New Books Network

Roy MacGregor, “Wayne Gretzky’s Ghost: And Other Tales from a Lifetime in Hockey” (Random House Canada, 2011)
For years, the morning skate was a Christmas Day ritual for my father and me.After the presents had been unwrapped and before the morning service, my dad and I walked to the nearby city park and took to the ice. We’d take a few runs down the empty rink, trading... Read More
Andrew Ritchie, “Quest for Speed: A History of Early Bicycle Racing 1868-1903” (Cycle Publishing, 2011)
As several guests on this podcast have told us, sports have been fundamentally connected with the major developments of modern history: urbanization, class conflict, imperialism, political repression, globalization. The history of bicycle racing brings in another key ingredient of the modern age: technology. The sport began only with the invention... Read More
Adrian Burgos, Jr., “Cuban Star: How One Negro-League Owner Changed the Face of Baseball” (Hill and Wang, 2011)
The integration of baseball is most often cast in terms of black and white, but biographer Adrian Burgos, Jr.— a professor at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign– is out to change that. In his new biography, entitled Cuban Star: How One Negro-League Owner Changed the Face of Baseball (Hill and... Read More
Dennis Frost, “Seeing Stars: Sports Celebrity, Identity, and Body Culture in Modern Japan” (Harvard UP, 2011)
In the celebrity firmament that circles around us, sports stars are among the brightest lights. Kobe, Tiger, Messi, Márta, Sachin, and Serena can be recognized from most points on the globe.But other stars are visible only in certain lands: Yuna Kim, Barbora Strycova, Sebastien Chabal, Andres Guardado, Israel Folau, Buster... Read More
Randy Roberts, “Joe Louis: Hard Times Man” (Yale UP, 2010)
“I’m sure if it wasn’t for Joe Louis,” acknowledged Jackie Robinson, “the color line in baseball would not have been broken for another ten years.” To Muhammad Ali, Joe Louis was an inspiration and an idol. “I just give lip service to being the greatest,” said Ali in 1981, after... Read More
The New Books in Sports 2011 Year-End Book List
I am a fan of the end-of-the-year, double-size issues of magazines–full of photographs, lists of the best and worst of the year, notable quotes, and vignettes about the year’s events. This week’s podcast follows in the spirit of those year-end special issues. The episode is thicker than usual, but it... Read More
Andrei Markovits, “Gaming the World: How Sports Are Shaping Global Politics and Culture” (Princeton UP, 2010)
“We live in the age of globalization, with the interconnection of markets, technology, and cultures making the world a smaller place.” Sure.Tell that to the guys on my local sports radio show. For them, the world is bounded by the Big Ten and the North Division of the National Football... Read More