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Read more about your favourite sports or sportsmen and women with a unique perspective on their careers from the comfort of your sofa with this range of recommended books. Whether you’re a football fan, rugby reveller or fishing follower, we have a great read for you!
There will be a black Springbok over my dead body. - Dr Danie Craven, President of the South African Rugby Board, 1969 Just a year after the controversial D'Oliveira affair, the organised disruption of the all-white 1969/70 South African rugby and cricket tours to Britain represented a significant challenge to apartheid politics. Led by future cabinet minister Peter Hain, the 'Stop the Seventy Tour' campaign brought about the cancellation of both tours, presaging white South Africa's expulsion from the Olympics and the end of apartheid sport altogether. With his brand of attention-grabbing, direct action sports protest, the 19-year-old Hain emerged as a hero to some and enemy to others. Now, reflecting on these experiences with fifty years of hindsight, Lord Hain, together with South Africa's foremost sports historian and fellow anti-apartheid activist Andre Odendaal, shows how decades of relentless international and domestic campaigning for equality led to a Springbok team captained by black athlete Siya Kolisi winning the 2019 Rugby World Cup. Interspersing a wide range of examples with personal testimony, Pitch Battles explores the themes of sport, globalisation and resistance from the deep past to the present day. Published in the same year as the Stop The Tour documentary from acclaimed director Louis Myles, this compelling story of sacrifice, struggle and triumph reveals how sport should never be divorced from politics or society's values.
Have you ever thought about what life would be like if you were to pursue everything your heart desired? 50 Ways To Cycle The World shares the stories of over 70 cyclists who did just that. Written by Belén Castello and Tristan Bogaard, the book features people from all over the world who packed their life into panniers and set off in search of adventure. What sets this community apart is feeling the fear and doing it anyway. With stunning photography and incredible journeys, this book will inspire you to slow the pace, protect the environment and live with purpose. ~ Harriet Osborne, Sidetracked Magazine Find our full list of recommended adventure reads for the London Mountain Film Festival Bookfest 2021.
When Damian Hall completed his first marathon at the age of 36 dressed as a toilet, no one would have predicted that only eight years later he'd be jumping over the bogs of the Pennine Way chasing the Fastest Known Time (FKT) record for running our oldest National Trail. That’s 268 miles in just over two and a half days, barely resting, across some of the most challenging terrain this island has to offer. Why would anyone want to do that? A writer and journalist by trade, Hall tells the funny but gruelling story of someone who’s been lured into the sport by forces outside his consciousness, inwardly compelled to go further and further without really knowing why. Ultimately he does offer surprisingly convincing reasons, and these, combined with his dry, self-deprecating style are almost enough to make the whole business sound possible. For ‘normal’ runners it will be sufficient fun to jog along with him for a while in this book, experiencing the highs and lows, the nears and fars, and spending time with a remarkable community who seem to occupy a parallel universe where any distance is possible and everything is edible. In it for the Long Run is a carbon negative book, the author’s FKT attempts create no plastic waste and he even collects rubbish along the way. Damian Hall is a down-to-earth, yet extraordinary athlete who has completed his transformation from a writer who occasionally runs to a runner who occasionally writes. Astounding stuff. ~ Greg Hackett Find our full list of recommended adventure reads for the London Mountain Film Festival Bookfest 2021.
Published to coincide with what would have been Best’s 75th birthday, Wayne Barton’s True Genius is a must-read for football fans. What sets this apart from other Best biographies is its introduction by the Best family, rare archive images, and the author’s exhaustive research, coupled with deep insights and an affectionate, amiable style. As befits its subject, True Genius is in a league of its own. “Our George was a funny, kind, shy and intelligent boy. Then he belonged to the world, and he came to be perceived as something quite different. Sometimes the perception was quite different to the truth.” So writes the Best family in the book’s moving, open-hearted introduction, setting the tone and approach for the entire book - an approach that sees the author present the full truth about George, beginning with his Belfast childhood, when he was the only boy in his class to pass the eleven-plus. With fascinating contributions from Best’s former team-mates, managers, family and friends, this is as comprehensive as it gets when it comes to understanding George’s on-the-pitch panache and off-the-pitch struggles. As the book reminds readers, George’s last wish was that people “remember me for the football”, and this book’s in-depth coverage of his exceptional talent certainly honours that wish, alongside providing a deeper understanding of the man behind the footballer.
