THE GAMES ETHIC AND IMPERIALISM: Aspects of the Diffusion of an Ideal by J.A. Mangan

THE GAMES ETHIC AND IMPERIALISM: Aspects of the Diffusion of an Ideal

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A study of the Victorian and Edwardian public-school athletic ideal in its relation to the British administration of their empire. Mangan, founder of the British Journal of Sports History, is an authority on England's 19th-century public schools. Here, in seven short chapters, he explores such subjects as the propaganda for empire inherent in these schools, the concepts of duty and adventure in images of empire, the Sudanese Civil Service, the athletic ideal in action in Africa, and athleticism as the vanguard of Christ in the imperial experience. Always, the English public school was more concerned with the inculcation of manliness rather than in any studious ideal. To the early Victorians these schools represented the virtues of seriousness, rectitude, and self-denial, but grew to include perserverance, robustness, and stoicism to later generations. Herbert Spencer had written, after all, that ""to be a nation of healthy animals is the first condition of national prosperity. ""We have encountered treatments of this subject before, such as in David Newsome's Godliness and Good Learning or John Henry's Tom Brown's Universe. But Mangan has given us a more arm's-length view, well aware of the whimsy of it all. Though his subject is handled intelligently and in a scholarly manner, it suffers from the fact that little is as boring to behold as an idea whose time is past.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1986
Publisher: Viking