Emma Griffin, historian

Winner of the Lord Aberdare Prize for Literary History, 2007

Nearly a decade of fiercely divisive debate over foxhunting in Britain culminated with passage of the Hunting with Dogs Act of 2004. But the battle over the future of hunting is not yet resolved, and polarizing right-or-wrong debates continue undiminished. This lively book recounts the long and colourful history of hunting in Britain and offers a fresh perspective on today's conflicts.Since William the Conqueror declared wild animals royal property and thereby provoked a burning hatred among his subjects, hunting of all kinds has been a source of social conflict in Britain. The sport is deeply entwined with questions of land and power, class divisions and social mores. "Blood Sport" explores these large themes, brings them alive with surprising details and vignettes, and considers how hunting traditions have affected British national identity. Bringing the discussion fully up to date, the book concludes with a thought-provoking critique of current hunting controversies.

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Reviews

"Griffin's book commands admiration because it attempts to be scrupulously fair. She is no friend of big-bag game shooting, and has no delusions about the demerits of both sides in the contemporary battle about hunting."
Max Hastings, The Sunday Times

"A brilliant study ... essential reading for the ultimately victorious antis as well as the pros."
Martin Hemming, The Observer Read the whole review

"Emma Griffin has written a serious, intelligent and readable history of blood sport."
Jane Shilling, The Telegraph Read the whole review

"an even-handed overview rich in scholarship and ripe in detail at all levels of the social scale."
Iain Finlayson, The Times

"Not only is her thorough and insightful book an endlessly fascinating piece of cultural history, of great interest even to those who might imagine that hunting is a subject of no relevance, but it's also quite scrupulously unbiased."
James Delingpole, The Literary Review

"Emma Griffin's forensic account of the history of hunting on these isles is welcome, because its historical perspective and self-imposed boudaries allow her to place a difficult subject in its rightful context, stripping away much of the emotion and prejudice from an activity which has an unparalleled ability to divide opinion."
Richard Bath, Scotland on Sunday

"As Emma Griffin exposes in her new book, "hunting is every bit as much about land and power as it is about morality." She explains how hunting as an upper-class sport was imported by William the Conqueror and how the concentration on stag hunting collapsed after the English Civil War and the shrinking of wild spaces in Britain."
Ian Cawood, Birmingham Post

"In this brilliant work of social history, Griffin takes readers from the Norman Conquest to the 1998 demonstrations in which one quarter million Britons took to the streets to demand that fox-hunting remain legal, and beyond ... Excellent breadth, readability, and erudition. Highly recommended."
Choice

"Blood Sport is not only a scholarly but an entertaining book, which covers enormous ground with deft succinctness."
Edward Short, The Weekly Standard

"[A] well-researched and convincing survery ... with a judicious use of a wide range of sources."
Matthew McIntire, The Historian

"Emma Griffin has written a much-needed book ... This is a superb study, the best book yet written on hunting in Britain."
Daniel Herman, Winterthur Portfolio

"Emma Griffin has written a very useful and readable survey of the history of hunting since medieval times, based upon numerous printed sources ... The main theme of the book is the development, from the late sixteenth century, of ethical opposition to hunting and other blood sports."
R.B. Manning, The English Historical Review

"a well constructed, balanced account of hunting activities and controversies, poaching and the game laws ... [provides an] admirably clear context ... for detailed regional studies." Northern History

Book cover