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THE SPORTS REVOLUTION

HOW TEXAS CHANGED THE CULTURE OF AMERICAN ATHLETICS

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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KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON

THE OSAGE MURDERS AND THE BIRTH OF THE FBI

Dogged original research and superb narrative skills come together in this gripping account of pitiless evil.

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Greed, depravity, and serial murder in 1920s Oklahoma.

During that time, enrolled members of the Osage Indian nation were among the wealthiest people per capita in the world. The rich oil fields beneath their reservation brought millions of dollars into the tribe annually, distributed to tribal members holding "headrights" that could not be bought or sold but only inherited. This vast wealth attracted the attention of unscrupulous whites who found ways to divert it to themselves by marrying Osage women or by having Osage declared legally incompetent so the whites could fleece them through the administration of their estates. For some, however, these deceptive tactics were not enough, and a plague of violent death—by shooting, poison, orchestrated automobile accident, and bombing—began to decimate the Osage in what they came to call the "Reign of Terror." Corrupt and incompetent law enforcement and judicial systems ensured that the perpetrators were never found or punished until the young J. Edgar Hoover saw cracking these cases as a means of burnishing the reputation of the newly professionalized FBI. Bestselling New Yorker staff writer Grann (The Devil and Sherlock Holmes: Tales of Murder, Madness, and Obsession, 2010, etc.) follows Special Agent Tom White and his assistants as they track the killers of one extended Osage family through a closed local culture of greed, bigotry, and lies in pursuit of protection for the survivors and justice for the dead. But he doesn't stop there; relying almost entirely on primary and unpublished sources, the author goes on to expose a web of conspiracy and corruption that extended far wider than even the FBI ever suspected. This page-turner surges forward with the pacing of a true-crime thriller, elevated by Grann's crisp and evocative prose and enhanced by dozens of period photographs.

Dogged original research and superb narrative skills come together in this gripping account of pitiless evil.

Pub Date: April 18, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-385-53424-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Feb. 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017

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NIGHT

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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