The Kingdom of Golf in America by Richard J. Moss, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
The Kingdom of Golf in America

The Kingdom of Golf in America

by Richard J. Moss
     
 

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For golf’s true enthusiasts, the game is far more—and far more complex—than a simple hobby, commodity, or slice of the sports industry. It is a physical and mental place to be, a community. It has a history, a hierarchy, laws, a language, and a literature. And in Richard J. Moss, it has a chronicler.

From its beginnings in the northeastern

Overview

For golf’s true enthusiasts, the game is far more—and far more complex—than a simple hobby, commodity, or slice of the sports industry. It is a physical and mental place to be, a community. It has a history, a hierarchy, laws, a language, and a literature. And in Richard J. Moss, it has a chronicler.

From its beginnings in the northeastern United States in the 1880s, golf has seen its popularity, and its fortunes, wax and wane, affected by politics and economics, reflecting tensions between aristocratic and democratic impulses. The Kingdom of Golf in America traces these ups and downs, ins and outs, in the growth of golf as a community. Moss describes the development of the private club and public course and the impact of wealth and the consumer culture on those who play golf and those who watch. He shows that factors like race, gender, technology, suburbanization, and the transformation of the South that shaped the nation also shaped golf. The result is a unique, and uniquely entertaining, work of cultural history that shows us golf as a community whose story resonates far beyond the confines of the course.

Editorial Reviews

Wall Street Journal - Henry Allen

"[Richard J. Moss's] own love for the game is infectious."—Henry Allen, Wall Street Journal
Wisconson Golfer - Dennis McCann

"A historian specializes in the past, but Moss casts a sharp eye on the game's future as well and his conclusion is sobering."—Dennis McCann, Wisconson Golfer
Orin Starn

“Richard J. Moss is the leading historian of golf in America. A scratch golfer as well as a crack scholar, Moss brings his clear yet sympathetic and deeply knowledgeable eye to this very fine new book. The Kingdom of Golf in America is the best study we have yet of golf’s by turns snobby, democratic, and in any event surprisingly large place in the fabric of American life.”—Orin Starn, author of The Passion of Tiger Woods
Jim Dodson

“Any book by historian [Richard] Moss is a reason for celebration, especially when the subject is golf, a game he understands far better than most. With The Kingdom of Golf in America Moss has provided a richly detailed and brilliantly nuanced account of the game’s social growth in America, must (and delightful) reading for anyone who wants to understand how golf got into the bloodstream of a community and a nation. He beautifully reveals the scope of our enduring love affair with life’s most complex and social game. Bravo.”—James Dodson, author of Final Rounds and American Triumvirate: Sam Snead, Byron Nelson, Ben Hogan, and the Modern Age of Golf
Library Journal
Moss (history, emeritus, Colby Coll.; Golf and the American Country Club) here presents what is effectively a social history of golf stateside, his premise being that golf has engendered a kind of community in America, i.e., a "kingdom," with its own rich history. To support this premise, he covers U.S. golf from its beginnings including the emergence of courses and country clubs, the rise of the golf professional and tournaments, the evolving of equipment, and the personalities associated with the sport. While this is largely a conventional third-person history, when relevant, Moss clearly indicates where his own opinion diverges from those of others. VERDICT As a social history of golf, the book succeeds. The premise of golf as a community, however, needs further development. The book would have benefited from a more sociological approach, such as that taken by Robert D. Putnam in his Bowling Alone. While a number of titles deal with the individual elements covered in this book, Moss's work covers a broader swath. This is an ideal library book in that golfers may wish to read it once but would not necessarily feel a need to keep it in their own collections.—Steven Silkunas, North Wales, PA
Kirkus Reviews
Moss (History, Emeritus/Colby Coll.; Eden in the Pines: A History of Pinehurst Village, 2005, etc.) presents a study of golf's development in the United States. In this painstakingly thorough review of the history of golf in America, the author categorizes it as a community, consisting not just of those at the top--the professionals and executives who control golf organizations--but also the millions who play, either on private or public courses throughout the country, as well as spectators of the professional game. This idea of a community, one of many such that formed in response to the upheavals and modernizations of the 20th century, is one of several themes Moss develops as he traces the sport's evolution from a pastime of American nobility, imported from Scotland in the late 1800s, to a significant part of today's cultural landscape. Others include the game's ever-present, often class-based dichotomies: private versus public, professional versus amateur, and "snobs versus slobs" (Caddyshack). The author also covers gender and race, perennial hot-button topics for the sport, as well as the impact of technology, including not only equipment, but, just as important, the rise of the automobile and, later, the golf cart and TV. As one would expect from a historian, the author provides detailed information from period sources and locates developments within the social, cultural and political context of their time. Though Moss includes stories of noteworthy individuals and events, his emphasis on facts and historical analysis rather than narrative makes the reading experience a bit more like playing from the rough and hazards than an easy stroll from fairway to green, and Moss' occasional inclusion of a first-person aside adds to the feel of listening to a college lecture. A valuable survey of U.S. golf history, but a bit too dry and academic for casual readers.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780803244825
Publisher:
UNP - Nebraska
Publication date:
06/01/2013
Pages:
400
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.30(d)

What People are saying about this

Orin Starn

“Richard J. Moss is the leading historian of golf in America. A scratch golfer as well as a crack scholar, Moss brings his clear yet sympathetic and deeply knowledgeable eye to this very fine new book. The Kingdom of Golf in America is the best study we have yet of golf’s by turns snobby, democratic, and in any event surprisingly large place in the fabric of American life.”—Orin Starn, author of The Passion of Tiger Woods
Jim Dodson

“Any book by historian [Richard] Moss is a reason for celebration, especially when the subject is golf, a game he understands far better than most. With The Kingdom of Golf in America Moss has provided a richly detailed and brilliantly nuanced account of the game’s social growth in America, must (and delightful) reading for anyone who wants to understand how golf got into the bloodstream of a community and a nation. He beautifully reveals the scope of our enduring love affair with life’s most complex and social game. Bravo.”—James Dodson, author of Final Rounds and American Triumvirate: Sam Snead, Byron Nelson, Ben Hogan, and the Modern Age of Golf

Meet the Author


Richard J. Moss is John J. and Cornelia V. Gibson Professor of History (emeritus) at Colby College and the author of Golf and the American Country Club and Eden in the Pines: A History of Pinehurst Village.
 

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