The John Carlos Story: The Sports Moment That Changed the World

The John Carlos Story: The Sports Moment That Changed the World

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by John Carlos, Dave Zirin
     
 

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Nominated for an NAACP Image Award, Outstanding Literary Work Autobiography/Biography

Seen around the world, John Carlos and Tommie Smith’s Black Power salute on the 1968 Olympic podium sparked controversy and career fallout. Yet their show of defiance remains one of the most iconic images of Olympic history and the Black Power movement. Here is the

Overview


Nominated for an NAACP Image Award, Outstanding Literary Work Autobiography/Biography

Seen around the world, John Carlos and Tommie Smith’s Black Power salute on the 1968 Olympic podium sparked controversy and career fallout. Yet their show of defiance remains one of the most iconic images of Olympic history and the Black Power movement. Here is the remarkable story of one of the men behind the salute, lifelong activist John Carlos.

John Carlos is an African American former track and field athlete, professional football player, and a founding member of the Olympic Project for Human Rights. He won the bronze medal in the 200 meters race at the 1968 Olympics, where his Black Power salute on the podium with Tommie Smith caused much political controversy. The John Carlos Story is his first book.

Dave Zirin is the author of four books, including Bad Sports, A People's History of Sports in the United States, and What's My Name, Fool? He writes the popular weekly online sports column "The Edge of Sports" and is a regular contributor to SportsIllustrated.com, SLAM, Los Angeles Times, and The Nation, where he is the publication's first sports editor.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"John Carlos is an American hero. And finally he has written a memoir to tell us his story—and a powerful story it is. I couldn't put this book down."
--Michael Moore

"Biblically, athletes with superior attributes were seen as gifts from God. Whether it was Samson staring down the Philistines or David slaying Goliath, they and latter-day heroes such as Joe Louis, Jackie Robinson and Muhammad Ali, selflessly used their gifts and magnificently magnified platforms to transform society. It is in that tradition that John Carlos, and his teammate Tommie Smith, raised their fists in solidarity with the American civil rights struggle, as well as the struggles of those who exist on the downside of advantage. It was a statement for the ages. This act of righteous defiance lifted us all to a new level of dignity and shared responsibility to improve the conditions of the poor the world over...But the price of heroism is high. John Carlos paid and this is his story."
--Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr.

"The John Carlos story is the remarkable chronicle of an epic life sketched against the defining crisis of race in America. Carlos' athletic genius on the field is matched by his heroic will to overcome trials and tribulations in his personal life, and to find resurrection in his professional life. This is an inspiring and eloquent story about a great American whose commitment to truth, justice and democracy were tested and found true."
--Michael Eric Dyson

"John Carlos' life story is an insightful and gripping look at the times he lived and the Olympics he helped make so memorable. He shows us that the one day that made him famous was only the most outward and visible sign of a touching and thoughtful life."
--Frank Deford

"The John Carlos Story is a blow by blow detail of triumph vs tragedy from the jump. Again Dave Zirin uncovers, and yet illuminates the mere footnotes of this sports history hero with his impeccable balance of truth. This story drills a hole into the myth of black athlete success and worship."
--Chuck D, Public Enemy

"In this breathlessly readable tale, John Carlos finally steps out of that iconic photograph to become the vibrant, fascinating hero we never really knew."
--Robert Lipsyte, author of An Accidental Sportswriter, a memoir

"John Carlos's story of bravery and sacrifice will warm your heart. But beyond his individual heroism, it speaks to the power of athletes who bodaciously refuse to just "shut up and play." Carlos and Zirin capture the way that through sports, the actions of a few athletes resonate across the globe."
--William Hunter, Executive Director, National Basketball Players Association

"An intelligent and insightful look into the journey of one of our most underrated heroes. Mr. Carlos' passion for justice and fairness has changed our world. You can feel his passion (and his anger) in every word."
--Jemele Hill, ESPN columnist and television analyst

"John Carlos tells a compelling story of courage and the consequences of action. He, Tommie Smith and many other Black athletes took a stand against racial injustice in the U.S. and racial injustice in sports. They were ridiculed by many mainstream commentators at the time, but their actions helped to transform both the sports world and this country. This book was by and about someone who has been and remains one of my heroes."
--Bill Fletcher, Jr., editorial board member, BlackCommentator.com

"History tells us iconic moments in sport are always enveloped in personal stories of sacrifice, courage, and angst. The lasting images that we see occur in a flash contain enriching back stories that are typically even more significant and tragic than the moment itself. John Carlos and Dave Zirin have combined to tell such a story. The moment that two men stood on the world platform to take a stand after they had become the best in the world is rich, complicated but most importantly as relevant today as it was in Mexico City. Dave brings a beautiful and passionate voice of truth to his listeners and achieves the same in this book about a man who became a legend. I am proud to call him my friend."
--DeMaurice Smith, Director NFL Players Assiciation

"The Nation's sports columnist Dave Zirin combines the passion of the most rabid sports nut with the intellectual rigor of the most learned Hegelian."
-- Katrina vanden Heuvel, Editor, The Nation

"Not since Hunter S. Thompson has a sports writer shown the right snarl for the job."
-- Naomi Klein

Library Journal
At the 1968 summer Olympics, 200-meter gold medalist Tommie Smith and bronze medalist Carlos each raised a black-gloved fist on the podium in protest of the stalled progress of U.S. civil rights. The planned protest changed both of these men's lives. Smith and Carlos went on to remarkably similar careers, first in the NFL, then coaching/teaching. Smith told his story in Silent Gesture: The Autobiography of Tommie Smith (2007), expressing some bitterness, while Carlos offers both grace and candor. Starting with his Harlem youth, he tells his story, placing the events of 1968 in context and closing in 2008 on the 40th anniversary of the Mexico City medal ceremony. There are great stories here, with that of what Carlos and his family endured after the gesture perhaps the most moving. More about his time spent in racially intolerant East Texas before the Olympics would have been welcome, but that's a minor complaint. With a foreword by Cornel West. Coauthor Zirin (Bad Sports) adds an afterword about athletes and protests today. VERDICT Recommended to all interested in Olympic history generally, or the Smith-Carlos story specifically, sports memoirs, or the evolution of racial attitudes in the second half of the 20th century.—Todd Spires, Bradley Univ. Lib., Peoria, IL

