The Ball

Discovering the Object of the Game

By John Fox
Harper Perennial, Paperback, 9780061881794, 373pp.

Publication Date: May 2012

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Description

Anthropologist John Fox sets off on a worldwide adventure to thefarthest reaches of the globe and the deepest recesses of our ancientpast to answer a question inspired by his sports-loving son:

"Why do we play ball?"

From Mexican jungles to the small-town gridirons of Ohio, frommedieval villages and royal courts to modern soccer pitches andbaseball parks, The Ball explores the little-known origins ofour favorite sports across the centuries, and traces how a simpleinvention like the ball has come to stake an unrivaled claim on ourpassions, our money, and our lives. Equal parts history and travelogue, The Ball removes us from the scandals and commercialism of today'ssports world to uncover the true reasons we play ball, helping us reclaimour universal connection to the games we love.




About the Author
John Fox is the Senator William McMaster Professor of SocialJohn Fox is the Senator William McMaster Professor of Social Statistics in the Sociology Department of McMaster Universi Statistics in the Sociology Department of McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Professor Fox earned a Ph.Dty in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Professor Fox earned a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Michigan in 1972. He h. in sociology from the University of Michigan in 1972. He has delivered numerous lectures and workshops on statistical as delivered numerous lectures and workshops on statistical topics, at such places as the summer program of the Inter-Untopics, at such places as the summer program of the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research, the aiversity Consortium for Political and Social Research, the annual meetings of the American Sociological Association, andnnual meetings of the American Sociological Association, and the Oxford Spring School in Quantitative Methods for Social the Oxford Spring School in Quantitative Methods for Social Research. He has written many articles on statistics, socio Research. He has written many articles on statistics, sociology, and social psychology, and is the author of several bology, and social psychology, and is the author of several books on statistics, including most recently Applied Regressiooks on statistics, including most recently Applied Regression Analysis and Generalized Linear Models, Second Edition (San Analysis and Generalized Linear Models, Second Edition (Sage, 2008) and A Mathematical Primer for Social Statistics (Sge, 2008) and A Mathematical Primer for Social Statistics (Sage, 2009), and (with Sanford Weisberg) An R Companion to Apage, 2009), and (with Sanford Weisberg) An R Companion to Applied Regression, Second Edition (Sage, 2011). Professor Foxplied Regression, Second Edition (Sage, 2011). Professor Fox is an active contributor to the R Project for Statistical C is an active contributor to the R Project for Statistical Computing and is a member of the R Foundation. His work on thomputing and is a member of the R Foundation. His work on this book was partly supported by a grant from the Social Scieis book was partly supported by a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. nces and Humanities Research Council of Canada.



Praise For The Ball

“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

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