Powerful Moments in Sports

The Most Significant Sporting Events in American History

By (author) Martin Gitlin

Hardback - £31.00

Publication date:

06 April 2017

Length of book:

304 pages


Rowman & Littlefield Publishers

ISBN-13: 9781442264953

Jesse Owens wins four gold medals at the 1936 Olympics. Billie Jean King takes on Bobby Riggs in the Battle of the Sexes. Title IX is passed. Some moments in sports—whether they take place on a track, on a tennis court, or in a courtroom—transcend the event itself. Some have helped America live out its creed that all men are created equal. Others have pushed the nation toward gender equality. Others have changed individual sports to such a degree that they have transformed society.

Powerful Moments in Sports: The Most Significant Sporting Events in American History encompasses more than a single player, team, or game. This book looks at how a particular event revolutionized a sport, how a contest of speed inspired a nation, or even how a humble victory affected the world. Martin Gitlin considers such impactful moments as Jackie Robinson’s integration of Major League Baseball, Gertrude Ederle becoming the first female to swim the English Channel—and shattering the times of five men who had accomplished the feat before her—and the underdog US hockey team defeating the Soviets at the 1980 Olympics. The twenty events featured in this book had profound social, political, and cultural importance and inspired athletes and spectators alike.

Spanning multiple decades,
Powerful Moments in Sports reveals the tremendous impact athletes have had on America—and the world—over the years. Covering football, baseball, hockey, basketball, track and field, boxing, and more, this book will fascinate and enlighten sports fans, historians, and those interested in the impact of athletic endeavors on culture and society.
This is a fascinating look at the sporting events that have 'altered the American psyche,' a history of American sports not in terms of individual players or teams or games themselves but how they 'affected America and sometimes its place in the world.' Sportswriter and popular-culture historian Gitlin (The Greatest College Football Rivalries of All Time) examines how matters of race and sex have been at the heart of some of the great sporting events in the nation’s history. His look at the famous 1938 fight between Joe Louis and Max Schmeling, for example, is both excellent boxing reporting and an insightful depiction of how the bout 'exposed the Nazi racial theory for the sham that it was and provided a reason for white and black American to celebrate.' Gitlin expertly digs below the surface of each events, whether he’s analyzing the national impact of Babe Ruth’s trade from the Boston Red Sox to the New York Yankees, explaining Bernice R. Sandler’s fight to implement Title IX of the Civil Rights Act, or describing the friendship between basketball legends Magic Johnson and Larry Bird.