Forty Minutes of Hell: The Extraordinary Life of Nolan Richardson

Forty Minutes of Hell: The Extraordinary Life of Nolan Richardson

by Rus Bradburd
     
 

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“Nolan Richardson’s extraordinary life and success as the University of Arkansas’ coach are an important chapter in the history of our country’s struggle for racial equality, with all the excitement of the Final Four. What an incredible journey!”
—President Bill Clinton

 

Forty Minutes of Hell by Rus

Overview

“Nolan Richardson’s extraordinary life and success as the University of Arkansas’ coach are an important chapter in the history of our country’s struggle for racial equality, with all the excitement of the Final Four. What an incredible journey!”
—President Bill Clinton

 

Forty Minutes of Hell by Rus Bradburd is an intricate exploration of the politics of race and sports, from the Jim Crow era until today, witnessed through the life of legendary African-American basketball coach and NCAA Title winner Nolan Richardson. A remarkable story of pride, courage, and accomplishment in the face of discrimination, Forty Minutes of Hell is also a fascinating window into the world of elite collegiate sports. NBA legend Charles Barkley calls this inspiring and important biography, “A great story about America and its hidden histories….Every American should thank [Richardson] for showing us it was possible.”

Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
A combination career retrospective and racial history of Southern college basketball. It's unjust that the legacy of Nolan Richardson, legendary former University of Arkansas basketball coach, is distorted by a surreal 2002 press conference that resulted in his termination. Bradburd (Writing/New Mexico State Univ. Paddy on the Hardwood: A Journey in Irish Hoops, 2006) uses that incident-in which the frustrated coach rambled about slavery and proclaimed that if the university would pay him his money, they could take his job-as a springboard to explore Richardson's controversial yet undeniably influential life and career. Raised in segregated El Paso, Texas, Richardson became a multisport high-school star before playing for Don Haskins-the first coach to win an NCAA championship starting all black players-at Texas Western College, after which he embarked on a coaching career seemingly destined to fail because of his race. Still, Richardson persevered, rising through the ranks before breaking into Division I coaching at the University of Tulsa. He later achieved historical success at Arkansas in 1994, becoming only the second black coach to win a championship. His on-court achievements, however, were shadowed by personal troubles, including the death of his daughter and an acrimonious power struggle with Arkansas' athletic director, Frank Broyles. Richardson's staunch opposition to racist slights, both real and perceived, led to what Bradburd contends is an unfair reputation as an angry, ungrateful black man-a perception refuted by Richardson's habit of befriending older white men (including sportswriter Orville Henry and Tulsa booster Ed Beshara) and donating considerable amounts oftime and money to charities that aid children of all races. The author's ambitious attempt to contextualize Richardson's struggles within the larger historical framework of racism in the South adds nuance, but occasionally derails the narrative flow. Nevertheless, he manages to transform the prickly coach into a complex figure worthy of reexamination. Establishes Richardson as one of college basketball's most compelling figures, both because of and in spite of his race. Agent: Andrew Blauner/Blauner Books Literary Agency
New York Times
“Highly provocative. . . . A sharp-elbowed biography.”
Boston Globe
“There are so many amazing things to know and remember about Richardson, truly a sports hero and pioneer. . . . But Richardson’s life was about more than wins and losses, as Bradburd details in excellent and entertaining style.”
Sports Illustrated
“[An] energetic biography. . . . Bradburd rounds out his story with humanizing detail.”
Tulsa World
“Suggestion: Place a note pad nearby . . . in order to keep score of the ‘wow’ moments, as in ‘Wow, did that really happen? . . . Thanks to Bradburd’s book, you can walk in Richardson’s shoes, one page at a time.’”
SLAM Online
“Bradburd does an incredible job chronicling Richardson’s rise from a high school coach to getting a junior college job. . . . [His] copy shines in the well-researched chapters on the black coaches and the athletes who came before Richardson but never got the opportunity to elevate themselves.”
Financial Times
“[An] excellent, angry new biography.”
Dave Zirin
“I’ve never read a sports book I would describe as operatic until now. Nolan Richardson’s story, both unique and universal, would challenge the most seasoned biographer, but Bradburd’s libretto is heartbreaking and inspiring. This is the finest sports biography I’ve read in years, hands down.”
President - Bill Clinton
"What an incredible journey!"
Charles Barkley
“This is a great story about America and its hidden histories. . . Every black college coach with a good job today owes Nolan Richardson a measure of respect for the fearless way he kicked down doors. Every American should thank him for showing us it was possible.”
President Bill Clinton
“What an incredible journey!”
Slam Online
"Bradburd does an incredible job chronicling Richardson’s rise from a high school coach to getting a junior college job. . . . [His] copy shines in the well-researched chapters on the black coaches and the athletes who came before Richardson but never got the opportunity to elevate themselves."

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061969454
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
02/09/2010
Sold by:
HARPERCOLLINS
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
336
File size:
1 MB

What People are saying about this

Charles Barkley
“This is a great story about America and its hidden histories. . . Every black college coach with a good job today owes Nolan Richardson a measure of respect for the fearless way he kicked down doors. Every American should thank him for showing us it was possible.”
Bill Clinton
“What an incredible journey!”
Dave Zirin
“I’ve never read a sports book I would describe as operatic until now. Nolan Richardson’s story, both unique and universal, would challenge the most seasoned biographer, but Bradburd’s libretto is heartbreaking and inspiring. This is the finest sports biography I’ve read in years, hands down.”

Meet the Author

Rus Bradburd's fiction has appeared in the Southern Review, the Colorado Review, and Aethlon, and his essays have appeared in SLAM magazine, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and the Houston Chronicle. The author of Paddy on the Hardwood, Bradburd is an assistant professor at New Mexico State University.

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