Rising Tide: Bear Bryant, Joe Namath, and Dixie's Last Quarter by Randy Roberts, Ed Krzemienski
The extraordinary story of how Coach Paul "Bear" Bryant and Joe Namath, his star quarterback at the University of Alabama, led the Crimson Tide to victory and transformed football into a truly national pastime.
During the bloodiest years of the civil rights movement, Bear Bryant and Joe Namath-two of the most iconic and controversial figures in American sports-changed the game of college football forever. Brilliantly and urgently drawn, this is the gripping account of how these two very different men-Bryant a legendary coach in the South who was facing a pair of ethics scandals that threatened his career, and Namath a cocky Northerner from a steel mill town in Pennsylvania-led the Crimson Tide to a national championship.
To Bryant and Namath, the game was everything. But no one could ignore the changes sweeping the nation between 1961 and 1965-from the Freedom Rides to the integration of colleges across the South and the assassination of President Kennedy. Against this explosive backdrop, Bryant and Namath changed the meaning of football. Their final contest together, the 1965 Orange Bowl, was the first football game broadcast nationally, in color, during prime time, signaling a new era for the sport and the nation.
Award-winning biographer Randy Roberts and sports historian Ed Krzemienski showcase the moment when two thoroughly American traditions-football and Dixie-collided. A compelling story of race and politics, honor and the will to win, RISING TIDE captures a singular time in America. More than a history of college football, this is the story of the struggle and triumph of a nation in transition and the legacy of two of the greatest heroes the sport has ever seen.
Randy Roberts is Distinguished Professor of History at Purdue University and the author of several books, most recently A Team for America: The Army-Navy Game That Rallied a Nation and Joe Louis: Hard Times Man. His earlier books include biographies of Jack Dempsey, Jack Johnson, and John Wayne; a history of American sports since 1945; and books on Charles Lindbergh, the Mike Tyson trial, and the Vietnam War. He lives in Lafayette, Indiana.
Ed Krzemienski is a historian of sports and popular culture. Born and raised in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, he has maintained close contact with Joe Namath and all of the people significant to Namath's life, including the Namath family as well as coaches and players from Beaver Falls High School. His uncle, Tom Krzemienski, was Namath's primary high school receiver and partner in all of his recruiting visits. He also served as primary consultant for HBO's Emmy-award winning documentary, Breaking the Huddle: The Integration of College Football, for which his manuscript on the subject served as a guide for production. He served in a similar capacity for HBO's documentaryNamath and previously appeared on ESPN's Sportscentury documentary installment on Namath. An expert on college football, he has written on the subject for numerous popular publications, including ESPN'sCollege Football Encyclopedia and ESPN's Big Ten Encyclopedia.
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