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The Ball: Discovering the Object of the Game Paperback – May 15, 2012
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“Anybody who has ever thrown, caught, bounced, hit (or whiffed) a ball will mightily enjoy John Fox’s stories of where all these balls came from, and why, from our earliest days, 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.
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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?