Sports buffs will find Guridy’s explorations rewarding.

THE SPORTS REVOLUTION

HOW TEXAS CHANGED THE CULTURE OF AMERICAN ATHLETICS

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. 13, 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...

NIGHT

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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Basketball fans will enjoy Pippen’s bird’s-eye view of some of the sport’s greatest contests.

UNGUARDED

The Chicago Bulls stalwart tells all—and then some.

Hall of Famer Pippen opens with a long complaint: Yes, he’s a legend, but he got short shrift in the ESPN documentary about Michael Jordan and the Bulls, The Last Dance. Given that Jordan emerges as someone not quite friend enough to qualify as a frenemy, even though teammates for many years, the maltreatment is understandable. This book, Pippen allows, is his retort to a man who “was determined to prove to the current generation of fans that he was larger-than-life during his day—and still larger than LeBron James, the player many consider his equal, if not superior.” Coming from a hardscrabble little town in Arkansas and playing for a small college, Pippen enjoyed an unlikely rise to NBA stardom. He played alongside and against some of the greats, of whom he writes appreciatively (even Jordan). Readers will gain insight into the lives of characters such as Dennis Rodman, who “possessed an unbelievable basketball IQ,” and into the behind-the-scenes work that led to the Bulls dynasty, which ended only because, Pippen charges, the team’s management was so inept. Looking back on his early years, Pippen advocates paying college athletes. “Don’t give me any of that holier-than-thou student-athlete nonsense,” he writes. “These young men—and women—are athletes first, not students, and make up the labor that generates fortunes for their schools. They are, for lack of a better term, slaves.” The author also writes evenhandedly of the world outside basketball: “No matter how many championships I have won, and millions I have earned, I never forget the color of my skin and that some people in this world hate me just because of that.” Overall, the memoir is closely observed and uncommonly modest, given Pippen’s many successes, and it moves as swiftly as a playoff game.

Basketball fans will enjoy Pippen’s bird’s-eye view of some of the sport’s greatest contests.

Pub Date: Nov. 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-982165-19-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2021

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