Fox Tossing

And Other Forgotten and Dangerous Sports, Pastimes, and Games

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About The Book

In the spirit of Schott’s Miscellany and The Dangerous Book for Boys, a quirky collection of history’s most bizarre sports and stories of mankind’s most daring and ridiculous recreational pursuits—from baby boxing, to octopus wrestling, and ice tennis.

Have you ever wondered what people did for fun throughout history? Edward Brooke-Hitching began to wonder the same thing while flipping through an eighteenth-century German book on hunting, and found a bygone sport in which German nobles launched foxes into the air. This random discovery of a game that slipped through the mainstream historical cracks led him to wonder: how many other sports have been left out of modern history accounts? Now, Brooke-Hitching shares his hilarious journey to discover the curious recreations contrived by mankind that have long since gone extinct (for good reason).

Compiling more than 100 of the most puzzling, cruel, and ludicrous games that have ever been played, including Aerial Golf, Hidden Hunting, Ski Ballet, Eel Pulling, and many more, Brooke-Hitching chronicles an entertaining romp through forgotten leisurely pastimes that history wanted you to forget—and that you definitely shouldn’t try at home.

An illuminating gift book filled with acerbic humor and charming illustrations, Fox Tossing is sure to be enjoyed by many—and will let you take solace in knowing that at least your grandfather wasn’t the genius who invented “Tortoise Racing,” or any of the other games too stupid, or too harmful to withstand the test of time.

About The Author

Photograph © Alex Anstey

Edward Brooke-Hitching is the author of the critically acclaimed and bestselling trilogy: The Phantom Atlas (2016), The Golden Atlas (2018) and The Sky Atlas (2019), all of which have been translated into numerous languages; he is also the author of Fox Tossing, Octopus Wrestling and Other Forgotten Sports (2015). He is a writer for the BBC series QI. A fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and an incurable cartophile, he lives surrounded by dusty heaps of old maps and books in London. 

Product Details

  • Publisher: Atria Books (November 10, 2015)
  • Length: 272 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781501115141

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Raves and Reviews

“A lively trawl through long-forgotten sports and games from around the globe.”

– The Economist

“Perfect book for the Christmas stockings of adults and curious children.”

– Wall Street Journal

"A strange and strangely enjoyable new book. . . . This inventory of failed sports is both compelling and affectionate, fitting for a book in which 'eccentricity' is not just included but celebrated."

– The Boston Globe

“[A] droll romp through the history of bizarre games and other pastimes."

– Library Journal

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More books from this author: Edward Brooke-Hitching