It’s that time of year when football is the talk of many towns and a sport publishers trot out their new wares for. What follows is a beginning sampling of some of the more interestingefforts.
“The Best American Sports Writing 2012” edited by Michael Wilbon (HMH, $14.95, 361 pages, paper) has a lot to recommend it - -and a couple of pieces that I have close connections to. As the author Tony Dorsett’s autobiography “Running Tough,” I was especially enthralled with S. I. Price’s piece on football in Aliquippa, Pa., where the young Tony learned his stuff. As the co-author along with my wife Myrna of “Basketball My Way” by Nancy Lieberman, I was especially interested in the Ben McGrath piece on Nancy as men’s basketball coach. These two and others make “The Best American Sports Writing 2012” live up to its claim in its title.
“Ten Gallon War” by John Eisenberg (HMH, $27.00, 308 pages) is an intriguing flashback to pro football history and the fight for dominance in the gridiron sports in Dallas. It was the Texans of the AFL versus the Cowboys of the NFL and the birth of the game in “Big D.” Like a street fight with an amazing cast of characters, this one is sure to entertain any sports fan.
From the University of Wisconsin comes “Alan Ameche” by Dan Manoyan (Terrace Books, University of Wisconsin Press, $26. 95, 279 pages).It was Ameche who catapulted Wisconsin into collegiate football’s big time as a Heisman Trophy winner for the Badgers. He continued with a brilliant pro career with the Baltimore Colts. A wonderful look back at football history and an insightful portrait of one of the game’s legends.
“Best of Rivals” by Adam Lazarus (DaCapo, $26.00, 304 pages) is a treat for Niner fans. It focuses via many interviews on as its sub-title proclaims “the Inside Story Behind the NFL’s Greatest Quarterback Controversy.” That might be press agent speak, but the book is worth the read – illuminating and engrossing.
From Kevin Cook comes “The Last Headbangers” (Norton, $26.95, 278 pages). The book is football history - - this time the seventies - a time of beyond head-slapping, a time of hard-hitting, rowdy and raunchy behavior. Painkillers, steroids and a sport on the ascent in more ways than one. If you want to re-live some it, this is the tome for you.
Finally, there is “Love’s Winning Plays” by Inman Majors (Norton, $25.95, 256 pages) a novel focused on the ups and downs of young Raymond Love, a coach valiantly attempting to navigate his way through his rookie year of coaching in the Southeastern Conference. Funny, appealing book.
“All In” (Abrams,$29.95, 128 pages)The New York Giants Official 2011 Season and Super Bowl Commemorative is a must for fans of the team.
Also from Abrams two more books from the “101 Reasons to Love”series – one on the Packers by David Green and the other by Ron Green, Jr.
All of these Abrams books are beautifully produced and targeted for specific fan bases, but what’s not to love here for all football fans?
My Remembering Yankee Stadium, Remembering Fenway, and New York City Baseball: The Last Golden Age have all been included in "501 Books Baseball Fans Must Read Before They Die."