Sports buffs will find Guridy’s explorations rewarding.



The Lone Star State’s transformative role in American sports, from football to tennis and beyond.

Guridy, a professor of history and African American Studies at Columbia, shows how, as with so much else in American popular culture, Texas has played an outsize part in the development of sports. He opens with a storied football game between the Don Shula–led Miami Dolphins and Bum Phillips’ Houston Oilers, a championship playoff dubbed the Super Bowl by Texas sports entrepreneur Lamar Hunt, who, in 1966, had brokered the merger of the National Football League and American Football League. With the assistance of ABC Sports, football grew to become the most popular sport in the U.S., surpassing baseball. It was a golden age, writes the author, in which, “fueled by a booming energy economy, a group of imaginative sports entrepreneurs teamed up with a host of talented athletes from the laboring classes to usher in an unprecedented era of inclusion and popularity.” That athletic labor would soon be sorted into superstars and plebes, with the vast bulk of the money going to a few elite players. Some of them were Black players who were finally allowed to play alongside Whites in Texas in the 1960s, with some of the credit for the end of Jim Crow going precisely to those sports entrepreneurs, who made cities such as San Antonio, Dallas, and Houston into sports powerhouses. Some of the innovations were less creditable: AstroTurf, for instance, “produced…more injuries to players who had the unpleasant experience of being crushed by head-knocking tackles on the concrete-like floor or who ripped up ligaments on zippered seams that stitched the carpet together.” Some were true improvements, however, including a “revolutionary event in the history of American sports,” namely the first match between professional tennis players who happened to be women, later capped off by the “Battle of the Sexes” between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs at the Astrodome. The author has a keen eye for turning and tipping points, and his lucid narrative serves his thesis well.

Sports buffs will find Guridy’s explorations rewarding.

Pub Date: March 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4773-2183-6

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Univ. of Texas

Review Posted Online: Oct. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2020

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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Thus the second most costly war in American history, whose “outcome seemed little short of a miracle.” A sterling account.


A master storyteller’s character-driven account of a storied year in the American Revolution.

Against world systems, economic determinist and other external-cause schools of historical thought, McCullough (John Adams, 2001, etc.) has an old-fashioned fondness for the great- (and not-so-great) man tradition, which may not have much explanatory power but almost always yields better-written books. McCullough opens with a courteous nod to the customary villain in the story of American independence, George III, who turns out to be a pleasant and artistically inclined fellow who relied on poor advice; his Westmoreland, for instance, was a British general named Grant who boasted that with 5,000 soldiers he “could march from one end of the American continent to the other.” Other British officers agitated for peace, even as George wondered why Americans would not understand that to be a British subject was to be free by definition. Against these men stood arrayed a rebel army that was, at the least, unimpressive; McCullough observes that New Englanders, for instance, considered washing clothes to be women’s work and so wore filthy clothes until they rotted, with the result that Burgoyne and company had a point in thinking the Continentals a bunch of ragamuffins. The Americans’ military fortunes were none too good for much of 1776, the year of the Declaration; at the slowly unfolding battle for control over New York, George Washington was moved to despair at the sight of sometimes drunk soldiers running from the enemy and of their officers “who, instead of attending to their duty, had stood gazing like bumpkins” at the spectacle. For a man such as Washington, to be a laughingstock was the supreme insult, but the British were driven by other motives than to irritate the general—not least of them reluctance to give up a rich, fertile and beautiful land that, McCullough notes, was providing the world’s highest standard of living in 1776.

Thus the second most costly war in American history, whose “outcome seemed little short of a miracle.” A sterling account.

Pub Date: June 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-7432-2671-2

Page Count: 656

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2005

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