A People's History of Sports in the United States: 250 Years of Politics, Protest, People, and Play [NOOK Book]

Overview

In this long-awaited book from the rising superstar of sportswriting, whose blog “The Edge of Sports” is read each week by thousands of people across the country, Dave Zirin offers a riotously entertaining chronicle of larger-than-life sporting characters and dramatic contests and what amounts to an alternative history of the United States as seen through the games its people played. Through Zirin’s eyes, sports are never mere games, but a ...
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A People's History of Sports in the United States: 250 Years of Politics, Protest, People, and Play

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Overview

In this long-awaited book from the rising superstar of sportswriting, whose blog “The Edge of Sports” is read each week by thousands of people across the country, Dave Zirin offers a riotously entertaining chronicle of larger-than-life sporting characters and dramatic contests and what amounts to an alternative history of the United States as seen through the games its people played. Through Zirin’s eyes, sports are never mere games, but a reflection of—and spur toward—the political conflicts that shape American society.

Half a century before Jackie Robinson was born, the black ballplayer Moses Fleetwood Walker brandished a revolver to keep racist fans at bay, then took his regular place in the lineup. In the midst of the Depression, when almost no black athletes were allowed on the U.S. Olympic team, athletes held a Counter Olympics where a third of the participants were African American.

A People’s History of Sports in the United States is replete with surprises for seasoned sports fans, while anyone interested in history will be amazed by the connections Zirin draws between politics and pop flies. As Jeff Chang, author of Can’t Stop Won’t Stop, puts it, “After you read him, you’ll never see sports the same way again.”
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Zirin (What's My Name, Fool!), writer of a politically minded online sports column, examines the intersection of sports and politics, chronicling the struggles of America's oppressed, starting with Choctaws playing lacrosse and slaves in the South, and reaching all the way to a critique of Michael Jordan as an apolitical athlete. There are many worthy and deserving stories of courage and conscience in this vast canvas; however, the telling suffers from Zirin's term paper-like prose that relies far too much on overly long quotes from source material. For example, three pages about NFL player Dave Meggyesy has a short introductory paragraph by Zirin and then excerpts Meggyesy's autobiography for the bulk of the section. This book would have been more engaging and logically organized as a reference book with entries on each athlete or group, rather than a linear historical narrative of sports. (Sept.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Reviews
Sportswriter Zirin (Welcome to the Terrordome: The Pain, Politics, and Promise of Sports, 2007, etc.) looks through the eyes of the left at the political forces shaping the history of American sports. Americans who care little about sports probably know something about track stars Jesse Owens, Jim Thorpe and Wilma Rudolph; baseball players Jackie Robinson and Roberto Clemente; football greats Paul Robeson, Jim Brown and Pat Tillman; basketballers Bill Russell, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Magic Johnson; tennis giants Arthur Ashe, Althea Gibson, Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova; boxing champions Jack Johnson, Joe Louis and Muhammad Ali; and soccer standout Mia Hamm. We know these biographies precisely because of the political stands each has taken on behalf of racial, sexual, economic or religious fair play. Even a casual sports fan knows something about the story of baseball's Negro Leagues, the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, the Black Power demonstrations at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, or the all-black, 1966 Texas Western NCAA basketball champions, largely because of their still-reverberating social implications. Zirin's purpose, then, is somewhat of a mystery. Can there be anyone besides the ghost of Grantland Rice and possibly the Chinese Olympic Committee who believe sports can be severed from politics? Chronologically, with serial entries of seemingly arbitrary length, Zirin covers all this, as well as many other, genuinely obscure tales that serve his unrelenting, Howard Zinnian take on sports history. The cast of villains includes capitalism, patriotism, Dodgers owner Walter O'Malley and executive Al Campanis, Olympic czar Avery Brundage, Don Imus,longtime Redskins owner George Preston Marshall and, of course, George W. Bush. Zirin's selection of rebel athletes is worthy, but he does them no honor by comparing them to his political heroes-the Rosenbergs, the Jena Six-for whom he has unreserved admiration. A smug, wearisome catalogue.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781595586636
  • Publisher: New Press, The
  • Publication date: 9/9/2008
  • Series: New Press People's History
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 302
  • Sales rank: 454,781
  • File size: 384 KB

Meet the Author

Howard Zinn is professor emeritus at Boston University. He is the author of numerous books including A People's History of the United States, the award-winning Declarations of Independence, and Failure to Quit, as well as the recent memoir You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train and the play Marx in Soho.
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Table of Contents


Series Preface     ix
Preface     xi
Acknowledgments     xv
Until the Twentieth Century     1
Rough Riding     33
Sports and Leisure     49
No Depression     63
War and Its Discontents     91
Have We Gone Soft?     113
Sports on the Edge of Panic     131
The Flood Gates     181
The 1980s: Welcome to Hell     211
C.R.E.A.M.     229
More of the Same Versus Change     253
Notes     269
Index     293
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