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November 2018

The Day of Battle: The War in Sicily and Italy, 1943-1944 (Rick Atkinson, Henry Holt and Co., 2007, 817 pages)

Fine piece of writing.  

Finding originality in a World War II narrative is tough. Yet Rick Atkinson accomplishes both with The Day of Battle: The War in Sicily and Italy, 1943-1944. His previous work, An Army at Dawn, won the 2003 Pulitzer in history, but Atkinson has managed to set the bar even higher with his second installment in "The Liberation Trilogy." He descends upon each battlefield with rich historical perspective, tactical analysis, and chilling frontline observations. Cocksure Hollywood bravado is sparse, as Atkinson depicts soldiers fighting for honor, not glory. "We did it because we could not bear the shame of being less than the man beside us," explains one soldier's diary. "We fought because he fought; we died because he died."

 


Legendary Sports Writers of the Golden Age: Grantland Rice, Red Smith, Shirley Povich, and W. C. Heinz (Lee Congdon, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2017, 170 pages)

During the 1920s—the Golden Age of sports—sports writers gained their own recognition while covering such athletes as Babe Ruth, Bobby Jones, Jack Dempsey, and Red Grange. The top journalists of the era were the primary means by which fans learned about their favorite teams and athletes, and their popularity and importance in the sports world continued for decades.

Congdon details the lives and careers of four sports-writing greats and the iconic athletes and events they covered. Although these writers established themselves during the 1920s, their careers extended well into the decades that followed. They reported on Jesse Owens, Joe Louis, Sandy Koufax, Arnold Palmer, and many other stars from the 1920s and beyond. Lee Congdon examines not only the lives and careers of Rice, Smith, Povich, and Heinz, but the distinctive writing style that each of them developed. Taken together, these four writers lifted sports reporting to heights that it is unlikely to reach again.

This book brings to life the greatest era in sports history, as seen through the eyes of four legendary sports writers. Sports fans, historians, and those interested in sports journalism will all find this a fascinating and informative look at a time when the sports world was at its peak. 

 


Endzone: The Rise, Fall, and Return of Michigan Football (John U. Bacon, St. Martin's Press, 2016, 560 pages)

A must-read for University of Michigan football fans.  

Bacon has written for The Wall Street JournalTime magazine, the New York Times, and ESPN Magazine, among other publications, earning national honors. He is the author of several books on sports and business, including the New York Times bestsellers, Three and Out and Fourth and Long.