Historical Dictionary of Skiing

By (author) E. John B. Allen

Hardback - £97.00

Publication date:

29 December 2011

Length of book:

380 pages


Scarecrow Press

ISBN-13: 9780810868021

Skiing is one of the oldest modes of transportation known, predating the wheel with dated artifacts to prove its pedigree. Skiing for sport, however, did not become common until about 150 years ago. The first Winter Olympic Games, held in Chamonix, France in 1924, were the first to introduce skiing as a competition. Events were held in both ski jumping and cross-country skiing. With advances in technology and increased leisure time, the popularity of skiing as a sport has risen exponentially since it was first introduced.

The Historical Dictionary of Skiing relates the history of the sport through a comprehensive alphabetical dictionary with detailed, cross-referenced entries on key figures, places, competitions, and governing bodies within the sport. Author E. John B. Allen introduces the reader to the history of skiing through a detailed chronology, an introductory essay, appendixes and an extensive bibliography. This book is an excellent access point for researchers, students, and anyone interested in the history of skiing.
Allen (emer., Plymouth State Univ.; winner, 2009 International Skiing History Association's Lifetime Achievement Award) offers a very handy reference that is also a thoroughly researched guide to the history of skiing. Well constructed as a dictionary, it supplies boldface cross-references and makes effective use of see and see also references. International in scope, the entries average a dozen lines in length and include sport terminology (e.g., Telemark Skiing), countries from Albania to the former Yugoslavia, famous (e.g., Bode Miller) and significant (e.g., Fridtjof Nansen) people, and anecdotal references (e.g., "Ski Heil!"). Lengthier entries appear on topics including women on skis, ski fashions, and several countries. The real richness of the work is evident in the opening chronology and extensively referenced historical introduction. The chronology extends from 20,000 to 10,000 BCE to competitive events scheduled through 2018. It successfully shows the expanding use of skis via entries covering materials, military use, competition, law, exploration, training, and more. It also provides a supportive lead-in to the introduction--arguably the book's strongest portion. In very conversational fashion, this 24-page section, including 5 pages of endnotes, seeks to provide historical context for the dictionary entries. Numerous appendixes supply information on podium listings at championship events; skiing museums; event locations; and ski flying and speed skiing records. A topically arranged bibliography concludes the work. This volume will leave users awaiting future works focused on specific countries and regions. Summing Up: Highly recommended.