Sports in American Life: A History / Edition 2

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This new edition of Davies' highly praised narrative of American sports history makes use of the very latest research and now includes updated and expanded coverage of major sporting events since 2006, extreme sports, and women in sports.
• Extensively revised throughout, with particular attention to making a leaner, more fast-paced narrative
• Allows students and scholars to keep up-to-date with the fast-emerging scholarship in this field
• The most detailed history of American sports, with an emphasis upon major issues, trends, and interpretations
• Highlights the social, economic, and cultural interaction between sports and larger issues, such as gender, race, and class
• Instructor's Manual with Test Bank available on publication at

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Richard Davies has given us a wonderfully rich and comprehensive look – not only at the history of sports in the United States, but at what sports means to such a diverse people. His is a valuable addition to our understanding of this institution that works itself so deeply into our culture." Frank Deford, Senior Consulting Editor, Sports Illustrated

"This is a superb history of American sport. Davies explains in great detail and with much passion how sport in this country was transformed from an informal activity to a highly structured and organized phenomenon." David K. Wiggins, George Mason University

"By introducing some of the basic topics and literature on sport from the American Colonial period through the present, Davies hopes to show how important sports have been throughout American history, both in and of themselves and as a social force." Choice“Gracefully joining well-chosen analytic themes and illustrative biographies … Davies puts scholarship and art on the same team … .And gives us something to cheer for.” Journal of Social History

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780470655467
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 11/15/2011
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 464
  • Sales rank: 219,644
  • Product dimensions: 7.40 (w) x 9.60 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard O. Davies is Distinguished Professor of History at the University of Nevada, Reno, where he teaches courses in 20th Century American History, American Ideas and Values, and History of Sports. Among his most recent books are Rivals! The Ten Greatest American Sports Rivalries of the 20th Century (Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), Sports in American Life: A History (Blackwell, 2007), Betting the Line: Sports Wagering in American Life (2001), and Main Street Blues: The Decline of Small-Town America (1998).

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations xi

Preface xiv

Acknowledgments xx

1 The Emergence of Organized Sports, 1607–1860 1

Games in Colonial New England 2

Recreations in Southern Colonies 4

The Revolutionary Era and Beyond 8

The Democratization of Racing: The Trotters 10

Racing by Land and Sea 12

The Formative Years of Prizefighting 15

Baseball: The Creation of “America’s Game” 20

2 Baseball: "This Noble and Envigorating Game" 24

The Early Professional Era 25

Henry Chadwick and a Game of Numbers 29

Growing Pains 30

Early Years of the Professional Game 33

Emergence of the Modern Game 36

The 1880s: A Decade of Rancor 38

3 The Formative Years of College Football 41

The Early Years of College Athletics 42

Football American Style 43

Yale and the Creation of Football 44

Football Moves West 49

Football as Spectacle 51

Football in Crisis 54

4 The Modernization of American Sports, 1865–1920 60

Prizefighting Enters the Mainstream 61

Sports and Social Class 65

Strong Bodies and Devout Souls 68

America’s Greatest Athlete 72

Organized Play for the Modern Era 75

Interscholastic Sports 77

5 Baseball Ascendant, 1890–1930 79

The 1890s: Years of Discord 80

Ban Johnson and the American League 81

The Cyclone and the Georgia Peach 83

Masters of Strategy 85

The Federal League Challenge 88

Crisis: Gamblers Fix the World Series of 1919 90

The Babe 94

Baseball's Golden Age 98

6 Playing Nice: Women and Sports, 1860–1945 102

The Early Years of Women's Sports 103

The Demise of Women’s Athletics 107

Helen and Trudy: America’s First Women Sports Stars 109

Babe: The Texas Tomboy 111

Women Play Hardball: The Peaches and the Chicks 115

7 "An Evil To Be Endured": Sports on Campus, 1920–1950 118

The Essential Myth of Big-Time College Athletics 119

Football: Driving the Bus 121

Football's Golden Age: The Twenties 122

Knute Rockne and the Making of Notre Dame Football 125

The Second Challenge to Big-Time Football 130

Hoop Dreams 133

Hoop Nightmares 135

8 Sports in an Age of Ballyhoo, Depression, and War, 1920–1945 138

Gee-Whiz: Sports Journalism during the 1920s 139

Heroes for a Heroic Age 141

Boxing Gains Respectability 144

Baseball’s Long Slump 148

Seabiscuit: Sports Star for the Depression Era 153

Baseball during the War Years 155

9 America's Great Dilemma 157

The "Fight of the Century" 158

Separate and Unequal: The Negro Leagues 162

Out of the Cotton Fields of Alabama: Jesse and Joe 166

Jackie 171

In the Shadow of Jackie Robinson 175

Gentlepeople and Sanctimonious Hypocrites 177

The Baron and the Bear 180

10 Television Changes the Image of American Sports 185

The Formative Years of Sports Television 186

Tale of the Tube: Boxing 188

Professional Football Comes of Age 191

Pete and Roone 193

Super Sunday and Monday Night 196

ESPN: All Sports, All the Time 200

11 College Sports in the Modern Era 204

The Sanity Code Is Scuttled 205

Creation of a Cartel 206

Emphasis and De-Emphasis 207

Woody and the Bear 208

Criticism of Major College Sports 213

Revenue vs Reform: An Unresolved Contradiction 220

College Sports as Big Business 223

12 Play for Pay 227

A Tale of Two (Football) Cities 227

Urban Relocation, Redevelopment, and Promotion 230

The Economics of Organized Baseball 232

Baseball’s Labor Disputes 237

The Magic of Parity: The National Football League 240

The Wondrous World of Magic, Larry, and Michael 243

Always Turn Left: NASCAR Takes the Checkered Flag 247

Struggling To Be Major League 253

13 Do You Believe in Miracles? 255

The Cold War Shapes the Olympics 258

Television Transforms the Olympics 264

The Games Must Go On 268

To Boycott or Not To Boycott 271

The Triumph of Professionalism 273

Athens and Beyond 276

14 The Persistent Dilemma of Race 278

"I'm the Greatest" 280

Boycott, Backlash, and Beyond 284

Breakthrough: A New Era in American Sports 286

Hank Aaron Catches the Babe 293

Can White Men Jump? 295

Tiger 298

Sister Act: Venus and Serena 303

15 Playing Nice No Longer: Women's Sports, 1960–2010 308

Deceit and Deception: The NCAA and Gender Equity 309

Titanic Rivalry: Connecticut and Tennessee Basketball 314

Billie Jean Sparks a Revolution 319

Viva America! World Cup Winners 322

"You've Come a Long Way Baby!" Or Have You? 326

Title IX at Forty 328

16 "Only in America!" 331

Triumph of the Swoosh 332

The World of Jimmy the Greek 336

The Tragedy of Pete Rose 338

The Demise of Boxing 342

Iron Mike and the King of Boxing 344

Whatever It Takes 347

Under a Cloud: Barry Bonds Chases Hank Aaron 353

17 The Democratization of Sports 357

Community Cauldron: High School Sports 357

Youth Sports 361

Golf 's Golden Age: Arnie, the Super Mex, and the Golden Bear 366

The Comeback Kids 370

"Sidewalk Surfing" and the Rise of "X-treme" Sports 375

Epilogue 382

Notes 387

Index 407

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