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. 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...


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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This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

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The powerful story of a father’s past and a son’s future.

Atlantic senior writer Coates (The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood, 2008) offers this eloquent memoir as a letter to his teenage son, bearing witness to his own experiences and conveying passionate hopes for his son’s life. “I am wounded,” he writes. “I am marked by old codes, which shielded me in one world and then chained me in the next.” Coates grew up in the tough neighborhood of West Baltimore, beaten into obedience by his father. “I was a capable boy, intelligent and well-liked,” he remembers, “but powerfully afraid.” His life changed dramatically at Howard University, where his father taught and from which several siblings graduated. Howard, he writes, “had always been one of the most critical gathering posts for black people.” He calls it The Mecca, and its faculty and his fellow students expanded his horizons, helping him to understand “that the black world was its own thing, more than a photo-negative of the people who believe they are white.” Coates refers repeatedly to whites’ insistence on their exclusive racial identity; he realizes now “that nothing so essentialist as race” divides people, but rather “the actual injury done by people intent on naming us, intent on believing that what they have named matters more than anything we could ever actually do.” After he married, the author’s world widened again in New York, and later in Paris, where he finally felt extricated from white America’s exploitative, consumerist dreams. He came to understand that “race” does not fully explain “the breach between the world and me,” yet race exerts a crucial force, and young blacks like his son are vulnerable and endangered by “majoritarian bandits.” Coates desperately wants his son to be able to live “apart from fear—even apart from me.”

This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

Pub Date: July 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8129-9354-7

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Spiegel & Grau

Review Posted Online: May 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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