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Shake Down The Thunder
     

Shake Down The Thunder

5.0 1
by Murray A. Sperber
 

"Sperber...tackles the details, great and small, unearthing a treasure." —New York Times Book Review

Shake Down the Thunder traces the history of the Notre Dame football program—which has acquired almost mythical proportions—from its humble origins in the 19th century to its status as the paragon of college sports. It presents the true story of the

Overview

"Sperber...tackles the details, great and small, unearthing a treasure." —New York Times Book Review

Shake Down the Thunder traces the history of the Notre Dame football program—which has acquired almost mythical proportions—from its humble origins in the 19th century to its status as the paragon of college sports. It presents the true story of the program's formative years, the reality behind the myths. Both social history and sports history, this book documents as never before the first half-century of Notre Dame football and relates it to the rise of big-time intercollegiate athletics, the college sports reform movement, and the corrupt sporting press of the period. Shake Down the Thunder is must reading for all Fighting Irish fans, their detractors, and any reader engaged by American cultural history.

Editorial Reviews

Northern Indiana Lakes Magazine
"A must-read for Fighting Irish fans, their detractors, or anyone interested in American cultural history." —Northern Indiana Lakes
Northern Indiana Lakes

"A must-read for Fighting Irish fans, their detractors, or anyone interested in American cultural history." —Northern Indiana Lakes

From the Publisher
"A must-read for Fighting Irish fans, their detractors, or anyone interested in American cultural history." —Northern Indiana Lakes

Library Journal
Sperber (English, Indiana Univ.) chronicles Notre Dame and its football dynasty, from the institution's early days as a small school founded by French priests to the hiring of coach Frank Leahy in 1941. He covers not only the university's football program but the anti-Catholicism and the academic/athletic issues of the period. For the most part, however, he focuses on one man and his tremendous influence upon American sports: Knute Rockne. Sperber skillfully compiled this work by poring through previously uncataloged archival papers, which included Rockne's personal correspondence. Other vibrant personalities, such as Father John O'Hara and Grantland Rice, are also examined, as are the discrepancies between reality and myth in such campus legends as the ``win one for the Gipper'' speech and the Notre Dame victory march. This volume is destined to become a sports classic. For most collections.-- Albert Spencer, Coll. of Education, Univ. of Nevada, Las Vegas
Kirkus Reviews
Sperber (English and American Studies/Indiana University; College Sports Inc., 1990) does in this exceptional, exhaustive history of Notre Dame football what he does best: dash myths and penetrate to systemic corruption and hypocrisy, all the while maintaining an implicit love for collegiate athletics. Using a cache of previously unexamined correspondence and athletic department files dated 1909-34, Sperber starts with the school's origins in the 1840's and continues through 1941. He attributes Notre Dame's football success in part to the independence it gained through its repeated rejection by the Western Conference and by the school's "unique culture of athleticism." Included are fascinating anecdotes about the scheduling and playing of the great Michigan and Army games (the latter of which, contrary to legend, came about because the cadets had become "pariahs" by flouting standard eligibility rules); the "Fighting Irish" nickname, the fight song, the cheers, and the mascot; the making of the film "Knute Rockne—All-American"; the Catholic school's battles with the KKK and other "anti-papists"; and the corruption of journalists, officials, and coaches like "Pop" Warner, who frequently pocketed gate receipts. Sperber addresses what he calls Notre Dame's "historic dilemma...the tension between its athletic prominence and its academic aspiration." Most telling is his look at the Knute Rockne myth. Sperber finds Rockne to be a man so concerned with "the decline of American masculinity" that he had no qualms about publicly humiliating those he saw as less than "he-men." As the record and the testimony show, Rockne wasn't universally mourned when he died in that 1931 plane crash.His greatness as a coach, however, and as a football innovator, are given their just due here, though also placed in a realistic historical perspective. Quite an achievement: a monumental work of scholarship in both sports and social history. (Eight pages of photographs—not seen).

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780253215680
Publisher:
Indiana University Press
Publication date:
08/01/2002
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
664
Sales rank:
781,802
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.34(d)

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

Murray Sperber is Professor of English and American Studies at Indiana University and author of Beer and Circuses: How Big-Time College Sports Is Crippling Undergraduate Education.

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Shake down the Thunder 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was great. If you love ND football, then this book is for you!!! Majority of the book talks about Rockne's career at ND which is great!!