Passion Plays

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About the Author

Randall Balmer is a prize-winning historian, leading public commentator on religion, and author of more than dozen books. He holds the John Phillips Chair in Religion at Dartmouth College.


Randall Balmer offers a rich, wide-ranging take on the relationship between religion and sports in a relatively slim volume. . . . effective and compelling. . . .engages with the various social, political, and economic factors that contribute to our understanding of sports culture and American culture at large."--Mihee Kim-Kort, Reading Religion

Recommended . . . . Well written and includes fascinating examples of the close connections between team sport and religion in shaping American values, beliefs, and manly behavior."--CHOICE

This entertaining history examines the religious and cultural roots of baseball, basketball, football, and hockey . . . . The illuminating insights into how sports reflect the historical periods and communities in which they developed will change how fans see the games. This one is a winner."--Publishers Weekly

[Passion Plays] does what no other sports book has ever done -- that is, connect the rituals of modern sport and trace them back to American society's religious roots. Whether you prefer a home run, touchdown, goal or basket, Balmer definitely scores with this book and you will too if you take the time to read it."--Religion Unplugged

An engaging look at the historical conditions surrounding America's secular, on-field religions."--Kirkus Reviews

Compelling and absorbing...a lively introduction to the historical origins of the sports that we watch and play, while also inviting deeper reflection into the relationship between our religious practices, our sporting devotions, and the social worlds that we share with others...Balmer's posture is one of wonder and curiosity as he revels in the potential implications of his findings. It's that journeying spirit and the strength of Balmer's clear and accessible writing that make this book shine."--Christianity Today

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