Honor roll: Sports books

Each of these Sports books has received at least one award nomination. They are ranked by honors received.

Book:Ballad of the Whiskey Robber

Ballad of the Whiskey Robber: A True Story of Bank Heists, Ice Hockey, Transylvanian Pelt Smuggling, Moonlighting Detectives, and Broken Hearts

Julian Rubinstein

Elmore Leonard meets Franz Kafka in the wild, improbably true story of the legendary outlaw of Budapest.

Attila Ambrus was a gentleman thief, a sort of Cary Grant—if only Grant came from Transylvania, was a terrible professional hockey goalkeeper, and preferred women in leopard-skin hot pants. During the 1990s, while playing for the biggest hockey team in Budapest, Ambrus took up bank robbery to make ends meet. Arrayed against him was perhaps the most incompetent team of crime investigators the Eastern Bloc had ever seen: a robbery chief who had learned how to be a detective by watching dubbed Columbo episodes; a forensics man who wore top hat and tails on the job; and a driver so inept he was known only by a Hungarian word that translates to Mound of Ass-Head.

Ballad of the Whiskey Robber is the completely bizarre and hysterical story of the crime spree that made a nobody…[more]

Book:Cover-up: Mystery at the Super Bowl

Cover-up: Mystery at the Super Bowl

John Feinstein

The Super Bowl. America’s biggest sports spectacle. More than 95 million fans will be watching, but Steve Thomas and Susan Carol Anderson know that what they’ll be watching is a lie. They know that the entire offensive line of the California Dreams have failed their doping tests and that the Dreams’ owner is trying to cover up the test results. These two teens are sitting on the biggest sports scandal of the decade. What they don’t know—yet—is how to prove it.

Book:Fatty Batter

Fatty Batter: How cricket saved my life (then ruined it)

Michael Simkins

Michael Simkins is in desperate need of some quiet coaching. In middle-age he still believes, despite what everyone tells him, that the England middle order might usefully benefit from his hard-earned skills. He’s also a man who thinks it is OK to get your wife to spend the whole of your wedding anniversary operating a scoreboard in what she describes as ‘a meaningless encounter between pathetic no-hopers’. Even when scattering his own mother’s ashes his thoughts stray to another urn.

This is the hilarious story of one man’s lifelong obsession with cricket. From his earliest awkward days as a fat boy growing up in a Brighton sweetshop to his years running a team of dysfunctional inadequates still chasing the sweet spot, cricket has offered a shelter from life’s irksome realities and a place in which to quietly dream. That place is a peculiarly English arcadia of occasional wondrous beauty, forests of comforting statistics and the endless life-affirming rituals of defeat, humiliation and disappointment—the perfect net practice for life.

Book:Cut Time

Cut Time: An Education at the Fights

Carlo Rotella

Boxing is not just fighting; it is also training and living right and preparing to go the distance in the broadest sense of the phrase, a relentless managing of self that anyone who gets truly old must learn.”
— from Cut Time

As his affection for boxing grows, Carlo Rotella discovers that it sheds a startling light on the world outside the ring. The brief, disastrous boxing career of one of his students pinpoints the moment when adulthood arrives. The hard-won insight of a fellow fan shows Rotella how to process the trauma of a car crash. The persistence of a wizened ex–lightweight champion gives him the key to understanding and honoring his grandmother.

Rotella unearths the hidden wisdom in any kind of fight, from barroom dustup to HBO extravaganza. He vividly describes…[more]

Book:Secrets

Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers

Daniel Ellsberg

Daniel Ellsberg began his career as the coldest of cold warriors-a U. S. Marine company commander, a Pentagon analyst, and a staunch supporter of America’s battle against Communist expansion. But in October 1969, Ellsberg-fully expecting to spend the rest of his life in prison-set out to turn around American foreign policy by smuggling out of his office the seven-thousand-page top-secret study, known as the Pentagon Papers, of U.S. decision making in Vietnam. Now, for the first time, Ellsberg tells the full story of how and why he became one of the nation’s most impassioned and influential anti-war activists-and how his actions helped alter the course of U.S. history.

Covering the decade between his entry into the Pentagon and Nixon’s resignation, Secrets is Ellsberg’s meticulously detailed insider’s account of the secrets and lies that shaped American foreign policy during the Vietnam era. Ellsberg…[more]

Book:Casey at the Bat

Casey at the Bat: A Ballad of the Republic Sung in the Year 1888

Ernest L. Thayer

The outlook wasn’t brilliant
for the Mudville nine that day:
The score stood four to two
with but one inning more to play….

Since 1888 Casey at the Bat has been read and loved by baseball fans around the world. Now Mighty Casey has been brought to life by celebrated illustrator C. F. Payne, who captures the old-fashioned fun of an afternoon at the ballpark for a brand-new generation.

Book:Pitching Around Fidel

Pitching Around Fidel: A Journey into the Heart of Cuban Sports

S.L. Price

In an artful pastiche of observation, personal narrative, interviews, and investigative reporting, S.L. Price, a Senior Writer for Sports Illustrated, describes sports and athletes in today’s Cuba. On his many journeys to the island, Price finds a country that celebrates sports like no other and a leader who uses athletics as both symbol and weapon in his country’s dying revolution.

With Castro’s regime staggering beneath the weight of a great depression and international sanctions, Cuba’s famed sports machine is imploding. Athletes are defecting by plane and raft. Superstars bike to games and train with shoddy equipment in bare gyms; and champion boxers, baseball players, and gymnasts are forced to scrounge for spare change on the streets. In 1959, when Castro rose to power, he declared a new era in Cuban baseball. Within four years all professional Cuban sports had been outlawed,…[more]

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