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Letters for the Ages: Sport

Edited by James Drake

Published by OfLostTime October 2022

This is the first book in the series Letters for the Ages.. which will be published by our FSG Literary Unit OfLostTime. As Victor Hugo said, it is always in one’s letters, more than any other writing, that we find the imprint of a heart and the traces of a life.


This illustrated collection of letters includes the personal correspondence of famous athletes, as they reflect on their achievements and failures, and share their thoughts on team-mates and rivals. Alongside these are the words of world leaders, authors and scientists, writing in newspapers, medical journals, and passing on secret memos. The writers shine a light on the triumphs and controversies of rugby, football, swimming, cycling, golf, tennis, boxing, pedestrianism, athletics and the martial arts, to name a few.


The letters highlight the role of sport as both a social activity and an agent of change. Certain sporting events have even influenced international relations – from the famous ‘truce’ football matches of 1914, when British and German soldiers put down their guns on Christmas Day to play a game; to the historic 1972 ping pong tournament between the US and China, leading to a thaw in relations.

As Nelson Mandela once said, “sport has the power to change the world.”

The Secret Balance Of Champions: Health Challenges in Elite Sport (2021)

I coauthored the Introduction to this book:

The book explores health challenges elite athletes might face during and after their career, featuring insight from legendary champions such as Chris Hoy and Mo Farah.

Enrico Caruso By Himself

The legendary tenor Enrico Caruso was a major inspiration to all his successors up to and beyond Pavarotti. In 2014 I acquired an extensive unpublished archive of his letters and other papers. I used it to write a new biography of Caruso in English for private circulation rather than sale. My biography of Enrico Caruso, to celebrate the centenary of his death in 1921, is now live at:

My acquisition of the Caruso archive also led me to meet the great tenor Joseph Calleja. Together we launched a charity to help young musicians in the early stage of their careers: the Drake Calleja Trust. See the section on Philanthropy for more information about this charity.

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