What is it?

The second episode of William Hill’s Sports Book of the Year award 2020 podcast sees host Matt Williams interview shortlisted author Scott Ellsworth about his book; The World Beneath Their Feet

Based on the pre-World War 2 effort amongst Nazi Germnay, Great Britan and the United States to race in one of the greatest mountaineering challenges of all time to summit the Himalayas. All three had rival base camps gathered with the strongest and fastest climbers in the world. 

Williams also spoke to judge Clarke Carlisle about what he looks for in a great sports book.

This is the second of five books shortlisted to potentially be this year’s winner. Last week’s episode interviewed author Ruqsana Begum and Sarah Shephard, who helped write Born Fighter; that episode can be found here

The winner will be decided by a judging panel chaired by Alyson Rudd and will receive £30,000 and be announced on December 3 at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Who is it?

Scott Ellsworth: is the New York Times bestselling author of The Secret Game, which was the winner of the 2016 PEN/ESPN Award for Literary Sports Writing. He has written about American history for the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times. Formerly a historian at the Smithsonian Institution, he is the author of Death in a Promised Land, his groundbreaking account of the 1921 Tulsa race riot. 

Clarke Carlisle: Former professional footballer playing as defender for such teams as Blackpool, Queens Park Rangers, Leeds United and Watford to name a few. He was also a previous chairman of the Professional Footballers Association. He first joined the William Hill Sports Book of the Year award back in 2012.

Matt Williams: William Hill Sports Book of the year review panellist and renowned sports broadcaster he worked for twenty years as a journalist and presenter at the BBC. He’s also worked for a National Governing Body as the Head of Communications at the British Equestrian Federation, dealing with numerous crises. Matt is an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR).

What is being said?

Scott Ellsworth: “I was just blown away by these guys… right now we have this horde image of climbers queued up on evenerst of these Vice Presidents of investment firms and stuff like that. It’s no big deal to spend £100,000 to show up there and they have got all this fancy gear and all this stuff. 

That is the complete opposite of these climbers from the 1930s for the most part. They don’t have much money, they have got to figure out how to do things and they are learning along the way.”

Why should I watch it?

To understand in a pre-WW2 high tension era, different mountaineering incentives from global giants for wanting to conquer one of the most challenging mountain climbs in the world, with different approaches: innovation vs tradition, self reliance vs team work and much much more.

Where can I see more?

Source: William Hill’s Spotify and you can find the the Sports Book Of The Year site here.

William Hill Sports Book of the Year: Scott Ellsworth