On The Origins of Sports – by Gary Belsky and Neil Fine


On the Origins of Sports: The Early History and Original Rules of Everybody’s Favorite Games by Gary Belsky and Neil  Fine 

Hardcover: 256 Pages 

Publisher: Artisan (April 19, 2016)

ISBN-13: 978-1579656843

Synopsis: On the Origins of Sports is an illustrated book built around the original rules of 21 of the world’s most popular sports, from football and soccer to wrestling and mixed martial arts. Never before have the original rules for these sports coexisted in one volume. Brimming with history and miscellany, it is the ultimate sports book for the thinking fan.

Each sport’s chapter includes a short history, the sport’s original rules, and a deeper look into an element of the sport, such as the evolution of the baseball glove; sports with war roots; a compendium of sports balls; and iconic sports trophies.

Written by ESPN The Magazine’s former editor in chief, Gary Belsky, and executive editor, Neil Fine, and filled with period-style line drawings in a handsome package, On the Origins of Sports is a book that sports fans and history buffs alike will want to display on their coffee tables, showcase on their bookshelves, and treasure for generations.

* * *

Let me start by saying this book literally includes EVERY sport origin story. Don’t believe me? Take a look at the table of contents! Screen Shot 2017-01-21 at 10.56.14 AM.png

This book was so not what I was expecting; which was a dense book filled with statistics and research analytics on the origins of various sports. Instead, what I found was a visual and fun history of where (like every) sport originated. Each sport chapter starts with an attractive drawing as its “title” page that represents the sport. Screen Shot 2017-01-21 at 10.57.06 AM.png

The original of that sport is then explained using drawings, diagrams and other visuals to help the reader understand the origin of that sport. 

Screen Shot 2017-01-21 at 10.58.09 AM.png

Thoroughly researched, this book is great for sports fan – especially people who are fans of multiple sports! The visual approach makes this book more fun (and less dense) to read – it truly appeals to many sports fan as it is less “academic” sounding and more visual, just like sports are! (Oh and have I mentioned – the illustrations are beautiful with a historical feel to them!) 

Rating: 9/10

* This book was received from Thomas Allen & Sons in exchange for an honest review *


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