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This is the one book you have to read for London 2012. The Olympics is the world's biggest sporting event - and it moves centre stage for London 2012. Yet the games the world is familiar with - football, cricket, rugby, baseball, motor sports - are either missing or have a token presence. In their place are games that most of us have not a clue how to play or to watch. Which is where this witty, insightful book comes into play, offering the back story behind each Olympic sport and, by means of fiendishly clever diagrams and prose, explaining the rules and finer points. Once you have read David Goldblatt and Johnny Acton's accounts, you'll be on tenterhooks to see whether the Danish or the Koreans triumph at handball, just what the Italian fencers are up to, and if Greco-Roman wrestling really is like a game of chess.
David Goldblatt is the author of the World Football Yearbook and The Ball is Round: a Global History of Football ('A tour de force of brilliant writing, historical colour and sporting vignette' Observer). He writes the Sporting Life column in Prospect magazine, teaches the sociology of sport at the University of Bristol, and broadcasts regularly on the politics of sport for BBC Radio 4. Johnny Acton is a writer who specialises in digging up obscure nuggets of information and making complex subjects accessible. He has written books on everything from pickling food (Preserved with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall) to the history of balloons (The Man Who Touched the Sky).