Muck City: Winning and Losing in Football’s Forgotten Town

Bryan Mealer. Crown Archetype, $25 (336p) ISBN 978-0-307-88862-4
Drawing comparisons to the 1990 bestseller Friday Night Lights, this football narrative chronicles the evolution of high school football in Belle Glade, Fla.—among the poorest communities in the U.S. and defined by the fertile black silt that helped build a sugarcane-farming empire. The city, populated predominantly by African-Americans and Hispanics, is home to Glades Central High School, an academic underachiever whose football team has sent more than 30 players to the NFL since 1985. Mealer (The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind) followed the 2010 Raiders in pursuit of a record-breaking seventh state championship and introduces readers to Kelvin Benjamin, an agile six-foot-six receiver nicknamed “the beautiful freak” who is rabidly pursued by college recruiters; former migrant worker–turned–NFL receiver Jessie Hester, who returns to coach his alma mater at a critical juncture in the program’s storied history; and orphan Mario Rowley, an overweight quarterback who (like most Raiders) considers football his only means to escape the persistent presence of gunfire, drugs, and AIDS. Mealer recounts Belle Glade’s colorful history, reports from living rooms and locker rooms, and perfectly captures the area’s distinct dialect. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 07/23/2012
Release date: 10/23/2012
Paperback - 344 pages - 978-0-307-88863-1
Open Ebook - 218 pages - 978-0-307-88864-8
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