This study examines the role of modern sports in constructing national identities and the way leaders have exploited sports to achieve domestic and foreign policy goals. The book focuses on the development of national sporting cultures in Great Britain and the United States, the particular processes by which the rest of Europe and the world adopted or rejected their games, and the impact of sports on domestic politics and foreign affairs. Teams competing in international sporting events provide people a shared national experience and a means to differentiate "us" from "them." Particular attention is paid to the transnational influences on the construction of sporting communities, and why some areas resisted dominant sporting cultures while others adopted them and changed them to fit their particular political or societal needs. A recurrent theme of the book is that as much as they try, politicians have been frustrated in their attempts to achieve political ends through sport. The book provides a basis for understanding the political, economic, social, and diplomatic contexts in which these games were played, and to present issues that spur further discussion and research.