Howard Cosell: The Man, the Myth, and the Transformation of American Sports

Howard Cosell: The Man, the Myth, and the Transformation of American Sports

by Mark Ribowsky
     
 

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“Brilliant . . . entertaining . . . a thought-provoking portrayal of the multi-faceted Howard Cosell in all his glory and enmity.”—Don Ohlmeyer, Wall Street Journal

Howard Cosell’s colorful bombast, fearless reporting, and courageous stance on civil rights made him one of the most recognizable and controversial figures in

Overview

“Brilliant . . . entertaining . . . a thought-provoking portrayal of the multi-faceted Howard Cosell in all his glory and enmity.”—Don Ohlmeyer, Wall Street Journal

Howard Cosell’s colorful bombast, fearless reporting, and courageous stance on civil rights made him one of the most recognizable and controversial figures in American sports history. “Telling it like it is,” he covered nearly every major sports story for three decades, from the travails of Muhammad Ali to the tragedy at the Munich Olympics. Now, two decades after his death, this deeply misunderstood sports legend has finally gotten the “definitive” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review) and revelatory biography he so much deserves. With more than forty interviews, Mark Ribowsky has brilliantly presented Cosell’s endless complexities in the “first thoroughly researched and effectively framed biography of Cosell and his times” (Huffington Post).

Editorial Reviews

Richard Sandomir
Ribowsky, who seems to have read just about everything on Cosell, is a deft narrator of the life of Humble Howard, taking his readers from the skinny kid in Brooklyn who yearned to spend more time with an absent father to the sportscaster who helped make an event out of "Monday Night Football" by being so very different from anyone else who had ever called a game…All this Ribowsky describes vividly, with a critical eye and an awareness of his subject's hypocrisies.
—The New York Times Book Review
Steven V. Roberts
…at his best, [Ribowsky] captures the arc of a gritty, even glorious, American life.
—The Washington Post
Don Ohlmeyer
“Mr. Ribowsky's book is an entertaining read and a thought-provoking portrayal of the multi-faceted Howard Cosell in all his glory and enmity. It is based on voluminous, well-sourced research into print and electronic material, coupled with numerous interviews with Cosell's contemporaries.
...the book vividly depicts Cosell as a brilliant meteor that soared through the electronic sky before ultimately fading, dimmed by controversy, age, exhaustion and perhaps his own obstreperous personality. Warts and all, there has never been, and may never be again, anyone quite like Howard Cosell.”
New York Post
“Ribowsky, who previously wrote a fine book on Satchel Paige, gives Cosell the treatment this controversial giant in sports journalism deserves.”
Jewish Journal
“A powerful biography… well researched and well written.”
Sports Illustrated
“A sportscasting giant is interpreted for a generation that never knew him…Mark Ribowsky's clear-eyed take on the broadcaster who built his career on "telling it like it is" reveals the insecurities that fueled Cosell's bravado, charting his ascension from growing up in a middle-class home in Brooklyn to a short-lived career as a lawyer before elbowing his way into radio and TV and becoming the most influential—and controversial—sports commentator in America.”
New York Times Book Review
“Ribowsky, who seems to have read just about everything on Cosell, is a deft narrator of the life of Humble Howard, taking his readers from the skinny kid in Brooklyn who yearned to spend more time with an absent father to the sportscaster who helped make an event out of “Monday Night Football” by being so very different from anyone else who had ever called a game.”
James Campion - Huffington Post
“...[T]he first thoroughly researched and effectively framed biography of Cosell and his times...Beyond its poignant depiction of a flawed, paranoid and narcissistic character with the uncanny talent to immerse himself entirely, almost supernaturally, into emerging events, Ribowsky's Howard Cosell makes crystal clear the entwined path of Cosell's epic career within the world of Big Time sports and its broadcasting partners, as they quite literally created the monstrosities they are today.”
Sherryl Connelly - New York Daily News
“In Howard Cosell, author Mark Ribowsky reveals the obnoxious broadcaster who transformed sports reporting.”
Steve Kettman - San Francisco Chronicle
“Ribowsky has deftly captured this complicated figure, and anyone who cares about sports and how we talk about sports will find this book well worth the time, no matter how off-putting its subject was to many.”
Huffington Post
...[T]he first thoroughly researched and effectively framed biography of Cosell and his times...

Beyond its poignant depiction of a flawed, paranoid and narcissistic character with the uncanny talent to immerse himself entirely, almost supernaturally, into emerging events, Ribowsky's Howard Cosell makes crystal clear the entwined path of Cosell's epic career within the world of Big Time sports and its broadcasting partners, as they quite literally created the monstrosities they are today.— James Campion

New York Daily News
In Howard Cosell, author Mark Ribowsky reveals the obnoxious broadcaster who transformed sports reporting.— Sherryl Connelly
San Francisco Chronicle
Ribowsky has deftly captured this complicated figure, and anyone who cares about sports and how we talk about sports will find this book well worth the time, no matter how off-putting its subject was to many.— Steve Kettman
Kirkus Reviews
You could make a case that Howard Cosell (1918–1995) was the single most important sports broadcaster ever. You would be right. In a 1978 poll designed to identify TV's most and least popular personality, Cosell won both categories, a perfect measure of his ubiquity and the controversy he aroused. Today, with more sports competing for attention in a fractured media environment, it's difficult to imagine a commentator dominating the landscape as Cosell did during the '60s and '70s. Though he'd made tentative forays into radio, Cosell was 38 before he abandoned his law practice to attempt a career in sports. This ferociously ambitious reporter, analyst, interviewer and play-by-play man, with his near photographic memory, nasal voice, staccato delivery and large and frequently preposterous vocabulary, prided himself on "telling it like it is." At his peak, Cosell was everywhere on radio and TV, covering baseball, boxing and the Olympics, producing documentaries, penetrating deeper into the popular culture with sitcom appearances and movie roles. He announced to the world the assassination of John Lennon, presided over signal '70s events like the tennis "Battle of the Sexes," briefly hosted a prime-time variety show and even flirted with running for the Senate. From two platforms, especially, his ringside and reportorial coverage--and courageous defense--of the career of Muhammad Ali and his perch in the tumultuous Monday Night Football booth, Cosell colorfully demonstrated his capacity to hype and eventually overpower the events he covered. Contemptuous of sportswriters (they returned the hate), dismissive of colleagues and bosses--mediocrities, he called them--he attributed every slight to anti-Semitism or jealousy and ended up alienating even his stoutest friends and defenders, with the exception of his devoted and long-suffering wife. Ribowsky (Ain't Too Proud to Beg: The Troubled Lives and Enduring Soul of the Temptations, 2010, etc.) attributes Cosell's arrogance to a deep insecurity and an insatiable desire for acclaim. As he aged, "Humble Howard" descended into drink, cruelty and caricature, bitter at having wasted his talents in the "intellectual thimble" of sports. The definitive word on a loved, loathed, maddeningly complex broadcasting legend.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393083040
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
11/26/2012
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
520
File size:
9 MB

Meet the Author

Mark Ribowsky is the author of fifteen books, including Ain't Too Proud to Beg: The Troubled Lives and Enduring Soul of the Temptations, the New York Times Notable Book Don’t Look Back: Satchel Paige in the Shadows of Baseball, and, most recently, Dreams to Remember: Otis Redding, Stax Records, and the Transformation of Southern Soul. He lives in Florida.

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