Add to GoodReads

Powerful Moments in Sports

The Most Significant Sporting Events in American History

Martin Gitlin

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.
« less more »
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Pages: 304Size: 6 x 9
978-1-4422-6495-3 • Hardback • April 2017 • $36.00 • (£24.95)
978-1-4422-6496-0 • eBook • April 2017 • $34.00 • (£23.95)
Martin Gitlin is a freelance writer and the author of more than 100 books on popular culture and sports. He has won many awards for his writing, including first place for General Excellence in Journalism from the Associated Press. Two of his most recent books are The Greatest Sitcoms of All Time (2013) and The Greatest College Football Rivalries of All Time (2014).

Chapter 1: White Sox Give Baseball a Black Eye
Chapter 2: Curse of the Bambino
Chapter 3: Gertrude Ederle Owns the Channel
Chapter 4: Jesse Destroys Field, Nazi Racial Theories
Chapter 5: Louis vs. Schmeling: Foes and Friends
Chapter 6: Jackie Robinson Breaks Through
Chapter 7: The Shot Heard ’Round the World
Chapter 8: Here Comes the NFL: The 1958 Championship
Chapter 9: Muhammad Ali Flattens Shady Sonny
Chapter 10: The Silent, Poignant Protest of 1968
Chapter 11: The Guarantee of Super Bowl III
Chapter 12: Ping-Pong Diplomacy
Chapter 13: Fight for Fairness: Title IX
Chapter 14: Superhorse
Chapter 15: The Battle of the Sexes
Chapter 16: 715
Chapter 17: Death of the Reserve Clause
Chapter 18: Magic vs. Bird Puts the Madness in March
Chapter 19: “Do You Believe in Miracles?”
Chapter 20: The Rise and Fall of Tiger Woods

About the Author
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.
Publsihers Weekly

Martin Gitlin not only understands sports, he understands its place in the world. His ability to provide context to a situation is what brings this book to life.
Pat McManamon, ESPN reporter

Martin Gitlin is an experienced and gifted sportswriter who has extreme versatility to cover any event or personality. He can zero in on the right angle without losing the big picture of what he is covering. I've enjoyed his writing for many years.
Tony Grossi, Browns analyst for ESPN Cleveland

Powerful Moments in Sports captures in one book stories we've all known about from the periphery and takes the reader inside what made them so important. From Babe Ruth being traded from the Red Sox to the Yankees, Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier with the Dodgers in 1947, to the Battle of the Sexes between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs, author Martin Gitlin tells the tales that shaped sports as we know them today. The book is so well written that I didn't want the story I was reading to end, but at the same time I couldn't wait to get to the next one.
Jeff Schudel, The News-Herald