Sports in American Life: A History / Edition 1

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This richly documented book traces the evolution of American sports from the colonial period to the present, when sports have become fully integrated into the political, social, cultural, and economic fabric of the nation. The narrative is organized around the argument that sports have been a significant social force throughout much of the history of the United States, providing Americans with a venue in which major cultural and social issues have been debated, contested, and, in some notable instances, resolved. Extensively illustrated and accessibly written, this text is ideal for undergraduate courses in sports history.

About the Author:
Richard O. Davies is University Foundation Professor of History at the University of Nevada, Reno

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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: 9781405106474
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 1/8/2007
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 512
  • Product dimensions: 7.70 (w) x 10.00 (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     xv
Acknowledgments     xxi
Games the Colonists Played     1
The English Heritage     2
The Commoners at Play     3
The Games of the English Gentry     7
The Puritan Reaction     8
Games in Colonial New England     10
Games of the Southern Elite     14
Sporting Life of the Colonial Working Class     17
The Revolutionary Era     19
The Emergence of Organized Sports, 1815-60     21
Sports in the Early National Period     22
The Democratization of Racing: the Trotters     25
Racing by Land and Sea     27
The Formative Years of Prizefighting     31
Baseball: the Creation of "America's Game"     37
"This Noble and Envigorating Game"     42
The Early Professional Era     44
Henry Chadwick and a Game of Numbers     47
Growing Pains     49
Early Years of the Professional Game     52
Emergence of the Modern Game     56
The 1880s: A Decade of Rancor     58
The Formative Years of College Football     62
The Early Years of College Athletics     63
Football American Style     64
Yale and the Creation of Football     66
Football Moves West     71
Football As Spectacle     74
Football in Crisis     77
Sports and the Emergence of Modern America, 1865-1920     83
Boxing Enters the Mainstream     84
Sports and Social Class     90
The Early Years of Women's Sports     95
Strong Bodies and Devout Souls     98
America's Greatest Athlete     102
Organized Play for the Modern Era     105
Interscholastic Sports     107
Baseball Ascendant, 1890-1930     109
The 1890s: Years of Discord     110
Ban Johnson and the American League     112
The Cyclone and the Georgia Peach     114
Calling the Shots: the Manager     118
The Federal League Challenge     120
Crisis: Gamblers Fix the World Series of 1919     122
The Babe     126
Baseball's Golden Age     130
'An Evil to be Endured," Sports on Campus, 1920-50     134
The Essential Myth of Big-Time College Athletics     135
Football: Driving the Bus     138
Football's Golden Age: the Twenties      139
Knute Rockne and the Making of Notre Dame Football     143
The Second Challenge to Big-Time Football     147
"Playing Nice ": the Demise of Women's Athletics     151
Hoop Dreams     155
Hoop Nightmares     158
Sports in an Age of Ballyhoo, Depression, and War, 1920-45     161
Gee-Whiz: Sports Journalism During the 1920s     162
Heroes for a Heroic Age     165
Boxing Becomes Respectable     171
Babe: the Texas Tomboy     175
Baseball's Long Slump     181
Seabiscuit: Sports Star for the Depression Era     187
Baseball During the War Years     190
America's Great Dilemma     193
Racism Shapes American Sports     194
The "Fight of the Century"     196
Separate and Unequal: the Negro Leagues     199
Out of the Cotton Fields of Alabama: Jesse and Joe     204
Jackie     210
In the Shadow of Jackie Robinson     215
Gentlepeople and Sanctimonious Hypocrites     218
The Baron and the Bear     221
Television Changes the Face of American Sports     228
The Formative Years of Sports Television     229
Tale of the Tube: Boxing     232
Professional Football Comes of Age     235
Pete and Roone     238
The NFL and the AFL Make Peace     242
Super Sunday and Monday Night     242
ESPN: All Sports, All the Time     246
College Sports in the Modern Era     252
The Sanity Code Is Scuttled     253
Creation of a Cartel     254
Emphasis and De-Emphasis     256
Woody and the Bear     258
Deceit and Deception: the NCAA and Gender Equity     263
Criticism of Major College Sports     270
Television and the Triumph of Commercialized College Sports     277
The Knight Commission Report     280
Play For Pay     283
A Tale of Two (Football) Cities     283
Urban Rivalry, Redevelopment, and Promotion     286
The Travails of Baseball     289
Baseball's Labor Disputes     294
Reaping the Spoils: the NFL and the World of Parity     298
The Wondrous World of Magic, Larry, and Michael     304
Always Turn Left: NASCAR Takes the Checkered Flag     309
Struggling Ta Be Major League     316
Do You Believe in Miracles?     317
The Cold War Shapes the Olympics     321
Television Transforms the Olympics     329
The Games Must Go On     334
To Boycott or Not To Boycott     338
The Triumph of Professionalism     343
Athens and Beyond     345
The Persistent Dilemma of Race     348
'Im the Greatest"     350
Boycott, Backlash and Beyond     355
A New Era in Race Relations     357
Hank Aaron Catches the Babe     362
Can White Men Jump?     364
Tiger     368
Sister Act: Venus and Serena     372
"Only In America!"     378
Triumph of the Swoosh     380
The World of Jimmy the Greek     384
The Tragedy of Pete Rose     388
The Demise of Boxing     391
Whatever It Takes     398
Under a Cloud: Barry Bonds Chases Hank Aaron     406
The Democratization of Sports     410
Community Cauldron: High School Sports     410
Conflicting Views of Youth Sports     416
Golf's Golden Age: Arnie, the Super Mex, and the Golden Bear     423
Billie Jean Sparks a Revolution     430
The Comeback Kids     434
Viva America! America's Soccer Women     438
Epilogue     442
Notes     448
Index     473
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