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George Seward: America's First Great Runner (Paperback)
  • George Seward: America's First Great Runner (Paperback)
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George Seward: America's First Great Runner (Paperback)

(author)
£44.95
Paperback 242 Pages / Published: 04/04/2008
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On September 30, 1844 in Hammersmith, England, Connecticut-born George Seward ran 100 yards in nine and a quarter seconds, setting a record. This performance helped establish Seward as the most famous athlete in the world, and his feat remained unsurpassed for almost ninety years. However, in 1889, six years after Seward's death and 45 years after the run, his achievement was declared invalid based on a doubtful "eyewitness" account of the race. Though this dubious version may have been fabricated to discredit Seward's record-because no runners of the time could approach it-the damage was done. After his record was invalidated, Seward fell into obscurity and within a few years, he became nearly forgotten. In George Seward: America's First Great Runner, Edward S. Sears seeks to restore Seward's standing among the greats of track and field. In the early 1840s, when Seward was in the prime of his career, there were no amateur sports in America and just a few professional footraces, so Seward engaged in wagers to display his skills. Within a few years, he established himself as a runner to beat, both in the states and across the Atlantic. Sears recreates many of the races Seward undertook, in which he offered starts against the best runners of his day, started on his knees or racing up to ten men separately in an hour. He even ran against horses. While this book concentrates on Seward, it also covers the history of professional sprinting from the early 1800s to the present. Sears illuminates the formative years of track and field, both in America and England, and much about the Victorian era of sports is covered here, including an emphasis on gambling. About more than the triumphs and misfortunes of a great American athlete, this book examines the adoration of sports celebrities and the struggle between amateur and professional athletics. George Seward is a fascinating profile of an American sports original and should be of interest to not only runners but fans of all sports, as well as general

Publisher: Scarecrow Press
ISBN: 9780810861336
Number of pages: 242
Weight: 399 g
Dimensions: 229 x 159 x 16 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
Sears makes good use of primary sources....The biography of George Seward is a first rate sport history well worth the attention of track and field fans everywhere. -- Keith McClellan * Journal of Sport History *
Mr. Sears has burrowed through the reams of newspaper cuttings, and while neither he nor anyone equally diligent can tell us for sure just how swift Seward was, the fact is that it makes for a rousing good tale and another entertaining and historically valuable contribution to the surprisingly large number of books published in the last year or two on the subject of Victorian-era-ethics. -- . * Track Stats, August 2008, Vol. 46, No. 3 *
Ed Sears has magnificently brought back to life one of America's great athletes, and one the world's greatest athletes of all time. It is a fascinating story of talent, resilience and persistence. I could not put it down. Perhaps now George Seward will begin to receive some of the respect and recognition that has been denied him over the past 150 years! -- Peter Radford, Professor of Sport, Brunel University
George Seward: America's First Great Runner, by Ed Sears, proves that the sport of track did not begin, as the 'gentleman amateur' historians say, in 1852. George Seward was a silver plater from New Haven, Conn., whose phenomenal sprinting power made him a celebrity in Britain's vibrant, unregulated Victorian sporting world of match races, tracks scratched on grass behind public houses, high stakes, huge gambling crowds, and saturating news coverage. A century before his time, in 1844 Seward probably ran 9.25 for 100 yards. He often beat a sequence of rivals one by one, up to 10 in separate sprints within an hour. Such exploits fill this painstakingly researched story. * Running Times, December 1, 2009 *
|s|aBjorn Sandahl|fOct 2009|jIdrottsforum.org
Thanks to his meticulous research into the races Seward ran, the author provides not only a chronological record of Seward's accomplishments but meaningful insights into Seward and his thought processes. ... Sears' skill with storytelling, coupled with his enthusiasm for racing, is an added bonus. Highly recommended. * CHOICE, November 2008 *

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