HORNS, HOGS, AND NIXON COMING: Texas vs. Arkansas in Dixie's Last Stand

Terry Frei, Author . Simon & Schuster $25 (352p) ISBN 978-0-7432-2447-5

Sportswriter Frei's first book is a decent account of the December 1969 gridiron clash between the Texas Longhorns and the Arkansas Razorbacks, a dramatic, all-white affair played out before Pres. Richard Nixon and a war-torn American public, and often considered the finest game in the history of college football. Frei, a reporter for the Denver Post, covers all the bases in a wistful, sepia-toned "when it was a game" vehicle that has become the male version of the chick flick: translucent irony, fleeting ethical conundrums, black and white (sometimes literally) views of right and wrong, reverence for authority figures and a nod and a wink's worth of boys-will-be-boys lead up to the "Big Shootout" (as the game was later dubbed), complete with a healthy amount of blood, guts and glory. The author does his best to invoke the atmosphere of two very different Southern college towns during that turbulent juncture in American history (down to the Neil Young reference in the title). He's mostly successful, although the subtitle promises far more analysis of the dying days of segregation than Frei delivers. One shortcoming: the overuse of pointed if tacit connections, most notably Pres. Bill Clinton's relationship to Arkansas, the ROTC and his clumsy avoidance of the war in Vietnam. While Frei fills his narrative with descriptions of interrelated smalltown events and people in Fayetteville, Ark., bringing Clinton into the picture does nothing to advance the story. Still, Frei's target audience—fans of Southern college football—will enjoy this history. (Dec.)

Reviewed on: 10/14/2002
Release date: 11/01/2002
Open Ebook - 352 pages - 978-0-7432-3865-6
Paperback - 343 pages - 978-1-58979-129-9
Open Ebook - 352 pages - 978-1-4616-2591-9
Paperback - 360 pages - 978-1-5011-3633-7
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