British Society of Sports History

Promoting the Study of the History of Sport


publication date: Aug 17, 2017

The Lord Aberdare Literary Prize is awarded each year by the British Society of Sports History (BSSH) for the best book on any aspect of the history of sport in Britain or for the best book on any aspect of sports history written by a British author.

The shortlist for books published in 2016 is below. The winner will be announced at the society's  2017 conference in Worcester.

Shortlisted Titles (in alphabetical order):

Campbell, P. I. (2016) Football, Ethnicity and Community: The Life of An African-Caribbean Football Club. Peter Lang: Bern

A fascinating topic that makes an illuminating contribution to the literature on the history of football, extending the debate to include the British African-Caribbean male experience.  The book contains some excellent research and is innovative in its methodological approach, successfully deploying sociological and ethnographic techniques to produce some rich, and self-reflexive, material.  Appealing to specialist and popular audiences alike, this is written in an engaging and accessible style whilst maintaining scholarly rigour.

Haynes, R. (2016) BBC Sport in Black and White. Palgrave: London

An engaging, indeed a refreshing, subject that is presented in a well written and well-structured way.  Covering a range of sports, it forwards a convincing thesis on the pivotal role of broadcasting in the development, management and perception of cricket, football, tennis and so on (and vice versa).  The text covers some original ground and has crossover appeal with entertaining anecdotes balanced by excellent scholarship.  Interestingly, this is as much a media as a sport history text and, as such, illustrates the value in addressing cross-disciplinary audiences.

Hughson, J. (2016) England and the 1966 World Cup: A Cultural History. Manchester Uni Press: Manchester

A well written and thoroughly researched book with good use of images.  The author has managed to find a novel perspective on the oft-visited topic of the 1966 World Cup and the discussion of Ramsey illuminates the ’66 campaign in a new way. The text is a very good example of an approach that bridges sport- and cultural history and the interplay between the two is handled deftly.

Rider, T. C. (2016) Cold War Games: Propaganda, the Olympics, and US Foreign Policy.  Uni of Illinois Press: Urbana

An interesting book, written by a British-born academic, now working at California State University, Fullerton.  It considers the geo-politics of sport, going some way in strengthening the critical narrative between Cold War scholarship and sports historiography.  This is a complex subject, which the author approaches with finesse, producing a highly readable text without compromising on scholarship.  This book is dense with facts, well referenced and utilises de-classified archives to shine a light on some hidden aspects of US sport.