A People's History of Sports in the United States: 250 Years of Politics, Protest, People, and Play
From the author Robert Lipsyte calls "the best young sportswriter in America," a rollicking, rebellious, myth-busting history of sports in America that puts politics in the ring with pop cultureIn this long-waited book from the rising superstar of sportswriting, whose blog Edge of Sports is read each week by thousands of people across the country, Dave Zirin offers a riotously entertaining chronicle of larger-than-life sporting characters and dramatic contests and what amounts to an alternative history of the United States as seen through the games its people played. Through Zirin's eyes, sports are never mere games, but a reflection of--and spur toward--the political conflicts that shape American society.
Half a century before Jackie Robinson was born, the black ballplayer Moses Fleetwood Walker brandished a revolver to keep racist fans at bay, then took his regular place in the lineup. In the midst of the Depression, when almost no black athletes were allowed on the U.S. Olympic team, athletes held a Counter Olympics where a third of the participants were African American.
A People's History of Sports in the United States is replete with surprises for seasoned sports fans, while anyone interested in history will be amazed by the connections Zirin draws between politics and pop flies. As Jeff Chang, author of Can't Stop Won't Stop, puts it, "After you read him, you'll never see sports the same way again."
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About the Author
Zirin (What's My Name, Fool!), writer of a politically minded online sports column, examines the intersection of sports and politics, chronicling the struggles of America's oppressed...
Sportswriter Zirin (Welcome to the Terrordome: The Pain, Politics, and Promise of Sports, 2007, etc.) looks through the eyes of the left at the political forces shaping the history of American sports....
[...] The most satisfying sections of A People's History of Sports remind us of such brave moments, and of the courage of Paul Robeson, who was persecuted by the House Un-American Activities Committee, and of Jackie Robinson, who, at Branch Rickey's urging, initially repudiated and attacked Robeson, but then grew wiser regarding "America's destructiveness." [...] -- Bill Littlefield "Contests and contentions" (12/28/2008)
[...] this sprawling, insightful and contrarian book is worth reading for its portrayal of the rebel athletes to whom it is dedicated, and to whom we are all indebted.
-- Alex Altman