The Ball: Discovering the Object of the Game and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Qty:1
  • List Price: $14.99
  • Save: $5.12 (34%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Only 5 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Used: Acceptable | Details
Sold by CWJBOOKS
Condition: Used: Acceptable
Comment: Ex-library softcover book. All the usual marks/stamps. Heavy wear to cover and edges of pages.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

The Ball: Discovering the Object of the Game Paperback – May 15, 2012


See all 3 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Paperback, May 15, 2012
$9.87
$3.80 $0.01
Best%20Books%20of%202014


Frequently Bought Together

The Ball: Discovering the Object of the Game + Friday Night Lights: A Town, A Team, And A Dream
Price for both: $23.03

Buy the selected items together
If you buy a new print edition of this book (or purchased one in the past), you can buy the Kindle edition for only $2.99 (Save 68%). Print edition purchase must be sold by Amazon. Learn more.


Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; Original edition (May 15, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061881791
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061881794
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.9 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #749,201 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Anybody who has ever thrown, caught, bounced, hit (or whiffed) a ball will mightilyenjoy John Fox’s stories of where all these balls came from, and why, from our earliestdays, they have been such an integral part of the very fun that makes us human.” (Frank DeFord, author of The Old Ball Game)

“[In THE BALL], a realm of behavior that we take for granted is seen anew in all of its original strangeness. The ball itself—whether made of grass and beeswax, opossum pelts, kangaroo scrotums or seal hides—is depicted freshly as an extraordinary invention of human happiness.” (Will Blythe, The Wall Street Journal)

“John Fox is dauntless…The Ball is a fascinating read that – like a good ball game – is both compelling and fun.” (Wired)

“John Fox is equal parts historian, anthropologist, world traveler, sports nut, and storyteller. The Ball is a fascinating exploration not just of the games we play but why we play them—of what our ballgames tell us about ourselves.” (William Landay, New York Times bestselling author of Defending Jacob)

“A fun and anecdotal new book…which uses the evolution of the ball itself to trace mankind’s progress from prehistory through ancient Egypt and gladiatorial Rome to the births of modern sports like tennis and “base-ball.” (New York Post)

“In tracing the fascinating history of ball games — from the primal contests between prehistoric tribes playing with stuffed balls of grass, to the hypercommercialized violence of twenty-first-century Super Bowls — readers witness the evolution of more than just sports…A book for fans and scholars alike!” (Booklist)

“An anthropologist and freelance journalist debuts with a peripatetic analysis of our ball games — where they came from, how they evolved and why we love them. Fox darts around the globe to show us the origins of our games…crackerjack reporting crackles throughout.” (Kirkus)

About the Author

John Fox has excavated ancient ball courtsin Central America, traced Marco Polo's route acrossChina, and bicycled Africa's Rift Valley in search ofhuman origins. He has contributed commentary to VermontPublic Radio as well as Smithsonian, Outside, andSalon, among other publications. He lives in Boston.


More About the Author

John Fox, a Harvard PhD in anthropology, has excavated ancient ball courts in Central America, traced Marco Polo's route across China, and biked Africa's Rift Valley in search of human origins. He has worked as an academic, and, more recently, as a co-leader of the Quest Channel Expeditions, a pioneering adventure learning program that took him and an online audience of a million young people on expeditions across six continents to explore the world's greatest scientific and historic mysteries. A recipient of a MacDowell fellowship, he has written about his many travels and adventures for Smithsonian, Outside, Salon, CNN.com among other publications. He has also appeared on Good Morning America (from the top of a pyramid!), BBC's The World, and contributes regular commentaries on sports and culture to Vermont Public Radio.

Related Media


Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
5 star
16
4 star
3
3 star
1
2 star
0
1 star
0
See all 20 customer reviews
This book was informative, interesting, humorous and really enjoyable.
Becky
He has a very deft way of weaving together history, emotion and competition in a manner that makes you marvel.
REMAR SUTTON
"The Ball" is a great book for any sports fan who is interested in the roots of games.
ODPSU21

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By ljk50 on June 12, 2012
Format: Paperback
This is the kind of nonfiction book I really love, because it conveys so much information -- and so many things I didn't know -- in such an enjoyable way. I can't believe how much research Fox did to write this book, and how skillfully he's pulled all that research together to provide an ever-interesting narrative about each sport. I learned a great deal -- even about sports I thought I knew well.

