"...a necessary anthology, filling a gap as authoritatively as Red Grange did.” - Dwight Garner, NY TIMES
"[what] distinguishes it ... are its surprises... [an] amazing book" - Rick Kogan, CHICAGO TRIBUNE
"Mr. Schulian has collected 44 pieces of first-rate writing, from Jimmy Breslin on Y. A. Tittle to Michael Lewis on Adam Vinatieri. Football fans and fans of great writing will love it." - The Wall Street Journal
"The Ultimate Football Reading List." - Men's Journal
“Editor John Schulian and the Library of America have produced an exceptional collection. It has long been the accepted wisdom that boxing and baseball are the two sports most likely to be associated with great writing. This book demonstrates that like a lot of accepted wisdom, that contention bears reconsideration.” NPR
“A tribute to the sublime beauty and ugliness of our national obsession." - Harper's
"Editor John Schulian does not turn away from the dark side of football, but neither does he forget the joy, inspiration, and even the humor to be found in the game." - The Christian Science Monitor
An All-Pro line-up of writers including Red Smith, Frank Deford, Jimmy Breslin, George Plimpton, Richard Price, Charles Pierce, Michael Lewis, and Roy Blount Jr tackle our most popular pastime: Since football’s meteoric rise in the mid-twentieth century, the standout writers on the sport have gone behind and beyond the spectacle to reveal the complexity, the contradictions, and the deeper humanity at the heart of the game. Now, in a landmark collection, The Library of America brings together the very best of their work: gems of deadline reportage, incisive longform profiles of football’s storied figures, and autobiographical accounts by players and others close to the game. Celebrating the sport without shying away from its sometimes devastating personal and social costs, the forty-four pieces gathered here testify to football’s boundless capacity to generate outsized characters and memorable tales.
JOHN SCHULIAN was a sports columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times and Philadelphia Daily News before moving to Hollywood, where he was, among other things, the co-creator of Xena: Warrior Princess. With George Kimball, he co-edited the Library of America anthology At the Fights. He is the author most recently of Sometimes They Even Shook Your Hand: Portraits of Champions Who Walked Among Us.