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Digital Subscriptions > History Revealed > September 2015 > Books

Books

BOOK OF THE MONTH

Fox Tossing, Octopus Wrestling and Other Forgotten Sports

By Edward Brooke-Hitching

Simon and Schuster, £12.99 272 pages, hardback

With another summer of sport drawing to a close, and with the next Olympics somehow just a year away, now is a great time to consider the sports and pastimes that our ancestors enjoyed. Going by the evidence in this book, there was nothing they loved better than the cruel and unusual: balloon jumping, bird-batting and ‘baseball with cannon’ all feature in ‘B’ alone. A chapter on lion-baiting is swiftly followed by one on ‘man-baiting’. The details may often be grotesque, but they do o er insights into how people filled their time before television.

Wimbledon would look very different today if they played in the style of the 19th-century craze of ice tennis
ALAMY X1, GETTY X1
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The September 2015 issue of History Revealed
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