June 9, 2005
Director of Media Relations
AMHERST, Mass.—Allen Guttmann, the Emily C. Jordan Folger Professor of English and American Studies at Amherst College, has won the annual Book Award of the North American Society for Sport History for Sports: The First Five Millennia (2005), a social history of the world's sports from pre-historical times to the present. Guttmann received the award at the Society's 33rd annual conference on May 30 in Green Bay, Wis.
A selection of the History Book Club, Guttmann's entertaining narrative traces the history of sports, plotting their evolution from “a myriad of particularistic pre-modern forms to the universalistic modern forms now taken for granted everywhere in the world.” Guttmann, who initially developed this scheme in From Ritual to Record (1978), adopts a global perspective that includes lengthy discussions of Asian, African and Latin American sports as well as those of Europe and North America. Illustrated with dozens of images, Sports presents a single comprehensive narrative, beginning with a discussion of what does and does not constitute a sport.
A member of the Amherst faculty since 1959, Guttmann is also the author of From Ritual to Record: The Nature of Modern Sports (1978), Women''s Sports: A History (1991), Games and Empires (1994) and The Olympics: A History of the Modern Games (2002). He received the first President's Award for Sports Studies from the International Olympic Committee in 2000.