Heroes and Ballyhoo: How the Golden Age of the 1920s Transformed American Sports

Hardcover (Print)
Buy Used
Buy Used from BN.com
(Save 41%)
Item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging.
Condition: Used – Good details
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $1.99
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 92%)
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (32) from $1.99   
  • New (12) from $4.65   
  • Used (20) from $1.99   


A handful of star athletes, along with their promoters and journalists, created America’s sports entertainment industry during the 1920s, the Golden Age of American sports. The period had an extraordinary impact, profoundly changing individual sports, establishing the secular religion of sports and sports heroes, and helping bond disparate social and regional sectors of the country. It’s when sports became a cornerstone of modern American life. Heroes and Ballyhoo profiles the ten most prominent Golden Age heroes and describes their effect on sports and society. Babe Ruth saved baseball after the Black Sox Scandal. Boxer Jack Dempsey made the “sweet science” a respectable sport. Red Grange single-handedly set professional football on a path to eventual success. Knute Rockne helped transform college football from a game to a colossal enterprise. Bobby Jones changed golf into a spectator sport, and Walter Hagen sparked the first national interest in professional golf. Bill Tilden put tennis on the front of the sports section. Tennis player Helen Wills Moody joined swimmer Gertrude Ederle in empowering women athletes. Johnny Weissmuller astonished international swimming before becoming Tarzan. The book also explores the ballyhoo artists—sportswriters, promoters, and press agents—who hyped the stars to a receptive public. Simultaneously, the spectators established themselves as the focus of popular sports. The personalities and events of the 1920s thus created today’s entertainment conglomerate of heroes, promoters and advertisers, fans, arenas—and money. Sports as a profit center started with the Golden Age’s heroes and PR artists, and the public’s obsessive interest in sports helped shape America’s emerging mass society. Heroes and Ballyhoo tells the story of what was both a symptom and a cause of modern America.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Written in a you-are-there style, this book belongs on every sports bookshelf.”

“This book is an eye-opener to those who take today’s multi-billion dollar sports industry for granted.”

"If you want to understand the sports hype of our time--Peyton, King James, A-Rod, and beyond--you better read Bohn's engrossing stories in this clear-eyed celebration of where it all began."

"There were giants in those days: Jack Dempsey, Babe Ruth, Red Grange, Bobby Jones, Knute Rockne, Bill Tilden, and Gertrude Ederle. Michael Bohn is the first to bring them all together. Heroes and Ballyhoo is gravid with excitement; you can almost hear the crowd roar when you open the book."

“Mike Bohn has captured sports’s Golden Age in a way that makes me wish I’d lived back then—with all those heroes, both on the field and up in the press box. Every fan of sports should read this book to appreciate where we’ve come from, and realize how there used to be a better world out there, except for advances in air-conditioning.”

“In the early years of the Roaring Twenties, American women not only won the right to vote but they also earned headlines alongside their male counterparts during the Golden Age of American sports. Michael Bohn shares an engaging story of how two sports heroines, tennis player Helen Wills and swimmer Gertrude Ederle, helped embolden women to seek self-fulfillment by challenging the status quo.”

“Hype, hoopla, and histrionics characterized American sports in the 1920s, as well as all kinds of talented and unusual characters. Michael Bohn’s Heroes and Ballyhoo is a treatise, a tribute, and a tip of the cap to that special time. Carefully researched and written, this is a book that belongs on your sports bookshelf.”

“Michael Bohn provides a rare opportunity to experience the American sporting scene in the Roaring Twenties. A constant stream of legendary characters marches across these pages. You’ll meet them all: the Babe, the Four Horsemen, the Manassa Mauler, the Wheaton Iceman, Bill Tilden, Gertrude Ederle, and Grantland Rice, the sportswriter whose purple prose made them all come alive.”

“Want to know why the 1920s is the most seminal decade in the history of American sport? Read Michael Bohn’s Heroes and Ballyhoo, a page-turning and stirring plunge into a time when America’s most beloved figures—those wielding big wooden bats and wearing leather football helmets—held the country spellbound. A terrific piece of historical journalism.”

Wall Street Journal
There were giants in those days: Jack Dempsey, Babe Ruth, Red Grange, Bobby Jones, Knute Rockne, Bill Tilden, and Gertrude Ederle. Michael Bohn is the first to bring them all together. Heroes and Ballyhoo is gravid with excitement; you can almost hear the crowd roar when you open the book.
—Allen Barra
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781597974127
  • Publisher: Potomac Books
  • Publication date: 11/30/2009
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael K. Bohn's latest book, Money Golf: 600 Years of Bettin’ on Birdies (Potomac Books, Inc., 2007), was one of Golf Digest’s top golf books of 2007. A freelance writer, Bohn is the golf reporter for nineteen weeklies in Northern Virginia. He lives in Alexandria, Virginia.
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)