Search for your sports books:

Featured Publisher: John Blake
Apart form its current publications, John Blake Publishing has a sizeable back list of acclaimed sporting titles. These include biographies of stars such as Roger Federer, WG Grace, Fernando Torres and Frankie Dettori. For more information, visit www.blake.co.uk



Read Review
<back to archive

Does Your Rabbi Know You're Here? By Anthony Clavane

Release date: 16th October, 2012
Publisher: Quercus

List Price: £20.00
Our Price: £10.42
You Save: £9.58 (47%)
Buy Now

All too often, authors fail to provide their readers with even a modicum of history, a back story upon which the rest of their work can be built. Thankfully, this frustrating trait is conspicuous by it's absence from Anthony Clavane's latest book, a fascinating, engaging tale of English football's 'forgotten tribe'.

As befits a former history teacher, the author first provides his readers with details of two specific migrations responsible for an influx of Jews to Great Britain. The first, from eastern Europe, was triggered by Tsar Alexander II's murder in 1881, and supplemented fifty years later by a central European flight from Nazi tyranny.

Once here, Clavane argues, most Jewish immigrants have "been committed to a single goal: Becoming English" and because this incoming 'tribe' has tended, initially at least, to be predominantly working class in nature, it has produced its fair share of both boxers and footballers.

Indeed, participating in sports that might be considered 'rough' was, according to the author, "one of the ways of countering charges of physical weakness, separateness and 'Otherness'.".

Clavane's introduction is essentially a brief social history, but it provides an excellent aperitif to his main course - an examination of English football's most influential Jews.

He starts with a Lithuanian-Jewish-Irishman, which sounds like the opening line of a bad joke, but refers, in fact, to Louis Bookman, the first Jew to play in England's top flight. What follows is Clavane's own first XI, a team determined by their religion, which includes more well-known figures such as David Dein, Roman Abramovich and FA chairman David Bernstein.

Throughout, the author argues that football "has, for the past century, been a vehicle for Anglicisation, a space where ethnic identity has connected, even become intertwined, with national identity." Those who would rubbish football should take note, while reminding themselves of David Baddiel's words that today, "it is virtually impossible to be Jewish and male and not interested in football."

As London's Olympic Games proved, all sport, not just football, can play an important role in Britain's social integration. Clavane certainly makes the case for football, reminding readers of the sport's wonderfully cohesive nature, a feature of which we should perhaps take greater advantage.


<back to archive


Toolstation


SBOTM Current Top 10

When Lions Roared: The Lions, the All Blacks and the legendary tour of 1971 By Tom English & Peter Burns
Arena Sport
Read Review Buy Now
The Captain Class: The Hidden Force Behind the World’s Greatest Teams By Sam Walker
Ebury Press
Read Review Buy Now
The Hardmen: Legends of the Cycling Gods By Frank Strack
Pursuit Books
Read Review Buy Now
The Greatest Comeback: From Genocide to Football Glory By David Bolchover
Biteback
Read Review Buy Now
Bunce’s Big Fat Short History of British Boxing By Steve Bunce
Bantam
Read Review Buy Now
Tom Simpson: Bird On A Wire By Andy McGrath
Bloomsbury Sport
Read Review Buy Now
The Love of the Game: The Agonies and Ecstasies of Parenting and Sport By Mark Chapman
W & N
Read Review Buy Now
But Seriously An Autobiography By John McEnroe
W & N
Read Review Buy Now
The Descent By Thomas Dekker
Ebury Press
Read Review Buy Now
We Are Sunday League By Ewan Flynn
Pitch Publishing
Read Review Buy Now

Amazon’s top 6 best-sellers

© Sharks Media Ltd 2004 – 2012. Site designed and maintained by Marcus Hamblett for Furydesign.