Allen Guttmann is “our most distinguished contemporary thinker on the nature and role of sport in society.”

A. Bartlett Giamatti, late president of Yale University, Commissioner of Baseball, and author of Take Time for Paradise: Americans and Their Games

"Allen Guttmann is one of the stars in the history of sports as a serious academic subject. His expert command of the theoretical controversies of his field inspires this fascinating and provocative book. . . . For sports fans, regardless of their political leanings, the great appeal of the book will surely lie in its treasure trove of sports information of all kinds. . . . True lovers of sports will learn from and enjoy the historical panorama presented in this unique book."

Thomas R. Martin, the History Book Club

"Guttmann makes a valiant, and for the most part, successful attempt to cover 5,000 years of sport in one book. . . . This is a valuable contribution to the literature. Highly recommended."


ALLEN GUTTMANN teaches at Amherst College. Among his many books on the history of sports are From Ritual to Record: The Nature of Modern Sports (1978), Women's Sports: A History (1991), Games and Empires (1994), and The Olympics: A History of the Modern Games (2002).