I love the way Fox weaves in stories of particular individuals who represent something important about a sport's development, such a Yale footbal player and later coach Walter Camp, who did so much to shape football into the game we know now and Charles Naismith, the inventor of basketball. And it's amazing how many "modern" problems in sports -- such as concern over excessive violence and worry about sports being a distraction from more important things -- have been around for centuries.

Fox introduced me to some pretty wild sports I knew nothing about, too, such as the ancient game of Ba' in the Orkney Islands and ulama in Central America. It's fascinating to discover the roots of our modern games, and to see just how long people have been playing with balls and taking their play very seriously.

This is a great read that will give you lots of tidbits about sports to trot out at the bar and impress your friends!
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By horn#1 on May 29, 2012
Format: Paperback
This is an insightful and meaningful exploration of the world of games with balls. Fox does an outstanding job of describing human fascination with balls and the games we have created as a result. Impressively, he also considers ball play in species other than human. This unique combination of cross-cultural and cross-species comparisons results in a delightful book that is informative and fun to read.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By rstark on May 27, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Having played sports around the clock and throughout the year growing up, I thought I knew firsthand why anyone bothered to chase, kick, hit, throw or catch a ball (or object) while risking injury and, maybe worse, humiliation. Now I know better. The Ball by John Fox is insightful, fun, heartwarming and, yes, in an orb all its own.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ralph Catalano on October 3, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
First, full disclosure: I am a (non-writing) colleague of John's. While I'm also a lifelong sports fan, this book is a lot more "anthropology made fun" than "what are the roots of our current popular sports". So whether you come at this from "I wonder why I enjoy games played with a ball" or "how can all those people spend so much time on games played with a ball" you will find enjoyment as he weaves together his reading of history, his travels and conversations to demonstrate how deeply the roots of our pastimes run. If I'd only read the chapter about Scotland and "the ba'" I would have considered it a great and enjoyable learning experience. Of course, there is much more and John's style - which I would describe as "elegantly conversational" - really adds to the experience.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By REMAR SUTTON on July 16, 2012
Format: Paperback
In the past 20 years, I've been on treks with author John Fox in Australia, the Galapagos Islands, and on the Amazon (River--not the company!) and I can tell you that John's book is as interesting and intelligent as John himself. That's saying a lot.

John could make a ball of string interesting. He has a very deft way of weaving together history, emotion and competition in a manner that makes you marvel. And best of all for me, John let's us all know, as he says, that it is good "We all play," good we all need to play ball in some manner, and are better for it in our professional and personal lives.

Hold my comments to a high standard, since I know John, but I'll bet you'll agree with me after reading the book.

A former Washington Post Columnist
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ben J Korgen on August 18, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"The Ball" is about how the existence of or manufacture of objects people could manipulate with skill and accuracy allowed a huge spectrum of extinct and flourishing sports to exist and influence human history in general. In particular, this book's treatment of lacrosse on pages 141 to 173 triggered my memory of quotes by great scholars and leaders having to do with the seemingly impossible task of ending war. Three examples stand out.

Military and Political Leader Dwight D. Eisenhower said "I like to believe that people in the long run are going to do more to promote peace than our governments. Indeed, I think that people want peace so much that one of these days governments had better get out of the way and let them have it." Political Leader Nelson Mandela said "It always seems impossible until it's done." Anthropologist Margaret Mead said "A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."

If the Native Americans described in "The Ball" could use lacrosse to settle disputes, should modern political leaders consider using the existing vast array of modern sports as tools to push war into a decline supported by the billions of modern humans who share the same dream?
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Becky on September 26, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was informative, interesting, humorous and really enjoyable. It covered many of the sports I like and I learned about some that I had no knowledge of. All in all, I would recommend it very highly!
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
By Frederick L. White on July 13, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A fascinating looking at ball games and the relationship to human society and its development.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews


What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?