Steen is the wittiest and most astringent English-language sportswriter. And this book provides a brilliant narrative of spectator sport. Internationalist, progressive, cosmopolitan, yet earthy, it is an instant classic. -- Toby Miller, author of SportSex
There are few, if any, sport writers today with as incisive an analytical grasp of global diversity and trajectories in sport culture as Rob Steen; and certainly no one is as possessed as he with the humor and history to create riveting and riotous prose around the hubris and hysteria that play out at the intersection of sport and society. -- Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, Principal, University of West Indies, Cave Hill Campus (Barbados)
Rob Steen's brilliant study of spectator sport across the ages is a publishing landmark. Awesome in its depth and breadth, Steen covers every imaginable aspect of his subject with a scholarly yet light touch which will leave the reader engrossed. Generations to come will treat this as the last word on the subject; the book is destined to be a classic. -- Gulu Ezekiel, Indian sports historian and author
Steen is like an extremely well informed fellow fan at a match. He whispers nuggets of information to us as we embark on the journey that professional sport has been on since its inception in the late 19th century. By turns, personal and eclectic, the narratives he weaves are richly informed, compelling and highly entertaining. He offers a fresh take on the changing nature of spectatorship and fandom as he roams widely across sporting cultures, from baseball to cricket, from football to rugby. Steen also captures the importance of the wider cultural and political hinterland that shapes and supports sporting experience from Glasgow to New York. On the journey he discusses the role gambling, governance, national identity, class, gender and the media all have in transforming spectator sport. The book is insightful and ranges across material and sporting examples with a sureness of touch and fleetness of foot that is both admirable and hugely enjoyable. Sit back and enjoy the journey. -- Professor Raymond Boyle, Centre for Cultural Policy Research, University of Glasgow
Rob Steen has written a lively, readable and wide-ranging popular history of spectator sport which will entertain and enlighten fans across the world, especially in Britain and North America, brimming over with its author's enthusiasm and kaleidoscopic knowledge of sport past and present. -- Professor Dick Holt, author of Sport and the British: a modern history and Sport in Britain 1945-2000
A passionate, thought-provoking view of sport's place in our lives. * Independent on Sunday *
Engrossing...Given the flood of hit-and-miss sports books, Steen's transformative work on the traditions and motives of games sets it apart from the usual entries seen in the genre. * Publisher's Weekly (USA) *
This book provides one of the best and most illuminating narratives on sport that I have ever read ... The breadth of subject matter is incredible and the expertise and knowledge of the author on sports - major and minor - on both sides of the Atlantic is mind-blowing. It is a historical account of sport and its intersection with society - recounted by an author with a deep knowledge and an irresistible style of telling a story - making it one of the best sports books on the market today. -- Sarah Juggins * Sports Journalist Association *
An epically comprehensive account of the sporting experience, from literal gladiators to the modern metaphorical variety. * The Independent *

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