From small-town life to the national stage, from the boardroom to Capitol Hill, athletic contests help define what we mean in America by success. And by keeping women from playing with the boys on the grounds that they are inherently inferior to men, society relegates them to second-classstatus in American life. In this forcefully argued book, Eileen McDonagh and Laura Pappano show in vivid detail how women have been unfairly excluded from participating in sports on an equal footing with men. Using dozens of colorful examples from the world of contemporary American athletics-girls and women trying tobreak through in high school football, ice hockey, wrestling, and baseball, to name just a few-the authors show that sex differences are not sufficient to warrant exclusion in most sports, that success usually entails more than brute strength, and that the special rules for women in many sports donot simply reflect the differences between the sexes, but actively create and reinforce them. For instance, if womens bodies give them a physiological advantage in endurance sports like the ultra-marathon and distance swimming, why do so many Olympic events-from swimming to skiing to running tobike racing-have shorter races for women than men? Likewise, why are womens singles games in badminton limited to 11 points while mens singles go to 15? Surely female badminton players can endure four more points. Such rules merely reinforce a difference for social-not competitive- purposes.An original and provocative argument to level the athletic playing field, Playing with the Boys issues a clarion call for sex-sensible policies in sports as another important step toward the equality of men and women in our society.