Sportswriter: The Life and Times of Grantland Rice / Edition 1

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1993 Hard cover 1st printing New in new dust jacket. bright shiny, brand new Sewn binding. Cloth over boards. 352 p. Audience: General/trade. 1st printing

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Overview


"Grantland Rice was the greatest man I have known," Red Smith once wrote. "The greatest talent, the greatest gentleman." Most of Rice's contemporaries would have shared this assessment. One of the most celebrated sportswriters of all time, it was Grantland Rice who immortalized Notre Dame's outstanding 1924 backfield as "The Four Horsemen," who nicknamed Red Grange "The Galloping Ghost," and who authored one of the most frequently quoted poetic couplets in all of sport: "For when the One Great Scorer comes to mark against your name, / He writes--not that you won or lost--but how you played the Game." But more important, if we see the 1920s and 1930s--the era of Jack Dempsey and Babe Ruth and Bobby Jones--as a Golden Age of Sport, it is in large part because Grant Rice saw them as golden, and conveyed this golden vision to millions of readers daily.
In Sportswriter, Charles Fountain provides the first full-length biography of Grantland Rice. This colorful, vividly narrated portrait ranges from Rice's childhood in Nashville, to his days as star athlete at Vanderbilt, to his first jobs in Atlanta, Nashville, and New York, to his prime as the most popular, most read sportswriter of his day, the dean of a remarkable group of 1920s writers that included Heywood Broun, Damon Runyon, Paul Gallico, and Ring Lardner. Fountain provides unforgettable portraits of Rice's extraordinarily wide range of friends, from cartoonist Rube Goldberg and columnist Franklin P. Adams, to sports legends Babe Ruth, Jack Dempsey, and Bobby Jones, to his closest friend, Ring Lardner, a man who was in many ways his opposite. We learn of Rice's staggering accomplishments as sportswriter, which included writing a column that appeared six days a week in over a hundred newspapers, selecting an All-America Football Team that was the All-America team for more than 20 years, editing The American Golfer, the leading golf magazine for over a decade, producing and narrating numerous film shorts, and in general publishing some 67 million words over a 53 year career. And as Fountain tells this story, he also provides memorable snapshots of American life: the small-town baseball teams at the turn of the century, the bustling newspaper world of New York City (at a time when there were 14 daily papers in New York, twelve on and around Park Row), and most of all, some of the great sporting events of all time, including the Dempsey-Willard heavyweight bout, the 1919 Black Sox World Series scandal, Bobby Jones's Grand Slam, and much more.
Here then is the colorful life and times of a man who loved sports--who loved the contests, loved the atmosphere, loved the camaraderie of the press box and of a passenger-train drawing room--and who loved sharing it all with the millions who read his work.

This colorful portrait ranges from Rice's childhood in Nashville to his days as a star athlete at Vanderbilt to his first jobs in Atlanta, Nashville, and New York. Filled with stories of Rice's many friends, including Babe Ruth, Ring Lardner, Damon Runyon, Jack Dempsey, and many others. Halftones.

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Editorial Reviews

Wes Lukowsky
Though Red Smith is often acknowledged as the father of modern sportswriting, Grantland Rice is certainly the grandfather. Certainly few journalists have ever wielded the influence of Rice. In this fascinating biography, author Fountain points out that if Rice were writing today in the same flowery, hyperbolic style he employed in the 1920s and 1930s, he would be buried on some obscure midwestern weekly covering high school sports. But that would be separating Rice from his time, and Rice was perfect for his era--the golden age of American sports during which Ruth, Cobb, Dempsey, Jones, Tilden, and Rockne were among the brightest stars. Rice's literate, dramatic prose ("Outlined against a blue-gray October sky, the Four Horsemen rode again") was perfect for a postwar America hungry for heroes. Besides the memorable lines (including sports' most oft-heard cliche: "when the one Great Scorer comes to mark against your name, he marks--not that you won or lost--but how you played the Game"), Rice's most enduring legacy may be the breadth of his interests. As Fountain point outs, Rice was among the first to write seriously of golf, track and field, and women's athletics. His interest in these sports was contagious, and the American public soon shared it. This is a thoroughly researched, well-written biography that offers a revealing portrait of both a man and his times.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195061765
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 11/11/1993
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 6.48 (w) x 9.53 (h) x 1.03 (d)

Meet the Author

About the Author:
Charles Fountain is Assistant Professor of Journalism at Northeastern University. A contributor to magazines and newspapers such as The Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, and Columbia Journalism Review, he is the author of Another Man's Poison: The Life and Writing of Columnist George Frazier.

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