An entertaining look at an emblematic figure of college football’s early days.



Mitchell (Hornets Never Lie, 1989) delivers a football-focused biography of Douglas “Peahead” Walker, a vibrant coach from the nascent days of big-time college football.

Mitchell starts with Walker’s early 1900s upbringing in Alabama and subsequent high school athletic achievements, starring as a quarterback and a shortstop. From there, Walker plays for a number of collegiate football teams (eligibility rules were a little more lax back then) and plays in and manages semipro baseball leagues across the East Coast. With his playing skills on the decline, Walker took a job in the early 1920s coaching at Atlantic Christian College, building a small athletic program—across three sports—into a team that could punch far above its weight class. Walker continued on to Elon University, finding similar success, before moving in the late 1930s to Wake Forest University, where he became famous. Against bigger and better-funded rivals such as Duke or the University of North Carolina, Walker was able to build his team into a perennial contender that garnered national attention though never quite broke through for a conference championship. After a somewhat acrimonious split with Wake Forest, Walker had a brief stop coaching at Yale before moving, strangely enough, to Montreal to coach the Canadian Football League’s Alouettes. The book abounds with details gleaned from Mitchell’s extensive interviewing and research, with illuminating looks at each one of Walker’s many stops. Especially interesting are the effects of the Great Depression and World War II on Walker’s program-building efforts. The biography focuses on the many humorous Walker stories and anecdotes—most only half-true—giving the book a light, conversational tone. Football fans will love the many factoids about the early days of the game, while less interested readers may grow tired of the game-by-game recapping of nearly every season that Walker coached.

An entertaining look at an emblematic figure of college football’s early days.

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-61846-019-6

Page Count: 476

Publisher: Library Partners Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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