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starting knowledge from scratch

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I've read This Sporting Life

I've watched This Sporting Life

I watched nearly all Oxford RL's home matches in their first two seasons before I moved

I've been to my first Super League match this year

I've watched the Challenge Cup Final every year on the BBC since about 1988


I want to know more about this strange new (to me) sport so question for the assembled masses given I drew a blank on Amazon last night:


Is there a decent one volume history of UK rugby league from 1895 to the SL era (not as interested in Australia because I'm still trying to get my head around the domestic game from a standing start without complicating it further)?


I've got one for Union, and one for cricket - never been bothered at all by football but I'm sure there will be one for them too. So, where do I start? Or isn't there one?


Any/all recommendations welcome. Ta.

I went through a similar quest for info in the late 1990s and became a bit obsessive about trawling through second hand book shops trying to find stuff. I now own a collection of well over 150 RL/sport history books.

I'm probably repeating others but some of the RL books that I'd recommend....

XIII Worlds/XIII Winters -David Hadfield

The Grounds of Rugby League -Trevor Delany

At the George - Geoffrey Moorhouse

From All Blacks to All Golds - John Haynes

Rugby League -Robert Gate

To Jerusalem and Back - Simon Kelner

The Rugby League Game - Keith Macklin

Canterbury XIII - John Coffey (a history of RL in Christchurch, NZ)

....there's also the book by the Labour MP.....which I currently have loaned out....I'm sure others will know the name....David Hinchcliffe?

There are also many great biographies...id recommend "born on the wrong side"(Cec Thompson), "Kiwis Wigan and the Wire" (Ces Mountford)

What I found fascinating though was to read books about other sports. Once I had a handle on RL history I became intrigued by how RL was written about (or pointedly ignored) in other histories. I own many sports books from the 1890s through to the 1980s and how RL is positioned is very interesting....for example a book about French RU published in 1961 included a chapter on RL.....but above the chapter had a disclaimer that one of the editors had nothing to do with the writing and inclusion of the chapter!!!

Other books I'd recommend are ones that deal with UK sport in the late 19th century (as you then understand how/why RL began). Books that cover athletics and rowing - two sports that also experienced Pro/Amateur schisms at the same time as rugby are well worth reading. Football (soccer) also needs looking at .....as Its fairly clear that the rise of the FA is the overwhelming reason for RL/NU coming into existence. There's an excellent book "code war" that deals with the rise of football during this period.

There are other books that I'm sure I'll remember and add to the list.....

www.fatalerror.co.nz - A Musical by Lattimer & McRae

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Individual life stories are a bit off-topic for this thread, but the Cec Thompson autobiography is an incredible and inspirational book.

"We are easily breakable, by illness or falling, or a million other ways of leaving this earthly life. We are just so much mashed potato."  Don Estelle

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