A History of American Sports in 100 Objects

A History of American Sports in 100 Objects

Book - 2016
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Beautifully designed and carefully curated, a fascinating collection of the things that shaped the way we live and play in America
What artifact best captures the spirit of American sports? The bat Babe Ruth used to hit his allegedly called shot, or the ball on which Pete Rose wrote, "I'm sorry I bet on baseball"? Could it be Lance Armstrong's red-white-and-blue bike, now tarnished by doping and hubris? Or perhaps its ancestor, the nineteenth-century safety bicycle that opened an avenue of previously unknown freedom to women? The jerseys of rivals Larry Bird and Magic Johnson? Or the handball that Abraham Lincoln threw against a wall as he waited for news of his presidential nomination?

From nearly forgotten heroes like Tad Lucas (rodeo) and Tommy Kono (weightlifting) to celebrities like Amelia Earhart, Muhammad Ali, and Michael Phelps, Cait Murphy tells the stories of the people, events, and things that have forged the epic of American sports, in both its splendor and its squalor. Stories of heroism and triumph rub up against tales of discrimination and cheating. These objects tell much more than just stories about great games-they tell the story of the nation. Eye-opening and exuberant, A History of American Sports in 100 Objects shows how the games Americans play are woven into the gloriously infuriating fabric of America itself.
Publisher: New York : Basic Books, [2016]
ISBN: 9780465097746
Branch Call Number: 796.0973 MURPHY
Characteristics: x, 371 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm

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MT60
Apr 21, 2017

Pleasant surprise that out of the 100 stories, two are about Olympic weightlifters - one widely considered the world's greatest all-time (Tommy Kono), and one who was a victim in the Munich Olympics massacre (David Berger). Kudos to author Murphy for including those chapters concerning a sport that the US dominated in the 1950s but has fallen far from public consciousness since then. Every other chapter to which I randomly opened was fascinating as well. Starting with artifacts is an interesting approach to chronicling sports and social history. Especially captivated by the chapters on bicycle development, jockey Isaac Murphy, rodeo star Tad Lucas, tennis player Arthur Ashe, and runner Kathrine Switzer.

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