Discover secret coves, sandy beaches, blue grottoes and moorland pools with 28 magical days out. Combining stunning photography, engaging stories and natural history, with all the practical information you need - detailed directions, route maps, practical ideas and downloadable guides. Perfect for adventurers and family explorers alike.
Following the exceptional running achievements recounted in Beyond Impossible, Mimi Anderson’s Limitless is a testament to the perseverance and adaptability of the human spirit (and body). Despite only taking up running at the age of 36 “because I wanted to have slimmer and more toned legs”, Mimi went on to become a record-breaking ultrarunner. Then, at the age of 55, she set herself a new huge challenge - to become the fastest woman to run across the USA, covering almost 3000 miles from LA to NYC. After running over 2000 miles battling tremendous pain, she wound up “groaning in agony every time my foot hit the ground”. Since carrying on meant she may never run again, Mimi was forced to curtail her American Dream. But while this journey was over, a whole new world opened up when she took up cycling and swimming. As Mimi counsels in her introduction, “If you want something you have never had, then you have to try something you have never done” - watch this space for her future achievements as a triathlete. Written in a chatty, energetic style, this isn’t only recommended for readers who are into running or extreme sports. It also has the broader appeal of being an honest, personal story about bouncing back and adapting in order to find fulfilment: “There will always be something else out there for you, even if you don’t find it right away. Keep looking.” Find our full list of recommended adventure reads for the London Mountain Film Festival Bookfest 2021.
There are so many great things about this book, but perhaps the greatest is the way in which the authors have found the story in each walk. Kids love stories so what better way to get them into the car than with the promise of “The mystery of the four stones at Clent”, “Beaches and battles at Bamburgh” or “Giants and glaciers on Cadair Idris”? This collection of 100 walks is spread out across the country which make it the ideal staycation companion for families. Graded for difficulty, every page turned brings a new map, great photographs, a written overview and a new adventure! The secret to any good guide book is trust and having done quite a few of these walks I can vouch for their accuracy - but what surprised me is what I’d missed! Jen and Sim Benson know their walks but they also know kids. Brilliant! ~ Greg Hackett Find our full list of recommended adventure reads for the London Mountain Film Festival Bookfest 2021.
Structured Chaos is the latest volume of memoirs from one of the world’s leading mountaineers. While it contains accounts of Alpine and Himalayan exploits at least equal to any of those in its predecessors, this a more wide ranging and contemplative work. From an early childhood in colonial Malaysia via a bleak Scottish boarding school and a haphazard introduction to rock climbing in the Avon Gorge to the lofty heights of the Karakoram and the presidency of the Alpine Club (although of course he’s too modest to mention the latter), Saunders’s focus is very much on the personalities, friendships and occasional frictions experienced during the ‘unusual life of a climber’. The descriptions of the rigours, terrors and elations of high altitude climbing are leavened by a thread of understated but appealing lunacy running through the book including a brutal boxing match in a terrifying East End pub with his friend and climbing partner Mick Fowler, and the establishment of the longest continuous traverse in the British Isles; the 33 pitches of vertical mud and crumbling sandstone that is Reasons to be Fearful, a project described at the time by his co-ascentionist Phil Thornhill as “probably the silliest route on the silliest cliff ever climbed”. Ultimately, however, the lasting impression is of the author’s infectious enthusiasm for the landscapes and the people he encounters as he pursues the obscure ambitions of the exploratory mountaineer. The book opens and closes with a quote from Colin Kirkus; “Going to the right place, at the right time, with the right people is all that really matters. What one does is purely incidental”. Whether he’s working his passage as the “oily rag” in the engine room of a cargo ship or being blown, inside a tent, across a glacier by a huge avalanche, it’s this world view which makes Saunders book such an engaging read. Sam Huby, climbing enthusiast Find our full list of recommended adventure reads for the London Mountain Film Festival Bookfest 2021 - plus extra festival news!