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781608461271
Publisher:
Haymarket Books
Publication date:
10/04/2011
Pages:
220
Sales rank:
310,354
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.90(d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"John Carlos is an American hero. And finally he has written a memoir to tell us his story—and a powerful story it is. I couldn't put this book down."
—Michael Moore

"Biblically, athletes with superior attributes were seen as gifts from God. Whether it was Samson staring down the Philistines or David slaying Goliath, they and latter-day heroes such as Joe Louis, Jackie Robinson and Muhammad Ali, selflessly used their gifts and magnificently magnified platforms to transform society. It is in that tradition that John Carlos, and his teammate Tommie Smith, raised their fists in solidarity with the American civil rights struggle, as well as the struggles of those who exist on the downside of advantage. It was a statement for the ages. This act of righteous defiance lifted us all to a new level of dignity and shared responsibility to improve the conditions of the poor the world over...But the price of heroism is high. John Carlos paid and this is his story."
—Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr.

"The John Carlos story is the remarkable chronicle of an epic life sketched against the defining crisis of race in America. Carlos' athletic genius on the field is matched by his heroic will to overcome trials and tribulations in his personal life, and to find resurrection in his professional life. This is an inspiring and eloquent story about a great American whose commitment to truth, justice and democracy were tested and found true."
—Michael Eric Dyson

"John Carlos' life story is an insightful and gripping look at the times he lived and the Olympics he helped make so memorable. He shows us that the one day that made him famous was only the most outward and visible sign of a touching and thoughtful life."
—Frank Deford

"The John Carlos Story is a blow by blow detail of triumph vs tragedy from the jump. Again Dave Zirin uncovers, and yet illuminates the mere footnotes of this sports history hero with his impeccable balance of truth. This story drills a hole into the myth of black athlete success and worship."
—Chuck D, Public Enemy

"In this breathlessly readable tale, John Carlos finally steps out of that iconic photograph to become the vibrant, fascinating hero we never really knew."
—Robert Lipsyte, author of An Accidental Sportswriter, a memoir

"John Carlos's story of bravery and sacrifice will warm your heart. But beyond his individual heroism, it speaks to the power of athletes who bodaciously refuse to just "shut up and play." Carlos and Zirin capture the way that through sports, the actions of a few athletes resonate across the globe."
—William Hunter, Executive Director, National Basketball Players Association

"An intelligent and insightful look into the journey of one of our most underrated heroes. Mr. Carlos' passion for justice and fairness has changed our world. You can feel his passion (and his anger) in every word."
—Jemele Hill, ESPN columnist and television analyst

"John Carlos tells a compelling story of courage and the consequences of action. He, Tommie Smith and many other Black athletes took a stand against racial injustice in the U.S. and racial injustice in sports. They were ridiculed by many mainstream commentators at the time, but their actions helped to transform both the sports world and this country. This book was by and about someone who has been and remains one of my heroes."
—Bill Fletcher, Jr., editorial board member, BlackCommentator.com

"History tells us iconic moments in sport are always enveloped in personal stories of sacrifice, courage, and angst. The lasting images that we see occur in a flash contain enriching back stories that are typically even more significant and tragic than the moment itself. John Carlos and Dave Zirin have combined to tell such a story. The moment that two men stood on the world platform to take a stand after they had become the best in the world is rich, complicated but most importantly as relevant today as it was in Mexico City. Dave brings a beautiful and passionate voice of truth to his listeners and achieves the same in this book about a man who became a legend. I am proud to call him my friend."
—DeMaurice Smith, Director NFL Players Assiciation

"The Nation's sports columnist Dave Zirin combines the passion of the most rabid sports nut with the intellectual rigor of the most learned Hegelian."
— Katrina vanden Heuvel, Editor, The Nation

"Not since Hunter S. Thompson has a sports writer shown the right snarl for the job."
— Naomi Klein

Meet the Author


John Carlos is an African American former track and field athlete and professional football player, and a founding member of the Olympic Project for Human Rights. He won the bronze-medal in the 200 meters race at the 1968 Summer Olympics, where his Black Power salute on the podium with Tommie Smith caused much political controversy. He went on to equal the world record in the 100 yard dash and beat the 200 meters world record. After his track career, he enjoyed brief stints in the National Football League and Canadian Football League but retired due to injury. He became involved with the United States Olympic Committee and helped to organize the 1984 Summer Olympics. He later became a track coach at a high school in Palm Springs, where he now resides. He was inducted into the USA Track & Field Hall of Fame in 2003.

Dave Zirin is the author of four books, including Bad Sports, A Peoples' History of Sports in the United States, What’s My Name Fool! and Welcome to the Terrordome. He writes the popular weekly online sports column “The Edge of Sports” (edgeofsports.com) and is a regular contributor to SI.com, SLAM, the Los Angeles Times, and The Nation where he is the publication's first Sports Editor. He lives in Takoma Park, Maryland.

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The John Carlos Story: The Sports Moment That Changed the World 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Why is this ebook only $9.99 on Amazon? Maybe its time to switch to kindle. This is'nt the only book i've found cheaper on amazom!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great story during a time of racial stress in America. A story told from the men that were in the center of it and lived to tell their historical story.
Tsotsi More than 1 year ago
Very good read.