This is a fascinating look at the sporting events that have “altered the American psyche,” a history of American sports not in terms of individual players or teams or games themselves but how they “affected America and sometimes its place in the world.” Sportswriter and popular-culture historian Gitlin (The Greatest College Football Rivalries of All Time) examines how matters of race and sex have been at the heart of some of the great sporting events in the nation’s history. His look at the famous 1938 fight between Joe Louis and Max Schmeling, for example, is both excellent boxing reporting and an insightful depiction of how the bout “exposed the Nazi racial theory for the sham that it was and provided a reason for white and black American to celebrate.” Gitlin expertly digs below the surface of each events, whether he’s analyzing the national impact of Babe Ruth’s trade from the Boston Red Sox to the New York Yankees, explaining Bernice R. Sandler’s fight to implement Title IX of the Civil Rights Act, or describing the friendship between basketball legends Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 03/06/2017 Release date: 04/01/2017 Genre: Nonfiction
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