The Ball: Discovering the Object of the Game

Author(s): John Fox


"The Ball" takes us to the farthest reaches of the globe and the deepest recesses of our ancient past to answer a question asked by every child on Earth: Why do we play ball? Inspired by the curiosity of his sports-obsessed 8-year-old son, anthropologist John Fox sets off on a global adventure to explore the untold history of our favorite ball games, investigate their origins and evolutionary tracks, and discern how one of humanity's simplest inventions - the humble, ubiquitous ball - has staked an unrivaled claim on our history, our passions, our money, and our lives. From the jungles of Mexico to the farm country of Ohio, from the courts of the ancient Pharaohs to the virtual playing fields of Second Life, Rolling Heads and Pigskins puts us center court for the gritty, ritualistic, violent, bizarre, primal drama of ball games as we've played them across the centuries. Part history, part travelogue, and part sportscast, "The Ball" spins tales of the ball itself as actor and instigator, a player who taps our human urge to hit, kick, throw, and tackle. In the end, "The Ball" removes us from the scandals, corruption, and commercialism of today's sports to uncover the true reasons we play ball, helping us reclaim our fundamental human connection to the games we love.


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"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

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, and, among other publications. He has also appeared on Good Morning America (from the top of a pyramid!), the BBC's The World, and contributes regular commentaries on sports and culture to Vermont Public Radio. He lives in Boston.

General Fields

  • : 9780061881794
  • : HarperCollins Publishers Inc
  • : HarperBusiness
  • : April 2012
  • : 203mm X 135mm X 23mm
  • : United States
  • : July 2012
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Paperback
  • : John Fox
  • : 336