Sports Biblio

The Imagination Of Sports In Books, History And Culture

Fall 2017 Sports Books Part 4: The Sports Biblio Review Guide

This the Fall 2017 Sports Books Part 4 installment of newly published (or forthcoming) titles from around the world of sports.

Sports in American Life, Richard O. Davies, Fall 2017 Sports Books Part 4Included in this post are books about the 1967 World Series, a female Olympian’s memoir,  the birth of the Notre Dame-USC rivalry and a lavishly illustrated history of the art of the early years of gridiron football.

A total of 50 books are included in this guide, covering 10 titles in each post. Among the other book subjects in this series are a new biography of Muhammad Ali, sportswriting anthologies, the 1947 World Series and New Zealand’s rugby All-Blacks during World War I.

This list will be updated, and it is arranged in alphabetical order by title. If you’d like to suggest a book for inclusion that you don’t see here, or that is publishing later this year, please contact me at I also will be compiling a November-December guide as the Christmas shopping season isn’t far away.

Here’s are the Fall 2017 Sports Books Part 4 titles. Happy reading!

The Love of Baseball: Essays by Lifelong Fans, edited by Chris Arvidson and Diana Nelson Jones (McFarland Publishing), Sept. 15

The names won’t be familiar to readers since they’re everyday baseball fans whose passion for the game is reflected in this collection of 29 essays, by contributors who come from the world of writing, teaching, art, film, journalism, business and the ministry.  The subjects include the Cubs, Pete Rose, black baseball, being a Yankees fan during the Horace Clark years, the House of David baseball team.  Link: Marty Lurie Podcast

My Olympic Life: A Memoir, by Anita DeFrantz with Josh Young (Klipspringer Press), Oct. 17My Olympic Life, Anita De Frantz

A rowing bronze medalist at the Montreal Olympics, DeFrantz traces her beginnings as an African-American in a largely white sport all the way to her long-time service as a member of the International Olympic Committee. A lawyer and executive with the LA 84 Foundation, she discusses issues of race and gender in the Olympic movement and her advocacy in using sports for positive social change. Link: 3 Wire Sports

National Pastime: U.S. History Through Baseball, by Martin C. Babicz and Thomas W. Zeiler (Rowman & Littlefield), Oct. 19

Two historians at the University of Colorado who specialize in baseball history use that lens to describe changes in the American past. They begin with baseball in de Tocqueville’s America, traverse through the labor and Progressive movements, the Black Sox scandal and Babe Ruth, the Depression and the rise of the Negro Leagues, Jackie Robinson and the post-World War II boom. The book includes a bibliographic essay at the end.

The New Boys of Summer, Paul HenslerThe New Boys of Summer: Baseball’s Radical Transformation in the Late Sixties, by Paul Hensler (Rowman & Littlefield), Oct. 6

Domestic and racial issues, the war in Vietnam and other cultural unrest of the time changed America, and baseball was no exception. As the major leagues were expanding and the business of baseball was growing, Marvin Miller became the head of the players’ union. Curt Flood’s failed bid to end the game’s reserve clause eventually paid off in the 1970s, when baseball free agency was established for a generation of players affected by larger social developments in America. Author website

The Perfect Pass: American Genius and the Reinvention of Football, by S.C. Gwynne (Scribner), Sept. 5

The newly issued paperback version of a celebrated look at American football through the art of the forward pass, as practiced by two formerly obscure coaches. Hal Mumme and Mike Leach brought their swashbuckling, pass-happy styles to the power conferences of college football, hardly without the usual pedigrees, and with varying degrees of success. While Mumme flamed out at Kentucky, Leach continues at Washington State after his controversial ouster at Texas Tech.

Links: NY Journal of Books | Corn Nation | Jackson Clarion-Ledger

Sports Biblio’s Fall 2017 Sports Books Preview Guide

• Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 

Rockne and Jones:  Notre Dame, USC, and the Greatest Rivalry of the Roaring Twenties, by Thomas Rupp (Kent State University Press/Black Squirrel Books), Sept. 1

The barnstorming reality of Notre Dame football led Rockne to play any team, anywhere, and in the 1920s Knute Rockne and Howard Harding Jones planted the seeds for one of college football’s signature games. They had contrasting personalities that impacted their differing styles of play. Those formative years of the rivalry are explored by Rupp, an artist and first-time author and member of the Intercollegiate Football Researchers Association.The Spirit of '67, Thomas Whalen

Spirit of ’67: The Cardiac Kids, El Birdos and the World Series That Captivated America, by Thomas Whalen (Rowman & Littlefield), Aug. 31

The Red Sox and Cardinals staged a classic during troubling times in America, with plenty of colorful characters in the dugout and away from the diamond. Although Boston lost the series, getting there ignited the baseball passions of a region after decades of futility. As Red Sox catcher Gary Bell recalls in the book, “How many people ever do anything that makes so many people happy?”

Sports in American Life: A History, 3rd edition, by Richard O. Davies (Wiley-Blackwell), Oct. 9

This paperback update of Davies’ comprehensive and lauded book, first published in 2007, and revised in 2012 and 2016, includes concussions caused by contact sports and new biographies of John Wooden and Joe Paterno. A retired University of Nevada at Reno historian, Davies goes all the way back to pre-Colonial times, in the early 1600s, to illustrate American’s unique sports continuum. Review: U.S. Sport History

The Art of Football, Michael OriardThe Art of Football: The Early Game in the Golden Age of Illustration, by Michael Oriard (University of Nebraska Press), Aug. 1

The former Notre Dame and NFL player turned academic continues his media-focused history of the formative stages of American football. Nearly 200 color and black and white photographs and illustrations are included, featuring the gridiron-themed work of Homer Winslow, Charles Dana Gibson, George Bellows and other artistic luminaries of the late 1800s. A perfect companion to Oriard’s 1993 “Reading Football,” an examination of the sport’s growing popularity through the printed press.

Thursday Night Lights: The Story of Black High School Football in Texas, by Michael Hurd (University of Texas Press), Oct. 11

Jim Crow laws prevented some of the best high school football players in Texas from playing on the biggest stage in the game, as most all-black teams were forced to compete on Thursday nights. Yet until the prep scene was integrated in 1967, the state produced some of the best players of any race in Mean Joe Greene, Otis Taylor, Night Train Lane and Bubba Smith. They went on to college and NFL fame as America began to tear down the walls of segregation. Hurd, a director of the Texas Black History Preservation Project, recounts the Prairie View Interscholastic League and the legendary Houston rivalry between Yates and Wheatley high schools.

Coming Up in Part 5: A global tour of women’s soccer; the All-Blacks during World War I; Bob Gibson and Denny McLain; black athletes and the Civil Rights movement.

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