The Final Whistle
The Great War in Fifteen Players
WINNER OF THE BRITISH SPORT BOOK AWARDS - RUGBY BOOK OF THE YEAR
This is the story of 15 men killed in the Great War. All played rugby for one London club; none lived to hear the final whistle. Rugby brought them together; rugby led the rush to war. They came from Britain and the Empire to fight in every theatre and service, among them a poet, playwright and perfumer. Some were decorated and died heroically; others fought and fell quietly. Together their stories paint a portrait in miniature of the entire War.
The Final Whistle plays tribute to the pivotal role rugby played in the Great War by following the poignant stories of fifteen men who played for Rosslyn Park, London. They came from diverse backgrounds, with players from Australia, Ceylon, Wales and South Africa, but they were united by their love of the game and their courage in the face of war.
From the mystery of a missing memorial, Cooper's meticulous research has uncovered the story of these men and captured their lives, from their vanished Edwardian youth and vigour, to the war they fought and how they died.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
'A fresh and fascinating take on the impact of the Great War with a novel and moving focus.' -- Ian Hislop 'Stephen Cooper has written a haunting and beautiful book, [he] tells the story of men from one rugby club but it is a universal narrative of heroism and loss. He writes superbly and has produced a book of commendable scholarship. I cannot recommend it enough.' -- Fergal Keane 'a deeply moving book about the loss of fifteen members of Rosslyn Park Rugby Club during the Great War. A War that scarred Britain and took so many fine men, who had they lived would have enriched this country. The lives of these young men, all so promising, are poignantly and vividly recalled.' -- Max Arthur