Spirit of the Game by Mihir Bose
How Sport Has Changed the Modern World

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Whether a new and better sporting politics can be created from a history as top-down and Anglocentric as The Spirit of the Game is another matter.


The spirit of the game was first nurtured on the playing fields of the English public school, and in the pages of Tom Brown's Schooldays- this Corinthian spirit was then exported around the world. The competitive spirit, the importance of fairness, the nobility of the gifted amateur seemed to sum up everything that was good about Britishness and the games they played.

Today, sport is dominated by corruption, money, celebrity and players who are willing to dive in the box if it wins them a penalty. Yet, we still believe and talk about the game as if it had a higher moral purpose. Since the age of Thomas Arnold, Sport has been used to glorify dictatorships and was at the heart of cold war diplomacy. Prime Ministers, princes and presidents will do whatever they can to ensure that their country holds a major sporting tournament. Nelson Mandela saw the victory of the Rugby World Cup as essential to his hopes for the Rainbow Nation.

Mihir Bose has lived his life around sport and in this book he tells the story of how Sport has lost its original spirit and how it has emerged in the 20th century to become the most powerful political tool in the world. With examples and stories from around the world including how the sport-hating Thomas Arnold become an icon; how a German manufacturer gave Jessie Owens a pair of shoes at the Berlin games of 1936 and went on to dominate the world of sport; how India stole cricket from the ICC; how an Essex car dealer become the most powerful man in Formula 1; and who really sold football out.

Praise for Mihir Bose:

'Mihir Bose is India's CLR James.' Simon Barnes, The Times.

'Mihir's insider knowledge is unsurpassed' David Welch.

'His Olympic contacts are second to none. He knows everybody.' Sue Mott.


About Mihir Bose

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Mihir Bose is one of the most highly regarded sports journalists in the world. Born in Bombay, he moved to England where he has reported for the Sunday Times, Daily Telegraph and was the BBC's Sports Editor until 2009. He is constantly in demands as a commentator and expert, writing for newspapers, TV and radio. He is also the author of a number of books including a history of Bollywood, the award winning story of Indian Cricket, Manchester Disunited, and Sporting Colours which was shortlisted for the William Hill Sports Book Prize. He lives in London. www.mihirbose.com
Published January 19, 2012 by Constable. 640 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Sports & Outdoors. Non-fiction
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Reviewed by David Goldblatt on Feb 11 2012

Whether a new and better sporting politics can be created from a history as top-down and Anglocentric as The Spirit of the Game is another matter.

Read Full Review of Spirit of the Game: How Sport... | See more reviews from Guardian

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