New Books Network

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
Chuck Korr, “More Than Just a Game–Soccer vs. Apartheid: The Greatest Soccer Story Ever Told” (Thomas Dunne Books, 2010)
Chances are, if you were one of the 700 million people who watched the 2010 World Cup, you likely heard mention of the soccer games that prisoners on Robben Island played during the decades of apartheid rule. The stories of these soccer matches on the barren island, played by political... Read More
Kurt Kemper, “College Football and American Culture in the Cold War Era” (University of Illinois Press, 2009)
When we think of sports and the Cold War, what typically comes to mind are steroid-fueled East German swimmers, or the Soviets’ controversial basketball win at the Munich games, or Mike Eruzione’s game-winning goal in 1980 (or Paul Henderson’s goal in 1972, if you’re so inclined). What we don’t think... Read More
Erik Jensen, “Body by Weimar: Athletes, Gender, and German Modernity” (Oxford UP, 2010)
Here’s a simple–or should we say simplistic?–line of political reasoning: communities are made of people; people can either be sick or healthy; communities, therefore, are sick or healthy depending on the sickness or health of their people. This logic is powerful. It explains success: “We lost the war because we,... Read More