Rucking & Rolling, by Peter Bills

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Rugby union's higher profile in the professional era has inspired a number of histories but this one stands out, not only for its clear-eyed view of the international game's evolution over the past 60 years but for the excellence of its production. Peter Bills, of this parish, has been writing on rugby for at least half that time, and has helped many of the game's greats produce their autobiographies. It is a measure of the changes he chronicles that in the amateur days so beloved of some of the blazered brigade, players could and were banned for life if they had the temerity to earn any money from their memoirs. His insights are complemented by lavish use of pictures, given prominence by the large format. Images of the Lions in full flight in South Africa in 1955, and in later years mercurial runners such as Gareth Edwards, Carlos Spencer and David Campese spring from the pages. A picture may not be worth a thousand words, but these inspire a thousand memories.

Published by Carlton in large-format hardback, 25