Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Trim: 6¼ x 9¼
978-1-4422-4618-8 • Hardback • September 2015 • $48.00 • (£37.00)
978-1-4422-4619-5 • eBook • September 2015 • $42.50 • (£33.00)
Christopher Rowley is a journalist and reporter for a local newspaper in the Catskills region of New York. He is the author of twenty-three science fiction and fantasy novels.
Chapter One: Ancient Games
Chapter Two: From Greece to the Cradle
Chapter Three: The Cradle of Football
Chapter Four: The Middle Ages
Chapter Five: The End of the Middle Ages
Chapter Six: The Age of Rules, Part I
Chapter Seven: The Age of Rules, Part II
Chapter Eight: Around the World
Chapter Nine: The Football Association and Football League
Chapter Ten: Rugby Union - Rugby League - Gaelic Football
Chapter Eleven: Soccer Goes Global
Chapter Twelve: America—The Exception and the Rule
Chapter Thirteen: On to the Modern World
About the Author
In this self-proclaimed nonacademic work, Rowley traces the origins of seven contemporary ball games—all variants of American football, soccer, and rugby—to a common beginning. He organizes the book chronologically but frequently digresses as he covers the history of these games from ancient to modern times. This span allows only a cursory description of the material, but Rowley's purpose is to provide not a detailed analysis of the history and significance of each game but rather a descriptive history that will give the fan a better understanding of each. Rowley is a journalist and novelist, and that background is evident in the writing style. He often places the reader as a spectator at a ‘re-creation’ of the historical games, embellishing generally acknowledged facts into snapshots of history. . . .Rowley's account of commonalities of the games is entertaining.
— Choice Reviews
The book is a rampage through history, pulling from Greek versions of ball games and earlier, before leaping oceans to chart Mayan and ancient Han Chinese games, then settling into the various versions of today's games involving inflated balls, or differing shapes, kicked or passed or somehow driven by teams across goal lines or into protected nets. Rowley explains the wild rural British and French variations of what we now see, involving entire villages, as well as the rule origins of American football, Canadian football, rugby, Australian rugby and associated football (soccer).
— Woodstock Times
For football (or rugby or soccer) fans who [are] unfamiliar with the history of their favorite sports prior to the mid-19th century, the book is a quick and engaging read that offers a broad-strokes look at the history that led to the variety of modern football codes.
— Sport in American History