New Books Network

Evander Lomke and Martin Rowe, “Right Off the Bat: Cricket, Baseball, Literature & Life” (Paul Dry Books, 2011)
Last spring’s Cricket World Cup was a major global event. Estimates of the television audience for the final matches ranged from 400 million to one billion, while the website ESPNcricinfo.com had an average audience, throughout the entire 43-day tournament, of 72,000 people per minute. But for most American sports fans,... Read More
Tony Collins, “A Social History of English Rugby Union” (Routledge, 2009)
Most modern sports have some creation myth that usually links them to an almost-sacred place of origin. Baseball has its Cooperstown. Golf its St. Andrews. Basketball its Springfield College. If you are a football fan, whether of the All Blacks or the Springboks, the Magpies or the Swans, the Longhorns... Read More
Todd Denault, “The Greatest Game: The Montreal Canadiens, the Red Army, and the Night that Saved Hockey” (McClelland & Stewart, 2010)
When sports fans list the greatest games, they talk about close contests, outstanding performances, and dramatic finishes. Think of game six of the 1975 World Series between the Red Sox and the Reds, or Boston College’s 47-45 win over the University of Miami in 1984, capped by Doug Flutie’s miraculous... Read More
Lee Congdon, “Baseball and Memory: Winning, Losing, and Remembrance of Things Past” (St. Augustine’s Press, 2011)
“Isn’t it funny?” once mused Buck O’Neil, the sage of Negro League baseball. “Everybody remembers going to their first baseball game with their father. They might not remember going to their first day of school, . . . or their first Thanksgiving dinner. But they always remember going to the... Read More
Don Van Natta, Jr., “Wonder Girl: The Magnificent Sporting Life of Babe Didrikson Zaharias” (Little, Brown, and Company, 2011)
My older daughter is twelve years old. Like many girls her age, she has spent countless hours on the soccer field. She has played volleyball and run cross-country at her school. She was the catcher for her Little League baseball team. Now she is taking up fencing. My daughter is... Read More
Michael Oriard, ” Brand NFL: Making and Selling America’s Favorite Sport” (UNC Press, 2010)
It is the summer of discontent for fans of the National Football League. What will they do if team owners and players cannot reach a labor agreement before the fall season? The satirists at The Onion have offered their speculations: fans of the Green Bay Packers will gather by the... Read More
Charles Clotfelter, “Big-Time College Sports in American Universities” (Cambridge University Press, 2011)
Corruption in big-time college sports recently claimed another victim: Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel. Once regarded as a paragon of integrity, Tressel is now seen as one more example of a coach who recruited star players and built a successful program with the benefit of illegal gifts from boosters.... Read More
Gavin Mortimer, “The Great Swim” (Walker Books, 2008)
I have the habit of reacting audibly when reading good works of non-fiction. Members of my household and strangers on airplanes have been startled by my hmms and huhs of surprise, my ews and ughs of disgust, and my wows of disbelief. I put my whole vocabulary of interjections to... Read More