International Sports Studies (ISS)

ISSN: 1443-0770

International Sports Studies

History – A powerful life-serving influence: Through the lens of the Mangan School

Peter Horton

International Sports Studies 39 No. 2 (2017)     pp: 46-52     2017-12-28

Stichworte/keywords: Sport history, masculinity, imperialism, militarism, Nietzsche

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Horton, P. (2017). History – A powerful life-serving influence: Through the lens of the Mangan School. International Sports Studies, 39 (2), 46-52. doi:10.30819/iss.39-2.05
doi = {10.30819/iss.39-2.05},
url = {},
year = 2017,
publisher = {Logos Verlag Berlin},
volume = {39},
number = {2},
pages = {46-52},
author = {Peter Horton},
title = {History – A powerful life-serving influence: Through the lens of the Mangan School},
journal = {International Sports Studies}

This article is taken from the conclusions to a recently published book, Manufacturing Masculinity. The Mangan Oeuvre - Global Reflections on J.A. Mangan's Studies of Masculinity, Imperialism and Militarism. The book itself is a celebration of the work of one of the most influential scholars of modern sports history. In the Prologue it was suggested that in this collection which features the work of some of the world’s leading contemporary historians, the celebration of the legacy of J.A. Mangan’s oeuvre would not be hagiographic, it would rather represent by demonstration an exposition of the ‘task of history’, through a series of contextually-based interpretative essays that would illustrate the essence of existentialist history, its ‘unhistorical creative power’. This article therefore presents an argument for the essential place of history in any considered evaluation of the human condition. It does so through an analysis of Nietzsche’s amazingly innovative articulation of the nature of history set against his own turbulent life. It seeks to confirm the necessity for historians to embrace a critical and contextual gaze in their work, in order to use history in the promotion of powerful and informed lives. History, good history for life, has always been a central element of the products of the Mangan School as is apparent in this collection. This epilogue to the collection, uses Nietzsche’s work as a model for understanding the ‘task’ of history, as being to promote ‘self-productivity’ rather than merely inform. A consideration of Nietzsche’s brilliant treatise on the ‘Powerful Life-Serving Influence’ of history can enhance not just an appreciation of the power and enduring legacy of J. A. Mangan’s life’s work in the history of sport, demonstrated in the essays presented in the book, but also serve to illustrate what should be regarded as a foundational principle of undertaking the task of history in the first place. History undertaken with a critical gaze is a necessity for a powerful and informed life as it has always been, an essential fruit that must flourish in the garden of knowledge
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