Outstanding Academic Titles 2021: Sports

Enjoy these five selections from the Choice Reviews 2020 Outstanding Academic Titles list. This week we surface titles pertaining to sports.

1. I came as a shadow: an autobiographyy for all
Thompson, John. by John Thompson with Jesse Washington H. Holt, 2020

John Thompson’s autobiography, written with Jesse Washington, encompasses a remarkable life story that details his struggles with and triumphs over the racial injustices he endured while engaged in his coaching career. Thompson deals with race openly and honestly, recounting the struggles, both physical and psychological, that he faced at points throughout his life, to eventually become the shining light of Georgetown and all of college athletics. This Hall-of-Fame coach rose from humble beginnings to a position where he was able to teach, mentor, and coach numerous young college athletes, ensuring both their graduation and their success in life after basketball was over. Given the current political climate surrounding race, Thompson’s stories of life off the court impart needed wisdom and knowledge through a multitude of situations, from sitting on the board of Nike to achieving a 97-percent graduation rate on his team. View on Amazon

2. Latinos & Latinas in American sport: stories beyond peloteros
ed. by Jorge Iber Texas Tech, 2019

This edited volume contextualizes the historical, social, political, and cultural roles of various Latina/o populations in US mainstream sports production. Iber (Texas Tech Univ.) has developed this collection of contributions to follow up on his previous edited volumes: Mexican Americans and Sports (2007) and More Than Just Peloteros(CH, Jul’15, 52-5940). Here Iber brings together 14 Latina/o scholars to document the various experiences of US Latina/o populations in mainstream sports. The collection challenges traditional American sports scholarship in particular by focusing on how Latinas/os have uniquely impacted sports production in the US. Iber’s editorial introduction provides a strong in-depth review and analysis of this critical subject. The contributing authors’ findings are based on historical accounts, oral interviews, and other primary materials, making this book an original and organic work. One outcome of this collection will surely be to inspire future contributions to research and scholarship on this important subject matter. View on Amazon

3. One up: creativity, competition, and the global business of video games
Dreunen, ​Joost van. Columbia, 2020

There are plenty of books about the design of video games; there may be even more about their social and cultural meaning; there are even a few books about video game history. Yet there are not, to date, many serious books about the business of video games. Formerly CEO of SuperData Research, a games market research firm recently acquired by the Nielsen Corporation, Van Dreunen (New York Univ.) fills this gap by providing an “easy-to-understand-for-non-business-majors” look at the economics behind the massive and changing video game industry. The book charts the forces that drove the “games as product” (think arcade games and home consoles) ecosystem, and that now drive the “games as service” ecosystem (think mobile, free-to-play, and downloadable games) that is, if not entirely replacing, certainly displacing much of the former. Van Dreunen traces the “demise” of consoles while also explaining why they remain viable, and in this process challenges much of the conventional wisdom about why games companies succeed. View on Amazon

4. Sport, physical education, and social justice: religious, sociological, psychological, and capability perspectives
ed. by Nick J. Watson, Grant Jarvie, and Andrew Parker Routledge, 2020

Social justice issues have come to the forefront of sports in recent times. Athletes, fans, and scholars have all wrestled with their renewed significance. Given such context, this collection edited by Watson (Archbishop of York Youth Trust, UK), Jarvie (Univ. of Edinburgh), and Parker (Ridley Hall, Cambridge) is a most welcome contribution to the ongoing conversations. Although a slim volume, it offers a rounded introduction to the use of sport to address inequality and exclusion. Across 11 chapters, leading experts consider religious, social, and philosophical accounts of the place of sport in remedying marginalization, misrepresentation, and disempowerment, particularly in relation to race, gender, religious affiliation, ability, and citizenship status. Individual chapters anchor themselves in various perspectives, e.g., Christianity and Judaism, education and cultural studies, as well as psychology and sociology, while considering such topics as homelessness, disability, racism, and citizenship. Importantly, the volume presents a cohesive and compelling case for the contemporary role of sporting worlds, especially calling on physical education to take a leading role in advancing social justice.
View on Amazon

5The 1960s in sports: a decade of change
Coverdale, Miles, Jr. Rowman & Littlefield, 2020

In what may be among the most honored nonfiction books published in 2020, Watts (history, California State Univ., San Marcos) transports the reader back to an age (1930s–40s) when discrimination and segregation were a grim reality. Watts tells the story of the Federal Council of Negro Affairs—informally the “Black cabinet”—a group of African Americans, led by the indefatigable Mary McLeod Bethune, who pressed President Franklin Roosevelt to build into the New Deal, and later WW II policies, reforms designed to give full citizenship to the neglected and oppressed Black minority. Elegant in its prose and vivid in its depiction of key characters, The Black Cabinet captures the challenges faced by these would-be reformers, and tells a story of high idealism mixed with raw pragmatism.View on Amazon.

Read more about Choice Outstanding Academic Titles.

Sign up for the weekly Outstanding Academic Titles enewsletter

Between December and June you’ll receive a weekly enewsletter from Choice highlighting a themed snippet from our list of Outstanding Academic Titles of 2021.

Sign Up Now

Enjoying our reviews? Academic librarians may sign up for a complimentary trial of Choice Reviews for their institution.

*Trial limited to academic institutions that have not had a trial/subscription to Choice Reviews in the past 24 months. The offer is limited to institutional trials only, not available to individuals/publishers.

Read previous Outstanding Academic Title list snippets.