Lists and Sport

Football Books: A Best Sports Writing Addendum

By posted at 3:24 pm on October 13, 2008 5

We have in the past noted the paucity of books about football among sports writing’s most cherished tomes (though there have been a few). Even in the list of “The Best Sports Journalism Ever” that I posted recently, there was only a single football piece represented (the Plimpton), and it is only obliquely about football. So, when I saw The Week (one of my favorite magazines) had highlighted not one but four football books in its most recent issue, I thought it worth noting. They are: Boys Will Be Boys by Jeff Pearlman about the hard partying Cowboys during the team’s dynasty of the 1990s; Giants Among Men by Jack Cavanaugh harks back to the New York Giants of the ’50s and ’60s and looks at football as it was in a much different era; War as They Knew It by Michael Rosenberg covers the Michigan versus Ohio State football rivalry during the tumultuous 2970s on college campuses; and Playing the Enemy by John Carlin is not quite about football but brings to light how a single rugby game in South Africa helped the country begin healing as apartheid ended.

Meanwhile, in the comments of the original sports writing post, bdr mentions a pair of books that give the literary treatment to that other, other football: soccer.

“(Excellent) novelist Tim Parks wrote a book about following Serie A squad Hellas Verona around Italy for a season (as they tried to avoid relegation – unsuccessfully) with its hardest-core fans called A Season with Verona, that’s terrific.

Philip Ball, who covers soccer for The Guardian, wrote a book about Spain, Spanish history, and how it all plays out in Spanish football called Morbo that’s even better.”

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5 Responses to “Football Books: A Best Sports Writing Addendum”

  1. Robert Boyd
    at 3:59 pm on October 13, 2008

    I quite liked Peter Gent's North Dallas Forty. His second football novel, The Franchise, was too over-the-top, but had many pleasurable moments.

  2. Ben Dooley
    at 5:11 pm on October 13, 2008

    One of my favorite books, "A Fan's Notes," while not exclusively about football writes about it in rapturous detail, with a focus on Frank Gifford's career. Great writing.

  3. chall gray
    at 7:53 pm on October 13, 2008

    Plimpton has a good football book–I think the title is One More July…

  4. Anonymous
    at 10:52 pm on October 13, 2008

    It's all about Michael Lewis's The Blind Side.

  5. matt
    at 5:37 am on October 17, 2008

    I'm trying to think how you haven't mentioned The Damned Utd by David Peace. A monumental book.

    Thanks for the great site.



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