The Most Winning Sportswriting

Article by Jeremy

In our era of 24/7 sports coverage, we sometimes forget that great sportswriting can elevate such reportage to the level of literature. No matter the game, the best sportswriters find an aspect of the spectacle that goes well beyond the boundaries of the arena, elucidating historical, political, cultural, personal, or even spiritual truths that explain the reasons we take our play so seriously. Here are some championship suggestions to peruse the next time you visit our shop!

At the Fights: American Writers on Boxing: A Library of America Special Publication Cover Image
By Various, Colum McCann (Foreword by), George Kimball (Editor)
ISBN: 9781598532050
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Library of America - August 30th, 2012

Boxing is the most dramatic of sports, and this stellar collection of writing on the sweet science contains contributions from several undisputed literary heavyweights. Some of the highlights include Jack London’s infamous piece on the Johnson-Jeffries heavyweight championship bout in which he coined the phrase “The Great White Hope”; Richard Wright’s powerful analysis of Joe Louis’ importance to black America well before the rise of the civil rights movement; an excerpt from Norman Mailer’s monumental book on Ali vs Foreman, The Fight; and Joyce Carol Oates’ insightful essay on the effect Mike Tyson’s rape conviction had on boxing and popular sports in general.

American Pastimes: The Very Best of Red Smith: A Library of America Special Publication Cover Image
By Red Smith, Daniel Okrent (Editor)
ISBN: 9781598532173
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Library of America - May 16th, 2013

Red Smith was the king of sports journalism, and to this day his influence on the medium is undeniable. This “best of” collection gathers all of his most historic columns---“masterpieces in miniature”---that display Smith’s singular ability to capture both legendary sports moments and the characters of the greatest athletes of all time. AMERICAN PASTIMES is not just a compendium of sportswriting, it is a literary history of modern American sports.

Death in the Afternoon Cover Image
ISBN: 9780684801452
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Scribner Book Company - April 16th, 1996

Hemingway’s classic meditation on bullfighting is everything you’d expect from Papa. Excellent, chiseled prose that lets the inherent brutality and beauty of the Spanish sport shine through on every page. In this master’s hands, bullfighting transcends mere sport, becoming a metaphor for life itself. A fascinating look at a controversial cultural ritual that is of the highest literary merit.

Blood Horses: Notes of a Sportswriter's Son Cover Image
ISBN: 9780312423766
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: St. Martins Press-3pl - April 1st, 2005

From one of the best magazine writers working today, BLOOD HORSES is at once a historical and cultural exploration of horse racing, as well as a memoir of his relationship with his father, the sportswriter Mike Sullivan. Beautifully written, rich in detail, and undeniably moving, this is simply a terrific book. Even if you know nothing about “the sport of kings,” you will be absorbed by this masterful work.

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Game Over: How Politics Has Turned the Sports World Upside Down Cover Image
ISBN: 9781595588159
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: New Press - January 29th, 2013

GAME OVER is more proof that Dave Zirin is without a doubt the best young sportswriter working today. His latest offering explores the intersection of sports and politics, focusing on the subtle (and not-so-subtle) ways in which each sphere influences the other. From the effect of the Trayvon Martin shooting on NBA players to the Penn State child abuse cover-up and the contributions of soccer hooligans during the Arab Spring uprising in Egypt, Zirin makes a compelling case that the athlete and the sports fan are political figures who should exercise their influence more often.

Grantland, Volume 4 Cover Image
By Bill Simmons (Editor), Dan Fierman (Editor)
ISBN: 9781938073175
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: McSweeney's - November 6th, 2012

This stylish sports quarterly collects all the best writing from Bill “The Sports Guy” Simmons’ online periodical of the same name. Each issue is uniquely designed by the design geniuses at McSweeney’s and covers all of the most recent and relevant stories in sports. Very hip and of the highest quality, Grantland is the new gold standard in contemporary sports journalism.

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