In addition to all the essential technical advice and insider knowledge that one would expect from a solid “How to..” book, the first half of How to Run a Marathon is very much focused on the “Why?". A few chapters in, you realise why radio presenter and sports journalist Vassos Alexander has afforded as much time to inspiration as he has to execution. Unless, deep down, you really want to run a marathon, it simply isn’t going to happen. To help you find the itch there are many inspiring (and funny!) tales of why running 26.2 miles is something so life-changing. From the blind to the barefoot, we hear the running stories of some extraordinary people from a man who seems to know everyone in the game. From Athens to Boston we run alongside a community where love and support are as present as personal achievement. And from Vassos himself we get the inside track on the very personal journey of the marathon runner in all its fun-loving, food-poisoned, rain-soaked and wall-hitting glory. Learn how to train, how to stretch, how to ‘respect the taper’.. and gain some crucial nuggets of wisdom: “A good laugh and a long run are the two best cures for anything”. This book has everything to get you over the line. ~ Greg Hackett Find our full list of recommended adventure reads for the London Mountain Film Festival Bookfest 2021.
YOU have the potential to make ANYTHING POSSIBLE. When working with the England football team, we focus on what we might achieve instead of worrying about what might go wrong. I honestly believe that with the right mindset, a willingness to learn from our mistakes, and the ability to cope with the highs and lows, every one of us can make the most of our lives. In this book I hope I can prepare you for your own exciting journey ahead. BE BRAVE Bravery is not just the kind of heroic act that earns a medal. It's the quality we need to step out of our comfort zones and take on new challenges. BE KIND A force for good that comes from the heart, kindness changes lives. It opens up opportunities and can be our greatest strength. FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS We all have a story to tell in life. It's down to us what it will be about. So, let's begin writing YOUR STORY - and make it one that truly shines.
Shot-through with the author’s personal experiences as a coach, player and all-round football obsessive, Dominic Stevenson’s Get Your Head in the Game is a timely must-read for fans, players, coaches - the whole kit and caboodle of anyone involved with football. Sharing the experiences of internationally renowned players, figures from top clubs, trailblazers of the women’s game (and many more besides), and offering legions of insights into how sport and the mind could be reconnected, this might just make the beautiful game yet more beautiful - and transformative. Stevenson’s context will strike a powerful chord with fans: “Football is the universal leveller. It speaks in a way that no language does. It is poetry without the pontification, a novel without the concentration, and it changes the world in minutes.” What’s more, football’s “community spirit, the sense of comradeship and the provision of a social lifeline for those who may otherwise be alone are enormous, and they have great potential to be positively exploited for the greater good of society.” Despite these huge positives, mental health “is still an issue that doesn’t get the exposure it deserves, in spite of well-meaning link-ups between football clubs and mental health charities”, and the testimonies from players under pressure feeling they’ve failed even after playing for top clubs, and those blighted by injury and abuse, cut to the core. Then there’s the lack of support from clubs, and heart-breaking accounts of suicide attempts. The book also covers football’s efforts to become truly inclusive, acknowledging that while steps have been made, the game still has a long way to go before racism, homophobia, sexism and transphobia have been totally kicked out. Concluding with a range of tips for improving mental health in the context of football, and confident that “the glory days of football are still ahead of us”, this book is a game-changer.
Broken is a witty and engaging book of broken records, or rather ‘Fastest Known Times’ achieved by elite ultra-runners who travel ridiculously long distances, often over unspeakably difficult terrain and in terrible weather, all for the honour of doing it in less time than anyone else ever has. In 2020 more new FKTs were set than ever before for the simple reason that with normal race fixtures cancelled, many athletes needed alternative targets and they had to be lone efforts. So how about 260 miles with little sleep along the Pennine Way in under 62 hours, for example? Or why not have a go at all 282 Munros (Scottish mountains over 3000ft) in little more than a month, plus cycling and kayaking between them? Outside of the running bubble you may not have heard of Beth Pascall, John Kelly, Damian Hall, Donnie Campbell; but within it they are the stuff of living legend. Fell-running, ultra-running, mountain-running - pick your term - is increasing in popularity so much it’s in danger of going mainstream. Ally Beaven has written the book to get you hooked. I read it in 5 hours 40mins. Beat that! ~ Greg Hackett Greg Hackett is the Founder & Director of the London Mountain Film Festival