“As a thirty-five-year veteran of the sports, the author’s passion translates easily to the page, providing a reflective look at his entrance into what he dubs the ‘blood fraternity’ . . .  A testosterone-laden tale deserving of an audience well beyond the locker room.” -Kirkus

If all sports are really about war, then rugby is a heart-thumping epic of bayonet charges and hand-to-hand fighting.  In Memoirs of a Rugby-Playing Man, bestselling author Jay Atkinson describes his thirty-five year odyssey in the sport-from his rough and rowdy days at the University of Florida, through the intrigue of various foreign tours, club championships, and all star selections, up to his current stint with the freewheeling Vandals Rugby Club out of Los Angeles. Jay has played in more than 500 matches, for which he’s suffered three broken ribs, a detached retina, a fractured cheekbone and orbital bone, four deadened teeth, and a dislocated ankle. Written in the style of Siegried Sassoon’s Memoirs of a Fox-Hunting Man, Atkinson’s book explains why it was all worth it–the sum total of his violent adventures, and the valuable insights he has gained from them.

“Raucous… With intermittent nods to his fiction classes with famed novelist Harry Crews, the brash writer lists his many injuries from the game, but he remains loyal to this sport requiring commitment, skill, and discipline. There is a short stint in jail, drinking and brawls aplenty, and arguments that spill into the streets. Still, Atkinson, wised up from lessons on the rugby field and off, has created a brawny, engaging treat for followers of the sport and the curious.” -Publishers Weekly

April 24, 2012